What are the 10 Best Experiential Marketing Campaigns of 2019? (Part 2)

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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: 

  1. Netflix takes over Little Italy for “The Irishman”Netflix's Irishman invite

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. 

  1. Sonos “Brilliance of Sound” The Brilliant Sound Experience in SoHo.

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

  1. 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. 

  1. 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.  

  1. “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. 

Top Categories of Experiential Marketing Campaigns

Experiential marketing campaigns fall into three main categories based on the approach, and they’re effective in different ways. 

1. Reach

These categories are based on how your experiential marketing campaign will reach the target audience. It can be:

  • Direct reach: Here your experiential marketing campaign interacts with the audience directly. In this campaign, you can easily convince customers to buy your product because they have a firsthand view. An example of direct reach is augmented reality. A furniture company may use augmented reality to show the customer how the piece would look when arranged in their house.
  • Indirect reach: Here the audience gets to hear about the product through other media. It can be through social media platforms, friends, or events—for example, Red Bull Stratos, sporting events, and fashion shows. In sporting events, the audience knows about the products indirectly when they watch the show and cheer for the best players. 

2. Type of Experience

When carrying out an experiential marketing campaign, you can make your audience know about your product by creating a certain type of experience. It can be through:

  • Product showcasing: Showcasing your products’ components and their benefits is a significant type of experimental marketing rather than listing through traditional advertising. When you are confident about your product, this is the best strategy to grow your brand. Product showcasing does not have to be physical. You can create an advert where you experiment with your product, then show it to your customers virtually. 

3. Mode of Experience

Here you base your experiential marketing campaign on the marketing strategy. The experiential marketing that is based on the mode of experience include:

  • Brand activation: You do brand activation when you are introducing a new product into the market. It is a good marketing strategy because you get media coverage to inform the mass public about its existence. Giving customers some samples to try makes brand activation a more effective marketing strategy.
  • Guerilla marketing: Guerilla marketing comes as a surprise, and you start up a conversation about the campaign. When creativity is involved, guerilla marketing leaves a positive impression. When using guerilla marketing for experiential marketing, you need to be careful because you do it without permission.

Key Takeaways About Experiential Marketing

Before selecting the best type of experiential marketing to use, the key thing is to know your audience type. The strategy you choose should be industry professional, and it must be able to create a lasting connection with the customer. For example, if your product is edible, you can do brand activation, then give samples to customers.

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