With an increasing number of tech-savvy individuals using online ad blockers, switching to catch-up television so they can fast-forward commercials, or even cutting the cord altogether in favour of on-demand services, traditional advertisers are struggling. How can current and aspiring marketing professionals recapture consumers’ rapidly declining attention spans? Enter experiential marketing. Designed to build brand loyalty by immersing customers in memorable live experiences, experiential marketing is a rapidly growing phenomenon. According to last year’s Freeman Global Brand Experience Study, 90% of global marketers believe that brand experiences create more compelling engagement, and 1 in 3 CMOs is expected to allocate between 21-50% of their budget to brand experience marketing over the next 3-5 years. Here’s a run-down of some of the most innovative recent experiential marketing campaigns and why they were successful:
What’s better than a new flavour of chocolate? Being able to use the packet to play old school arcade games on a giant screen. In May 2017, M&M’s kicked off the launch of its new caramel flavour by turning a dozen Times Square billboards into an augmented reality arcade. By downloading free AR app Blippar and scanning the billboards (or scanning a packet of M&M’s Caramel), consumers were able to access interactive vintage arcade games via their mobile phones.
- M&M’s hashtag, #UnsquareCaramel, was used more than 2,200 times on Twitter and got more than 6 million earned social impressions.
- The brand’s earned media outreach resulted in more than 147 million impressions.
- The campaign enabled M&M’s to collect valuable consumer data that could be used for retargeting.
- Create a branded hashtag that participants can use to share the experience on social media. Hashtags help to generate buzz and provide a measure for tracking the campaign’s success.
- Embrace new technology – M&M’s is known for actively using tech in its promotions. In addition to AR, the company has also used beatbox technology to create user-generated television ads.
Trailblazing digital media company Refinery29 has perfected the ultimate experiential marketing event over the past three years. Described as a “funhouse of style, culture, and technology,” the annual immersive installation consists of 29 rooms sponsored by brand partners such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Clarins, Dyson, and Cadillac. Participants are invited to enter the rooms and interact with their surroundings – all of which are colourful, Instagram-worthy sets that seamlessly blend advertising and art. Last year’s “Turn it into Art” exhibit included a giant snow globe sponsored by Juicy Couture’s Glace Getaway that enabled visitors to become part of the holiday souvenir, and a dream-like art installation made from Casper pillows.
- Nearly 20,000 attendees engaged with the rooms over a four-day period.
- The #29Rooms hashtag reached one in two globally on Instagram and received coverage in numerous outlets, including Vice, Time Out New York, and Billboard.
- Personalise an experience: This enables multiple attendees to interact simultaneously with an event while allowing them to share their own unique experience on social media.
- Consider your audience: Specifically designing an event with photographic opportunities in mind ensures good social media coverage. Thoughtful lighting in every Refinery29 room makes it easy to take a flattering, Instagram-worthy photo.
Proving that experiential marketing can be used effectively by B2B marketers as well as consumer brands, GE created the Healthymagination experience to promote global healthcare solutions. Working with agencyEA, the company created ‘movie sets’ that represented three different healthcare environments (a rural African clinic, an emergency room, and an urban clinic). In front of 700 attendees, doctors shared their stories to illustrate how GE’s healthcare technology played an important role in each unique setting.
- GE’s campaign won a Business Marketing Association Tower Award, generated media attention from CNN and the Associated Press, and enabled GE to exceed its sales goals by 140 percent at the Wide Bore Launch.
- Consider experiential marketing for B2B brands: The storytelling aspect of experiential marketing events such as Healthymagination gives attendees a greater insight into the product than a standard presentation can deliver.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in advertising or marketing, an MA in Advertising Strategy and Planning from Falmouth University’s Flexible Learning programmes can provide you with key insights into the creative and strategic processes of successful brands and the skills you need to work for them. For more information or to begin your application process, visit our course page.