You don’t have to be a special kind of science person to know that the sun and the desert are both hot and that reveling in the hot desert sun will do damage to your body. It’s barely even science at all.
So, given that the sun in the desert in the Coachella Valley is hot and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival involves partying, you’re going to need a whole bunch of products to alleviate all of that solar and self-damage, right? Thankfully, people are working on such products year-round, and they trot them out just in time for America's favorite two-weekend April festival. And they’ve been eager to let us media types know that fact for months now.
We’ve seen dozens of Coachella cottage-industry pitches on everything from “antioxidant-infused flavored water with five calories” to a “marbled watch series’” that (somehow) “helps to bring the harsh winter season to a close.” One company just sent an email telling us about booze you can put in your backpack (that will definitely get thrown away at the entrance by security). It’s pretty shameless.
Forgot your pants (and many Coachellans appear to do have done just that)? H&M has you covered, dog. They’re on-site with pants for you to buy. They even created a “co-branded collection for girls and guys” that is all about “catching the on-the-road vibe and aesthetic” and “delivers a street-savvy collection infused with playfulness, ease and a sense of belonging.” Because that’s why we’re all here, to bond over rompers and jorts.
Wanna get laid but don’t like verbalizing to strangers? There are smartphone applications for such a thing. One in particular struck our interest: Happn. Happn is one of those things that police forensic departments will use to reconstruct a serial killer’s last moves, as it shows you fellow app users you passed by within half a mile all day long, and matches you with those people.
Despite its name being vowelly challenged, Happn’s worst marketing sin was that it was sold to us with the story of “Katie and Adrian” (presumably Kadrian, to their friends), two factory-printed adbots who met and had their first date at Coachella last year. “The two, now living in a cute, little house in Venice together, are excited to celebrate their one-year anniversary in just a couple of days.” Surely, we can all relate to that. After vomiting profusely, of course.
Speaking of vomitus, the goofiest of all of the things we’ve seen are perhaps Instavit’s line of spray vitamin things. What are they? The company calls them an “oral spray that delivers an immediate burst of vitamins, minerals and supplement solutions, without the need for pills.” Remember Binaca? The spritzy mouth spray that freshened your breath in the 1990s? Instavit is like that for vitamins, snake oil and pseudo-science.
The L.A. Weekly Coachella team bravely experimented with Instavit’s sprays, with mixed results. They sent us “Instant Energy,” which is mostly caffeine and B-vitamins. Our colleagues who tried it agreed that it “tasted like orange-flavored butthole” and “smelled kind of like Pledge.” It appears as though it’s meant to replace Red Bull, but in small quantities it leaves you with a headache, and in larger quantities leaves you crying out for Valhalla like a post-apocalyptic Warboy.
Their purple-hued “Sweet Dreams” spray, which is mostly melatonin and chamomile, is aimed at putting you asleep. The appeal of such a spray would make sense in the wild and crazy tent city on the Coachella fringes if you hadn’t properly danced yourself exhausted, but hopefully you have. Otherwise — again, as agreed on by our colleagues — it tastes like “purple drank-flavored …” You get the idea.
We tried “Daily Health” and “Clearer Thinking” too — basically mixes of vitamins and hokum. Amazingly, they sent us a vitamin D spray and had the audacity to say that “you can always use a little more” after three days in direct sunlight. In the desert. Ballsy, Instavit, ballsy.
All of these sprays purport to be “all natural” despite the preponderance of popular preservatives such as sodium benzoate and various multisyllabic chemicals that don’t appear to have grown on trees. The two doctors we talked to who are selling Instavit both demurred when we asked them how preservatives can be considered “all natural.” We suppose if you go back far enough in a molecule’s timeline, everything is “all natural”? Yeah, that’s gotta be it. Whatever, we’re not doctors, so who’s to say?
All told, if the folks at marketing really wanted to clean up at Coachella, they’d come up with products like Coachella nose cleaners. So much dust gets crammed up in your nasal passages, you’re forced to choose between surreptitious picking between sets or just shameless snot-rocketing on the walk. Why not Coachella-branded orthopedic shoes? How about designer Coachella back-pain drugs? We’re just spitballing here, but if any of you entrepreneurial types are around, we’ll catch y'all on Happn.