As we head into the second month of the new decade, it seemed like the perfect time to highlight some truly outstanding campaigns from the past year. In our last post, we highlighted 5 exciting experiential marketing campaigns that made an impression in 2019. Here are 5 more great examples:
- Netflix takes over Little Italy for “The Irishman”
To promote its organized crime film “The Irishman,” Netflix took over a block in Little Italy in lower Manhattan. The film explored organized crime in America following the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. Cleverly, Netflix enlisted 11 local businesses to give away free food and services to “friends of Jimmy.” To access the free stuff, all consumers had to do was say the password: “Jimmy sent me.” The stunt was perfectly timed for the weekend before the release of the film. Prior to the takeover, social media posts teased the password and prop newspapers were stocked in newsstands on the block. The newspapers featured information on the film, word searches, and a map of the stores involved in the event. In addition to more traditional signage, Netflix went above and beyond to immerse consumers in the film. Phone booths offered film teasers to users. Immersive actors, including drivers, paperboys, and construction workers, were scattered throughout the block. Period-accurate cars were places guests could hop in and provide tips on “Jimmy’s disappearance.” Netflix succeeded at providing a truly immersive experience with clear tie-ins to the film they were promoting.
- Sonos “Brilliance of Sound”
Speakers are a product that can be hard to market online – users really need to experience the product and sound quality to be won over. Speaker brand Sonos smartly chose a live experience to promote its new integration with Google Assistant: an NYC pop-up called the Brilliant Sound Experience. Instead of demonstrating the speakers by blasting loud music, Sonos took a more educational route. At the pop-up, three rooms were designed to explore different elements of sound: How your brain processes music, the different elements of a song, and the relationship between sound and physical space. The room for artist Holly Horndon demonstrated the physics of sound by matching music in time with light bulbs dangling from the ceiling. Another room displayed data visualizations of visitors’ brain waves while listening to music, meant to demonstrate the emotion of music. Instead of creating just another Instagrammable pop-up, Sonos put together an educational and immersive experience, ensuring consumers had a memorable experience. Sonos proved that even a brand most associated with one sense – in this case, sound – can create a multisensory experience.
- House of Vans International Women’s Day
“House of Vans” is a title given to pop-up spaces in London, New York, and Chicago, but also refers to events that can pop-up in any community. The shoe brand creates spaces for the skateboarding community to come together and share their creative passions. In 2019, Vans hosted events in tandem with International Women’s Day. House of Vans events had live music, documentary screenings, and skate settings designed to encourage female visibility in skateboarding. In addition to creating a fun experience for guests, Vans positioned themselves as a brand that is passionate about equality and female empowerment.
- Google Assistant “The Ride”
2019 was a big year for experiences featuring the Google Assistant – this one, from Google itself! At the annual CES in Las Vegas, Google created a theme-park-level ride featuring a roller coaster track and animatronics. The ride featured a musical journey through a stressful day in the life of a fictional character. During the ride, Google Assistant helped the character navigate traffic, take selfies, and even converse in French. The experience was a big hit, and many who couldn’t attend the event watched a video of the ride online. Especially for those able to attend in person, the physical journey consumers experienced is likely to stay in their memory. Because of this creative approach, consumers are unlikely to forget what they learned about the Google Assistant’s features.
- “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical”
Rounding out our list of 10 great experiential marketing campaigns from 2019 is the Skittles Broadway Musical. Rejecting traditional broadcast advertising during the Super Bowl, Skittles produced a musical comedy making fun of ads. Skittles hired star actor Michael C. Hall and a full cast to sing songs like “Advertising Ruins Everything” and “This Might have Been a Bad Idea,” live on a real Broadway stage in NYC on Super bowl Sunday. To stir up buzz for the event, the brand released behind-the-scenes videos and put a cast recording of the musical on streaming service Spotify – including a 4-minute recording of Michael C. Hall eating Skittles. The tickets, which sold for $200, sold out in 72 hours. The stunt resulted in 1.5 billion media impressions for the brand, and received praise for creativity and a subversive message about modern advertising.
Feeling inspired? Thinking about how your brand can cut through the clutter and generate some clean ROI? We’d love to chat about it. Give us a call today at 636.449.3162.
Can’t wait for our next post? Learn More About Steve Randazzo’s book, Brand Experiences: Building Connections in a Digitally Cluttered World. Click here to download 2 free chapters!