20 August 2020

Brands doing experiential well

By Naomi Batchelor

What is experiential I hear you ask? To some it might just be yet another piece of jargon us Marketeers like to use, to add that little more ‘va-va-voom’. But to me, it is all about creating a bad-ass experience that captivates and engages your audience, connecting them emotionally and physically with your brand.

In an ever-changing climate, brands must ensure they are staying on top, not only within the market, but in their consumers’ minds too. Experiential marketing and activations allow brands to be that little bit more creative, push the boundaries, test the waters, and stay relevant to the ‘modern consumer’. 

For both Gen Z and Millennials we know there is a greater emphasis placed on experiences over material wealth, and experiential activations allow brands to give their audiences what they desire. By creating a unique offering, not only are brands able to get their products/services directly into the hands of their consumers in a meaningful way, it also encourages the creation and sharing of personalised content, which is a key player in this digitally-lead world. These emotional connections can in turn, drive long-term advocacy.

So, let’s get to it – I’ve listed my favourite experiential examples so far…

The Aperol Big Spritz Social

No shockers here, that the delightfully-orange Aperol Big Spritz Social made the cut. This Aperol themed adult playground oozed all things experiential; fun, immersive, playfully interactive, and perfectly Instagram-able.

Taking over the old Electric Light Station in Shoreditch, the space boasted an Aperol-orange canal complete with rowing boats, a decked terrace complemented by a wooden slide, a ball-pit and a stunning Vespa carousel that slowly turned throughout the night. All things that conveyed the infectious Italian spirit of Aperol.

Event targets were smashed with pre-bookable tickets selling out for all 15 sessions within 3 days. PR and Influencer targets were exceeded, with 133 pieces of media coverage and 266 Influencer posts being generated, which had a reach of 6 million.

Saluti, to Aperol!

Jet Blue – The Ultimate Icebreaker

Heading over the pond to New York, Jet Blue played on the obvious; “It’s blooming freezing and I want to be somewhere hot”, the natural human reaction when Winter hits.

To promote their direct flights from New York and Palm Springs, Jet Blue plonked – yes, literally, plonked – a six-foot ice block in the middle of Washington Square that housed various summer accessories and prizes up for grabs. Cold New Yorkers were encouraged to chip away at the ice block with whatever they had on their person, to claim whichever prize they wanted.

Jet Blue also offered a digital blast of warmth to those who couldn’t be on-site. Consumers could break out of the chill on social media by posting how they’d spend their time in Palm Springs with #JetBluePSP to win prizes.

A brrr-illiant example of how a gamifying experience is a great way to capture your consumers’ attention and not to mention nifty social media coverage!

Valentine’s Day with Greg(gs)

Yes, you read that right! This unusual move by the bakery chain showcases why sometimes, even the most outrageous ideas, are the experiences we never knew we kneaded (get it?).

Greggs teamed up with restaurant booking service Open Table, to serve up a romantic, candlelit dinner in limited stores, complete with mood lighting, music, roses, candelabras, and white linen tablecloths.

Guests were greeted with prosecco upon arrival and then divulged into a selection of canapés (think pork & puff pastry, steak and blue cheese, katsu wraps, etc.) followed by a choice of Greggs’ signature puff pastry parcels – freshly baked to order – accompanied by potato slices and side salad. For dessert, diners were offered mini doughnuts paired with a butterscotch dipping sauce, Belgian chocolate brownies, caramel shortbread and all the works. Did someone say Yum Yum?

Tickets sold out in just under 20 minutes and at only £15 per couple, that isn’t a lot of dough!

Old Irish

In this one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience (and probably one of my favourites), the luck of the Irish really was on their side.

The beer brand Old Irish, took a bold and somewhat daring approach, to winning over new fans and creating moments which were highly unlikely to be forgotten about anytime soon. They invited the people of Tbilsi, Georgia, to discover the Irish culture and its people via the power of virtual reality.

Kitted with a VR headset, unknowing participants braced themselves for the experience which saw them standing out in the open air, captivated by the stunning virtual scenes of the Irish countryside. They then ‘virtually’ enter a traditional Irish pub, much to the irritation of the unwelcoming-looking locals. As one of the locals approach the camera, participants are instructed to remove the headset and are literally stunned to discover that the virtual world, had just become very, very real.

I’ll cheers to that!

Paramount Pictures Prank

Sometimes scaring your consumers isn’t the approach that we would always recommend, but in this case, we’re willing to make an exception.

Paramount Pictures helped promote the release of the movie sequel, Rings, with a candid video that scared the life out of the unknowing LA shoppers. The prank sees customers in a store, being shown a wall of TV sets which all switch to a scene from the Ring which shows the scary character Samara, with her infamous curtain of hair covering her face.

But what they weren’t aware, was that one of the TVs was a dummy which allowed for an oh-so-flexible actress dressed as Samara, to crawl out of the TV and create a deeply unpleasant surprise for the shoppers, but a great watch for those on social media. So much so, it generated a whooping 247 million Facebook views in 2 days, whilst YouTube has netted an additional 3.3 million views.

Imagine what it would have got in “7 days…”

If you’d like to find out more about what experiential activity we can do for you, please get in touch on +44 (0) 1628 625900 or [email protected]

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