Experiential marketing is now a central pillar of many communication professional's arsenals. And it's not hard to see why. EventTrack reports that nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of consumers say they positively view brands that provide quality events and experiences. Even more (74 per cent) say there's a higher likelihood they'll buy a brand's products after engaging with branded event marketing experiences.
This will come as no surprise if you've ever attended an experiential marketing event. They're an excellent means of engaging customers in a much more memorable and personal way, and often don't cost as much as a paid advertising campaign.
What are the best experiential marketing events we've seen so far?
1) Refinery 29: 29 Rooms
First launched in 2015 to celebrate the digital media and entertainment company's 10th anniversary birthday, Refinery 29's campaign consisted of 29 rooms, all individually curated and designed in partnership with some of the biggest names in fashion, acting and art.
Each year they have a different theme, with 2017's "Turn It Into Art" idea exploring the transformative power of creativity, according to Refinery 29's own website. Each room provided a great Instagram opportunity for those who attended, meaning Refinery 29 and the brands it worked with all got heaps of user generated content.
The project had everything communication professionals look for in a good experiential marketing campaign. It was interactive, it was cheap tickets cost just $25, and it was cleverly timed to coincide with New York Fashion Week in order to make the campaign as visible and timely as possible.
— Marc Jacobs (@marcjacobs) December 9, 2017
2) Guinness Class
Guinness isn't necessarily a brand you'd associate with luxury, but the Irish stout company tapped into the aspirations of their customer base by creating their Guinness Class experience. During the campaign, ambassadors dressed in Guinness-branded flight attendant uniforms went into bars across the UK, giving out prizes to unsuspecting customers on one condition – they buy a pint of Guinness.
Prizes included anything from key chains to passport covers, with the top prize a free trip to Dublin via private jet with four mates. This was awarded once each night – a stroke of genius from Guinness. All too often the top prize is only given out once, making it seem unattainable and actually turning people off a brand. To give the trip out every night seems achievable, and paints Guinness as a generous brand.
Another thing that was great about this campaign was that Guinness' communication professionals had thought through the logistics – they only directed their ambassadors to bars that they knew served Guinness (an easy oversight to make). This meant they got potential new customers who had never tried the product.
3) M&M's ARcade
Augmented reality (AR) is fast becoming experiential marketers' favourite tool. In March 2017, M&M launched its new caramel chocolate product, and spread the word by setting up its ARcade. This was an AR games arcade in Times Square, New York, where customers could use their phones to take part in vintage arcade games that appeared on a billboard.
The one disadvantage of experiential marketing is that those who don't live in the city or place the event's being held are unable to attend (although social media means consumers can get closer than ever before). Communication professionals got round this by putting a barcode on packs of M&M's. When scanned, this barcode would allow people to access the games on their mobile phones, meaning that anyone that bought a packet of M&Ms that day could also get involved.
— M&M'S® Brand (@mmschocolate) May 12, 2017
4) Smirnoff Comic Book Party
Vodka distillers Smirnoff decided to go back to basics when they launched a hugely successful experiential marketing campaign back in 2010: they threw a great party. In this case, they created a fully immersive comic book-themed event that put guests into a completely new world.
Using a red colour scheme that stayed consistent with Smirnoff's logo without being too try hard, designers adorned the walls of the Toronto venue with huge comic book illustrations, as well as having brand ambassadors dressed in red.
The whole point of experiential marketing is that it should be remembered, something Smirnoff achieved through their creativity and consistency throughout the event.
Look before you leap into a Smirnoff and soda – sharks are everywhere this week. pic.twitter.com/ciJRQyr2Sv
— Smirnoff US (@SmirnoffUS) July 28, 2017
Communication professionals are looking for new ways to reach consumers all the time. Experiential marketing is one such way. For more, visit our Insights page.