blog - experiential marketing - down underI’ve just come back from the Experiential Marketing Summit in Sydney, Australia.  Two great days with some fine folks thousands of miles from our headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.  The audience was split between brand and agency professionals and the quality of the content was as good as the quality ‘back in the states.’  I was lucky to be asked to be one of the key note speakers and I surely enjoyed kicking off the conference on the first day and presenting Disney’s award winning Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promotion.
Since Australia is about a 20 hour airplane ride away, we decided to go in early and get a feel for the city of Sydney and all it has to offer.  The sites were as awesome as we’ve seen on the internet and on Oprah.  Sydney is a busy city with lots of young and old from just about every part of the world – a marketers dream.  We saw street performers (jugglers, contortionist and mimes) who literally attracted and entertained hundreds of spectators.

We visited busy beaches, city attractions and even the annual Sydney Marathon.  We only saw our industry active at the marathon.  Seriously, no one offered us the opportunity to experience their brand at all of these other great locations.  We saw plenty of advertising, so we know marketers are active in this city.  Coke was all about telling us Coke Zero tasted just like Coke in their bus ads, but there was no opportunity to taste it? Should I just take their word that it does taste the same as Coke?

We’re wondering why we didn’t see the hordes of street teams and the mobile vehicle tourswe see every day throughout the states. In my estimation, in the U.S. we are well on our way to recovery as brand marketers are spending again and the budgets are larger than they have been in at least two years.

In asking this question to my fellow conference attendees, the answer I got most was thatexperiential marketing in Australia is a few years behind the U.S.  The conference was back after a two year hiatus and there was lots of energy throughout.  Attendees enjoyed sharing stories of successful campaigns.  With the optimism of the economic recovery also hitting Australia (their economy closely follows the U.S. economy) it is my hope brand marketers take a look at Sydney and other great Australian cities that have so much to offer.
So, we’re keeping in touch with our new Mates in Australia and New Zealand and hoping brand marketers begin to see the opportunity in this part of the world.  We loved our visit and can’t wait to go back to see how the Australian experiential marketing industry has had the bounce we’ve seen in the states.