Momentum behind experiential marketing in 2019 is certainly growing. As consumers become more and more connected, they expect their offline and online worlds to also co-exist seamlessly and experiential marketing campaigns continue to prove that they’re an effective way to bring businesses into consumers’ personal lives.[
EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING: THE DEFINITION
In this article, experiential marketing is outlined as having the same principles as experiential learning (instead of reading about a topic, one is given the chance to experience it and internalise what they’re learning). After all, when you have a unique experience, you’re bound to remember it. And that’s why experiential marketing campaigns have shown to aid recall by bringing the world of a brand to life through tactile experiences.
2019’S TOP EXPERIENTIAL CAMPAIGNS
Where better to look than a festival that’s been described as a “cradle of marketing innovation”; South by Southwest. This Austin-based festival, has grown exponentially, setting the bar sky-high when it comes to experiential marketing that pushes the boundaries of interactivity. There are too many to mention in a single post, but we’ve outlined a few top picks. Let’s kick this off, shall we?
SPEAKEASY AND CHILL
Netflix knocked it out the park (and into the pub) with a speakeasy set up in a dingy basement which transported fans into the 1930s-world of “The Highwaymen” (a movie they were punting). This experiential campaign was a truly immersive space, where people could mingle and order themed cocktails, earn swag (who doesn’t love a free Stetson?) by solving live riddles and uncover film-related clues.
CREATIVITY, COLLABS AND CAVES
Sony’s impressive experiential marketing campaign lived up to its name; “The Sony Wow Studio”. This interactive exhibit was brimming with a series of installations centred on a common theme – the curiosity of technology’s relationship with creativity. Visitors could pet robotic dogs that recognised human faces, or meet AI robots who stared right back at them as they “talked” amongst themselves in their own language. They call this “communication art” … Some may call it “a little too close for comfort”. The principle of inclusive design was introduced in the “The Cave Without a Light” – an incredible experience, designed with the assistance of a blind Sony engineer, allowing one to don headphones and create music in a collaborative (albeit pitch black) space.
Not everything was high tech, QR codes and neon lights, a few experiential marketing campaigns that really stood out where rooted in conscious cognition and cause marketing. Taking over an entire bar on a buzzing street was the oasis of mindfulness in the form of “Lululemon Sweatlife House” (because zen is so hot right now). This super-chilled space presented the choice of restorative yoga, guided meditation or a personalised virtual reality experience that monitored your heart rate. The best part? They asked people to pledge to take action to further gender equality as part of International Women’s Day (while snacking on an acai bowl).
And finally, HBO put on a fantastically interactive experiential campaign. Game of Thrones fans got the chance to prove that they were willing to “bleed for the throne” ahead of the upcoming final season. Along with an intimate experience of the world so many fans have come to love, this campaign supported a blood drive for the Red Cross, using a show known for its bloody scenes, to effect change amidst an international blood shortage.
WHAT DO THESE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS HAVE IN COMMON?
- They stayed true to a very clear theme and structured their activities and interaction around that, which in turn tied clearly back to their brand and brand purpose.
- They found ways to weave in data collection (through iPad sign ups or RFID tags that unlocked activities) and got people talking.
- They offered an exchange through interactivity – whether time, food, drinks, photos, a quiet moment or even show-related swag.