Easily defined, experiential marketing is a fancy name for engagement marketing or event marketing. This age old marketing strategy directly engages the public and encourages them to actively participate in an activity whether online or on-ground. In essence you’re providing your audience with an experience and not just bombarding them with advertisements.
In an age where peoples eyes are conjoined to their screens it can be hard to tear them away and everyone has turned to utilising that connection, saturating screens with advertisement after advertisement. It’s turned into a “pay to win” model as we say in the gaming world where whoever has the biggest buck, makes the biggest bang.
In 2007 a Japanese snack food company launched two new snack brands "Tyrant Habanero Burning Hell Hot" and "Satan Jorquia Bazooka Deadly Hot" (sounds a little scary even to our Malaysian palate). The campaign combined mutiplayer online gaming with advertising on a mobile phone. Customers chose brand teams and battled it out virtually to determine the winner of the “Worlds Worst War”. Hakuhodo, the agency in charge, won the Yellow Pencil Award at the annual D&AD advertising awards.
This campaign catapulted the industry into another level of integrated marketing that assimilated the use of new technology with traditional means whilst resurrecting engagement marketing.
But why does it work?
With everyone moving online its always a breath of fresh air if a brand is tangible and offering something different. Experiential marketing needs to be immersive, memorable and most importantly catch your audiences full attention. It offers them not only a visual experience but also provides brands with a chance to reinforce their brand while making the customer feel as if they are a part of it, allowing for brands to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
So what has worked and what hasn’t?
In 2016 Lean Cuisine launched its #WeighThis campaign in New York's Grand Central Station and invited women to “weigh in”. It was a amazing to see a weight loss centric brand breakaway from diet-centric messaging.They curated a wall of “scales” which were actually small boards where women could write down how they wanted to be weighed. Instead of writing down their weight or anything related to their bodies they decided to write things like 'going back to college at 55', 'or taking care of 200 homeless kids' or 'being a sole provider for 4 children'.
An important takeaway for brands is that you don’t always have to have your brand plastered all over everything you do. Zone in on one key message that does not have to be tied to a product and build the experience around it. When creating an experience it is also important not to interrupt people. Do not stop them in the streets, or ask them to sample your products. If the event that you have built is interesting and strong enough, people will naturally gravitate towards it.
One campaign that didn’t turn out so cool (thats a pun you’ll see why) was Jeagermiester’s Poison Pool Party. Now we’re all no strangers to for machines or dry ice either in the clubs or at parties but this party decided to take it to the pool, with liquid nitrogen. It does sound like a great concept but what many failed to grasp (cause it was foggy) was the fact that when liquid nitrogen reacts with chlorine, it displaces all oxygen present. Participants soon found themselves struggling for air and the thick fog had concealed their distress. The pool party ended with nine people being sent to the hospital and one in a coma.
Safety is always first! What may sound absolutely awesome may not always be the safest. When creating an interactive party, organisers should always carry out rigorous health and safety checks before opening it to the public.
But with all thats been said and done, what do we at Suppagood think of experiential marketing?
We love it!
It offers a whole new dimension to engaging your audience and is an opportunity for them to interact with and enjoy the brand as a whole and not just a product. As the world grows smaller, audiences are more exposed to happenings all over the world and it can be tough to create content that is on par with age old corporations. But through experiential marketing we’re creating unique experiences and that is what gets people talking.
Differentiating your brand from the many out there is the first step to building the foundation of a long lasting business. So if you’re ready to start building yours and have a few whacky ideas ready, give us a call!