Another amazing year has come and gone for the Sundance Film Festival, which is held annually in Park City, Utah. Mindy Kaling’s Late Night and The Report starring Adam Driver dominated with record breaking multi-million dollar acquisition deals with Amazon. In addition, it was empowering to see panels featuring a predominantly female cast like Paradise Hills with Emma Roberts and Awkwafina, but above it all, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The skies were extra clear and sunny making the winter wonderland easier to enjoy.
Now that the festival is over, it’s time to start thinking about next year again. The official dates are January 23 to February 2, 2020 and while having about a year seems like a lot of time, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes action that requires a whole lot of planning. From locking in a venue at the heart of the event on Main Street to creating immersive experiences for attendees in between movies, things don’t just happen overnight.
Veteran brand Chase has already made major moves for 2020 and the following interview is proof that their spot is going to be the place to be next time around. Whether you’re a card member or not, it’s their goal to provide people with a convenient lounge situated right where all the magic happens. Check out the inside scoop that Chase Branded Cards President Catherine Hogan and the Managing Director and Head of Chase Sapphire Matt Massaua gave to us about the exciting opportunities the company is creating at Sundance and beyond.
Isis Briones: How has Chase’s participation with Sundance evolved over the years?
Matt Massaua: “We have almost a 10 year history with the film festival. It’s really one of our signature events and our experiences platform is something we’ve been focusing on expanding. This year, we wanted to deliver something unique and authentic for our ‘Places in Between’ program for our card members. Things were different from last year, we hoped to obviously create a bit more flow this time, which is why we had a great dance floor upstairs.”
IB: What kind of expectations should festival goers have for next year’s event schedule?
Catherine Hogan: “We just had a meeting, but we’re partnering with someone who we think can do something completely different than anything we’ve ever done before. Every year, we continue to think about how we can make our spot the place where everyone wants to be. I think what we do really well with Sapphire at Sundance is that our team has been able to create this cool space that doesn’t feel stuffy. It’s exclusive in a cool way. Everybody comes in and out throughout the day and there are opportunities to do lots of things like panels. People like being part of the festival in a way that feels like an organic community.”
IB: Can you elaborate on how exactly 2020 will be different?
MM: “Next year is the 10th anniversary of our partnership, so that should say a lot about what’s to come. We’re already talking with different talent associated with the festival and we’re always looking to bring in elevated experiences. I can’t say enough how excited we are about our emerging partnership with the LA Times, who bring in a lot of actors into our house. I have to say we created a place not only for card members, but where the actors like to come and enjoy their post cast parties. You can look to us for more of that, too.”
IB: Does Chase take suggestions from customers when planning these special occasions?
MM: “We talk a lot at Chase about customer obsession and it really starts by being obsessed with our customers, talking and getting to know them by sitting with them in a room. We also do what we call co-creations, in which we listen to them and hear what products, experiences or opportunities they’re interested in. Then we’ll go out and survey people, it’s really interesting to see that our card members are tastemakers, they’re out there on the cutting edge of all this. We look at that data as a means of unlocking new experiences for them, too.”
IB: Beyond Sundance, are there other partnerships or collaborations customers should keep an eye out for?
MM: “Yes, we really try to meet our card members where they are, which is why we were here at Sundance. What we’re trying to do and what we’ve done quite a bit is expand our lounge presence to things like music festivals. We built a lounge activation at the Seaport in New York City. Additionally, we have a dining series there and a test kitchen where we bring in great chefs. Look for more concerts on rooftops as well. We have a great calendar ahead of us in 2020 and there’s no forgetting our partnership at Outside Lands, where we have an elevated lounge experience. We hear from everyone that music is a passion lane and Sapphire is a means of unlocking unforgettable moments people may not have gotten otherwise. For instance, we have partnerships with the Madison Square Garden Group and that’s helped unlock some terrific artist release parties. We did Leon Bridges‘ release party last year and I had someone come up to me and say, ‘Thank you so much for this experience, this was our wedding song and you’ve created this memory for us to meet Leon on our terms and in a way we could actually do it. We’re so grateful.'”
CH: “What we’re doing is tapping into those passion areas that our customers tell us about. It’s things like Sundance that have a tremendous amount of influence and social relevancy way beyond just the festival. We’re also trying to get people to the newest restaurants through the Sapphire dining series. We value any time we hear from those who use our services because that’s how we get the ability to create amazing experiences for them. That’s really what we’re focusing on.”