As the experiential marketing landscape gets more popular– 62% of business owners planned to increase their event marketing budgets in 2019* — brands must be innovative and creative to attract customers. Below we’ve highlighted 10 great examples of successful creative experiential marketing campaigns. Check out No. 10 – We really love this one!!
HBO made headlines in 2018 with their SXSW promotion for their series “Westworld”, SXSWestworld. While other companies have created memorable media-based experiences at SXSW (such as A&E’s Bates Motel in 2015), HBO went above and beyond by transforming 2 acres of land outside of Austin, TX into the fictional town of Sweetwater. The experience included a set of over 20 buildings and 60 trained actors. The entire experience was immersive and scripted. The town was also littered with clues related to the upcoming 2nd season of the show. Because of the real-life video game nature of the event, with attendees making decisions that could affect the story, no two consumers received the same experience. While we can’t all afford to build an entire TV set, this is a great example of an innovative campaign.
2. Refinery29 29Rooms
Each year, Refinery29 sets a great example for creative experiential marketing. 29Rooms was launched in 2015 and continues to see success as a touring exhibition in cities like NYC, DC, and LA. The event consists of 29 rooms that are designed and created with brand partners, ranging from artists and musicians to companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and Dyson. Notably, the theme for 2017 was “Turn It Into Art.” Attendees were encouraged to use the surroundings of each room to create something. For example, attendees entered a room full of shredded paper, wrote down their thoughts, and then could shred the thoughts by hand using a pasta-maker! In another room, participants were invited to turn their anger into art by hitting and kicking punching bags that made music when struck. Co-founder Piera Gelardi describes 29Rooms as “a dream world of culture and creativity.”
3. Milka Chocolate
In an earlier example, in 2013 Milka chocolate asked customers in France and Germany to “pay it forward” with this creative campaign. They purposefully left out a single square of chocolate from 13 million Milka Chocolate bars. After scanning a code on the wrapper, customers could choose to have Milka mail them the missing piece, or the customer could choose to send it to someone else with a personal note. The campaign promoted Milka’s brand message, “Dare to be tender,” on the basis that the last piece of chocolate is always the best one — you would only send it to someone special. Such a simple and creative way to communicate a brand message!
4. Unlock the 007 In You with Coke Zero
To promote the 2012 James Bond film “Skyfall,” Coke Zero created the “Unlock the 007 in You” campaign. Participants were randomly chosen at a kiosk to win a pair of free tickets to see the movie. Yet, there was a catch: To earn the tickets, they had to make it to a second kiosk in under 70 seconds. The creative aspect of the campaign came next. To make the journey to the second kiosk more difficult, participants faced typical James Bond obstacles, including women walking packs of dogs to large panes of glass.
5. Globetrotter Weather Rooms
European sporting equipment company Globetrotter was looking for a creative way to show customers the value of their products. The result was the creation of specialized “weather rooms” that allowed customers to test out Globetrotter products in harsh weather conditions. The chamber doused shoppers with rain and simulated storm-grade winds. Many stores also included a freeze chamber with temperatures dropping to -30C, and additional wind chill! Rather than being a gimmick, this creative and fun experience had real value: shoppers expressed that testing the heavy-duty and expensive sportswear in the right conditions matters.
At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Google wanted to steal the spotlight in the voice-activated assistant category, facing competition from other large brands like Amazon. Google pulled out all the stops by building a two-story installation called the “Google Assistant Playground.” The entire second floor was used for “The Ride,” which has been described as a Disney-like experience. A full-scale coaster had attendees ride through animatronic vignettes describing a story of a family getting ready for Grandma’s 90th birthday. The story highlighted how Google Assistant helped along the way. In addition to the attention-grabbing ride, the exhibit included artistic vignettes showcasing how Assistant can help in all aspects of life at home, from answering the door to making lasagna. Google also included a digital tie-in, where people unable to attend CES could experience The Ride too.
7. Glenfiddich “Join the Experimentalists”
Whiskey company Glenfiddich reinvented the traditional tasting session with creative use of technology. To market a new series of products, the Glenfiddich Experimental Series, the company set up a tasting event to help people find a drink just for them. Customers logged into an app and answered a personality quiz. They were then linked with a drink that matched their personality profile. You can watch a video of the tasting experience here.
8. JetBlue and City of Palm Springs Icebreaker Challenge
When you’re standing on a freezing sidewalk in winter, inevitably you fantasize about travels to warmer weather. The city of Palm Springs decided to capitalize on this by inviting New Yorkers to literally “break out of the chill” of winter by teaming up with JetBlue for the “Icebreaker” challenge promoting new direct flights from NY to Palm Springs. The airline placed two 6-foot ice blocks in Washington Square Park and Flatiron Plaza. The ice blocks contained vacation-themed prized like golf clubs, sandals, pool attire, and even round-trip airfare to Palm Springs. Passerby were invited to chip away at the ice with whatever tools they had on them.
9. Google Home Mini Donut Shop
Google got creative once again by building off of the idea that the Google Home Mini is “the size of a donut.” Google created pop-up donut shops across the country. Visitors to the shops asked the voice assistant questions, and were rewarded with a box that contained either a Home Mini or donuts. Either way, visitors took something home to enjoy! The shops included another fun element as a bonus: “sprinkle showers” where visitors were showered with confetti.
10. Duck Tape Pop-Up Shop
Pro Motion is no stranger to creative campaigns. We worked with Duck Tape brand to create the Duck Tape Pop-Up Store and Experience. Timed shortly after the Tape played a starring role in a challenge on “Project Runway,” the pop-up shop in the busy Fashion District was open for 12 days. Pro Motion and Duck Tape transformed an empty corner space into a fashion-inspired retail destination. Prior to the shop’s open, a luncheon and fashion show created buzz, with models wearing the “Project Runway” Duck Tape dresses. The pop-up shop hosted special events, including a chance to meet “Project Runway” designers, how-to craft videos, and watching an artist create the NY skyline out of the tape. The campaign was a resounding success, with more than 15,000 visitors purchasing more than 10,000 rolls of tape and more than 37.5 million media impressions. The campaign won the Silver Award for Best Sponsorship or Tie In Campaign in the Event Marketer Pro Awards.
Feeling inspired? We have 25 years of experience creating impactful, creative campaigns. Call Pro Motion today at 636.449.3162, we’d love to chat with you.
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