Insights & Inspiration are literally EVERYTHING when it comes to creating an outstanding experiential campaign. Sometimes, learning about what others are doing can spark a new idea in your head – and lead you to award winning work. So our team here at Eventpreneur scouted the world to find some super creative experiential campaigns. Our favorites – number 3, 6, 10!
HBO made headlines in 2018 with their SXSW promotion for their series “Westworld”, SXSWestworld. HBO transformed 2 acres of land outside of Austin, TX into the fictional town of Sweetwater. The experience included a set of over 20 buildings and 60 trained actors. The entire experience was immersive and scripted. The town was also littered with clues related to the upcoming 2nd season of the show. Because of the real-life video game nature of the event, with attendees making decisions that could affect the story, no two consumers received the same experience. While we can’t all afford to build an entire TV set, this is a great example of an innovative campaign. Idea source: https://www.giantspoon.com/project/15183/hbo-sxswestworld
2) Refinery29’s 29Rooms
Each year, Refinery29 sets a great example for creative experiential marketing. 29Rooms was launched in 2015 and continues to see success as a touring exhibition in cities like NYC, DC, and LA. The event consists of 29 rooms that are designed and created with brand partners, ranging from artists and musicians to companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and Dyson. Attendees were encouraged to use the surroundings of each room to create something. For example, attendees entered a room full of shredded paper, wrote down their thoughts, and then could shred the thoughts by hand using a pasta-maker! In another room, participants were invited to turn their anger into art by hitting and kicking punching bags that made music when struck. Co-founder Piera Gelardi describes 29Rooms as “a dream world of culture and creativity.” He says – “We launched the first 29Rooms in September 2015 on Refinery29’s 10-Year Anniversary as a way to bring our brand to life in the real world.Organized to disrupt the exclusivity of New York Fashion Week, we partnered with creative visionaries like Petra Collins and Solange Knowles in order to build 29 distinct artistic experiences that everyone could enjoy. The results blew us away.” Today, 29Rooms has become a vibrant community where culture, creativity and imagination are unlocked and celebrated year after year. Through our traveling tours and ever-changing spaces, new artists, partners, and visionaries continue to bring ideas to life through interactive installations, performances, workshops, and more. This first-of-its-kind event brings together a vibrant, creative crowd and engages millions globally through live experiences designed to unlock the creativity inside us all. We’re excited to have the opportunity to continue to bring this meaningful space into more peoples lives through the Expand Your Reality Experience as well as events later this year in New York and Los Angeles. Idea source – https://www.29rooms.com/
3) Paddy Power: ‘Sinner to Winner’
Paddy Power is on online sports betting service who never misses the opportunity to poke fun at prominent events, and Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland in 2018 was no exception. While the bookmaker is no stranger to courting controversy, this activation was one that really got people talking – literally. To give the Irish people the chance to absolve their sins and clear their conscience before the Pope arrived, Paddy Power erected a massive Drive Thru confessional box outside Dublin’s Phoenix Park. This example of experiential marketing is highly memorable and serves to entwine Paddy Power with such a high-profile event, increasing brand awareness long after the experience has passed.
4) Smirnoff: ‘We’re open’
Supporting an initiative by Westminster Council and LGBT Foundation, vodka brand Smirnoff deployed groups of helpers to ensure that everyone got home safe throughout the festive period. These ‘Soho Angels’, based primarily in London’s West End, were trained to recognize those most vulnerable and provide support and guidance. This was part of a wider appeal across London to ensure nighttime safety throughout the city, yet this particular initiative was focused on the LGBTQ+ community, who are often attacked due to their sexual orientation. The ‘Soho Angels’ were part of Smirnoff’s wider ‘We’re Open’ campaign which looks to promote inclusivity and equality. In supporting this initiative and improving nightlife safety for the queer community, Smirnoff ensured the wellbeing of its patrons in a less intrusive manner. It remains experiential marketing, providing a valuable experience without pushing the product in consumers’ faces.
5) Google Assistant Playground
At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Google wanted to steal the spotlight in the voice-activated assistant category, facing competition from other large brands like Amazon. Google pulled out all the stops by building a two-story installation called the “Google Assistant Playground.” The entire second floor was used for “The Ride,” which has been described as a Disney-like experience. A full-scale coaster had attendees ride through animatronic vignettes describing a story of a family getting ready for Grandma’s 90th birthday. The story highlighted how Google Assistant helped along the way. In addition to the attention-grabbing ride, the exhibit included artistic vignettes showcasing how Assistant can help in all aspects of life at home, from answering the door to making lasagna. Google also included a digital tie-in, where people unable to attend CES could experience The Ride too. Idea source – https://wearesparks.com/work_experiential/google-assistant-playground-ces
6) Xbox: Survival Billboard
To promote the exclusive Xbox game ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’, in 2015 the console brand challenged eight members of the public to an endurance test in a stunt dubbed ‘Survival Billboard’. The concept was created by m:united and McCann London, and saw the group try to withstand some of the world’s most extreme weather conditions for 24 hours, as chosen by Twitter followers. The winner would receive a holiday, inspired by the game.
7) JetBlue and City of Palm Springs Icebreaker Challenge
When you’re standing on a freezing sidewalk in winter, inevitably you fantasize about travels to warmer weather. The city of Palm Springs decided to capitalize on this by inviting New Yorkers to literally “break out of the chill” of winter by teaming up with JetBlue for the “Icebreaker” challenge promoting new direct flights from NY to Palm Springs. The airline placed two 6-foot ice blocks in Washington Square Park and Flatiron Plaza. The ice blocks contained vacation-themed prized like golf clubs, sandals, pool attire, and even round-trip airfare to Palm Springs. Passerby were invited to chip away at the ice with whatever tools they had on them.
8) Google Home Mini Donut Shop
Google got creative once again by building off of the idea that the Google Home Mini is “the size of a donut.” Google created pop-up donut shops across the country. Visitors to the shops asked the voice assistant questions, and were rewarded with a box that contained either a Home Mini or donuts. Either way, visitors took something home to enjoy! The shops included another fun element as a bonus: “sprinkle showers” where visitors were showered with confetti. (This one also happened in Mumbai at R Mall Ghatkopar).
9) Duck Tape Pop-Up Shop
Duck Tape brand created the Duck Tape Pop-Up Store and Experience. Timed shortly after the Tape played a starring role in a challenge on “Project Runway,” the pop-up shop in the busy Fashion District was open for 12 days. Duck Tape transformed an empty corner space into a fashion-inspired retail destination. Prior to the shop’s open, a luncheon and fashion show created buzz, with models wearing the “Project Runway” Duck Tape dresses. The pop-up shop hosted special events, including a chance to meet “Project Runway” designers, how-to craft videos, and watching an artist create the NY skyline out of the tape. The campaign was a resounding success, with more than 15,000 visitors purchasing more than 10,000 rolls of tape and more than 37.5 million media impressions. The campaign won the Silver Award for Best Sponsorship or Tie In Campaign in the Event Marketer Pro Awards.
10) The Economist’s “Discomfort Future”
The Economist is a media company that covers topics like international news, business, politics, finance, economics, and technology, and how these issues are impacting the world at large. The company was well aware that they had developed a reputation as being dry and technical, when in reality it’s a great source of information for people who really care about the forces that are shaping our future. But the content isn’t exactly light reading. It’s for people who want to read long, in-depth articles on these complex topics. To help change their image and engage the right kind of audience, The Economist developed a brilliant series of experiences over the course of two years that aimed to take people out of their comfort zones. Why? Because those are the kind of people who find their content valuable and stick around past the initial promotional offer. These experiences included events where people were served worm ice cream, grasshopper crepes, waste food smoothies, and reclaimed water coffee. You read that right. Bugs, trash, and human waste. They chose this angle to reflect several Economist articles that covered topics like the future of food, recycling, and sustainability. And it worked. The “Discomfort Future” campaign had an incredible impact:
- More than 25,000 new subscriptions – 60 percent of which stayed past the promotional offer
- More than £1.7 million in lifetime revenue
- 171 percent return on investment (ROI) from the campaign
Check out the video from The Economist’s marketing agency Sense: