15 of Marketing’s Most Memorable Experiential Moves



20th Century Fox: “The Simpsons Kwik-E Mart”
In 2007, 20th Century Fox hyped the release of “The Simpsons Movie” by bringing Kwik-E-Mart convenience stores to the real world. The studio partnered with 7-Eleven and its agency Tracy Locke to transform a dozen stores into their “Simpsons” counterpart. The shelves even boasted familiar treats like pink sprinkled doughnuts, Buzz cola and Krusty-Os cereal.

TNT: “Push to Add Drama”
This effort from Belgian agency Duval Guillaume forever raised the bar for stunts. In 2012, in a sleepy Belgian town square, passersby encountered a mysterious red button labeled “Push to Add Drama.” Those who bit unleashed havoc on the streets in the form of ambulances, fist fights and gunshots — all in an effort to promote the channel’s “Daily Dose of Drama.”

TNT: “Ewing Energies”
On the other side of the Atlantic, TNT set out to promote the third season of “Dallas” last month by installing the first Ewing Energies flagship gas station in Manhattan — with prices set to kill the competition at $1.98 a gallon. Located at 10th Avenue and 37th street in New York, the station was open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 24, the day of the season premiere. One of the show’s stars, Josh Henderson, even stopped by for a visit.

Selfridges: “No Noise” 
Last year, British retailer Selfridges launched an unusual campaign via agency 18 Feet and Rising to celebrate the “power of quiet.” When founder Harry Gordon Selfridge opened the shop in 1909, it included a “Silence Room” where customers could get respite from the shopping storm. “No Noise” translated that idea into a host of initiatives, including a silence room designed by architect Alex Cochrane as well as “The Quiet Shop.” The boutique featured carefully curated products from brands such as Levi’s, and Marmite, which agreed to remove the “loud” logos that adorn their products for more minimalist labeling.

MGM: “Carrie: A Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise
Agency Thinkmodo is behind some of the most entertaining and passed-around experiential videos, including this recent effort to promote MGM’s remake of “Carrie” last year. Patrons of a coffee shop witnessed a young woman send a man up the side of a brick wall with a flick of her hand after he accidentally spilled his coffee on her laptop — a “real world” example of the telekinetic rage that drives the film’s title character.

Red Bull: “Stratos”
Red Bull outextremed itself when it sent skydiver Felix Baumgartner on the world’s highest skydive — from 24 miles above Earth. Red Bull announced the effort at the beginning of 2010 and on Oct. 14, 2012, Mr. Baumgartner made his leap. It became one of the most-talked-about events of the year — clips of the feat even served as the intro and finale to Google‘s annual zeitgeist video.

Nike: “Chalkbot”
One of the most celebrated examples of technology-meets-the real world, Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., Deeplocal and Standard Robot in 2009 created a roving vehicle that imprinted messages of hope sent by tweeters along the route of the Tour de France. It also snapped images of those chalk notes and sent them to those who tweeted them. Meant to promote Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong, the effort led to a 46% increase in apparel sales for the organization. And although the reputation of its founder later crashed, Chalkbot remains a landmark experiential effort.

HBO: “Voyeur”
The cornerstone of this 2007 multiplatform campaign from BBDO, New York, was a “Rear Window”-style film that gave a peek into the interconnected lives of various apartment dwellers. The film, directed by RSA‘s Jake Scott, was projected onto the facade of a New York building, giving onlookers a true sense of voyeurism. The effort was designed to assert HBO’s position as a storyteller like no other.

Hot Outdoor Advertisers
This year, Coca-Cola, the Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau and charity Caritas created bus shelters that warm shivering commuters in wintry climes while promoting brand messages. Coke brought “happiness” to the frigid in Sweden; Fort Lauderdale reminded New Yorkers that they could be wearing bikinis elsewhere; and Caritas showed how far donations could go to providing comfort for others.

Gatorade: “Replay”
Gatorade and agency TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles teamed up in 2009 to give rival high-school football teams the chance to replay their final senior-year game — 15 years after the showdown ended in a tie. Gatorade staged a rematch between the two original teams documented in online webisodes and a TV series.

IBM Watson
In 2011, IBM put a truly human face on its Watson artificial-intelligence system when the A.I. came face-to-face with Alex Trebek and a couple whiz-kid competitors for a game of “Jeopardy” and won. Since then, the supercomputer has evolved into a cloud service that enables many types of businesses to make sense of their mounds of data in more human ways. Recently, IBM invited mobile developers to come up with their own Watson-fueled ideas and will provide seed funding for the three best.

Enterprise-software firm SAP showed off its social-media analytics prowess at the NFL’s Super Bowl Boulevard in New York this year in an installation that sat among more expected consumer-friendly exhibits from advertisers like Xbox, Snickers, GMC and Papa John’s. The NFL.com Stats Zone, powered by SAP, turned numbers, images and data insights into fun, digestible factoids about the NFL and the big game.

Royal Caribbean: “Virtual Balcony”
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines aims to enhance its passengers’ travel experience with the “Virtual Balcony” created by Control Group. For RCCL’s new “Quantum of the Seas” ship, the tech-innovation firm created digitally-enabled faux balconies that give each stateroom a real-time live-streamed view of the sea, complete with guard rail. The firm consulted with MIT and Harvard scientists to help ensure the experience would be motion-sickness-free.

Coca-Cola: “Open Happiness”
Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” platform has inspired efforts like the outdoor ad above to delightful vending machines that dispense everything from sandwiches and flowers. The brand has also conducted moving stunts, such as this tear-jerker that brought Filipino overseas workers home to their families.

Last year on the busiest — and most annoying — travel day of the year, the day before Thanksgiving, online retailer Zappos sprung a surprise on one of its most loyal markets, Houston. Along with agency Mullen, Zappos turned one of the baggage carousels at George Bush Intercontinental Airport into a “Wheel of Fortune”-style game that awarded travelers the prizes upon which their luggage landed.

Experiential Activity Marketing: Winning Over Today’s Customers, One Event At A Time

A great article from Forbes. Solomon explains why experiential marketing wins over customers in today’s market.

Experiential Marketing: Winning Over Today’s Customers, One Event At A Time

“Experiential activity marketing” is a term that’s batted around more and more these days. In case the phrase still sounds like futuristic gibberish to you, let’s spend some time with Bharat Rupani, President of Interactions Marketing, an experiential marketing agency and subsidiary of  Daymon Worldwide in San Diego. Rupani, who has 20 years of experience in leading the development and expansion of brands in both the consumer products and retail sectors, explains the term as “work done with retailers and brands to connect directly with shoppers – usually through an event that happens inside a store or externally in the community.” Like what?  “In terms of our company, experiential marketing can range from anything from us handing out samples in a store, to staffing grand opening celebrations, to being behind the truck of a mobile tour.”

I wanted more examples, so Rupani took me first to the grocery industry, where Interactions Marketing has done work for Giant Foods on the East Coast of the U.S. (Giant is a part of the mammoth Ahold USA corporate conglomerate.)  “At the Giant Landover, Maryland grand opening, our team created a three week long extravaganza for the store that featured a flash mob, a custom miniature ice cream truck, a selfie booth, kids craft area, outdoor grilling event, and a number of food sampling events. It was a way to connect with shoppers in what we feel was an unforgettable experience, and to help cement Giant Landover within its local Maryland community.

Mini Ice Cream Truck by Interactions Marketing, Giant Food Grand Opening, Landover, MD • Credit: Interactions Marketing

Mini Ice Cream Truck by Interactions Marketing, Giant Food Grand Opening, Landover, MD • Credit: Interactions Marketing

He then spoke about their relationship with Advance Auto Parts, for whom Rupani’s company has created a mobile tour (with a 44-foot RV) that reaches Advance Auto Parts’ shoppers at over 30 automotive events across the nation. The RV-based tour interacted with nearly 50,000 people in 2015 alone, of whom they managed to sign up more than 15,000 new members for Advance Auto Parts’ loyalty program, Speed Perks.

Interactions Marketing for Advanced Auto Parts, Daytona Bike Week • Credit: Interactions Marketing

Interactions Marketing for Advanced Auto Parts, Daytona Bike Week • Credit: Interactions Marketing

Experiential activity marketing, of course, also has digital components.  In the case of Advance Auto Parts, this year, Interactions Marketing augmented its program by developing a game (“Rev it Up!”) that allows customers and prospective customers at home to test their diagnostic skills, with prizes that include gift cards.

There are many challenges involved in any customer-focused enterprise, and I spent some time with Rupani talking about problems and issues that have come up for Interactions Marketing as it has grown.  He let me know that the  biggest challenge is talent acquisition, not for technical skills, but for the human, customer-focused element: “Rapid growth always comes with its challenges and growing pains to an organization. And one of the primary challenges for us has been keeping pace with the growth and being able to find and deliver the top quality talent that Interactions is known for providing. Often in hiring talent for experiential marketing, we find a shrinking pool of candidates who have a passion for human interaction and face-to-face encounters that is necessary for the work we do. Personal engagement is an art we must keep alive – it’s upon us to hire and train those who can emote and connect with people.”

Finally, I wanted to draw Rupani out on principles of experiential marketing that would be useful whether a company is of a size that can engage his company’s service.  He told me that, absolutely, the answer is yes; “Experiential marketing doesn’t have to be overcomplicated – it’s about the human to human experience and word of mouth which are both extremely powerful marketing vehicles.”  First, he says, “realize that with each interaction during your day you are creating a memory for someone; in this sense you already have a role in selling and in creating experiences.”

Next, “take that concept beyond your team, and beyond your office and you can be creative in the way you engage with shoppers.” The key, as with any marketing or advertising tactic, is to know your consumer: “For example, if you want to conduct a street team event, think about your target audience, where do they live, where do they congregate, what messages and offers would appeal to them? When you know the answers to those questions, and a few more like them, you’ll know where, when, and how to stage your event. Ultimately if people try your brand and like it – you’ve made an impact that traditional marketing (radio, print ads, TV) can’t produce.  With so much focus on technology today, experiential marketing is still the real and organic interaction with a brand that so many of us still enjoy and value.”

60 Ways Personalization is Changing Marketing

A great list found from a fellow marketing blogger listing great points of marketing and why personalization is changing the market.

60 Ways Personalization is Changing Marketing

In ThoughtLead’s latest Future of Marketing series, 60 speakers (including HubSpot’s own Mike Volpe) spoke for 60 minutes about the personalization revolution. The roster of speakers included industry analysts, leading technologists, CEOs, authors, and bloggers.

If you have 60 minutes to spare, reading the transcript or listening to the audio recording is recommended. Listed below is the main points from each of the speakers.

1. Customization is not personalization. Customization is explicit, but personalization is implicit.

2. There is a growing willingness to trade in privacy to get a personalized experience.

3. IP recognition software will provide an experience that is dynamically constructed for individual users.

. You can achieve intent-drive personalization by understanding engagement and what people engage with on your site.

5. Never forget that the key to great marketing is having an in-depth understanding of users. No matter how much technology changes, that never does.

6. Personalization is the next wave of the communal public user experience.

7. Delivering personalized messages to specific audiences at the right time is the holy grail of marketing.

8. The future is in making websites, products, or experiences personal in a deeply meaningful way.

9. The personalization of search results offers an opportunity to increase your visibility for really relevant searches.

10. The social, gesture, and location aspects of personalization are the key elements driving online advertising.

11. The potential to engage customers contextually based on a need and serve that in real time will drive mobile devices as they become payment vehicles.

12. The advent of newer technologies, social networking, and database profiling offers the ability to help people find what they need and serve them what they desire.

13. Personalization has moved beyond segmentation to algorithmically-driven content.

14. People want to share what they do and information about themselves if you give them the chance to do it.

15. Personalization is about leveraging what you can from individuals when they come to your inbound customer touch-points.

16. Don’t think about different groups you want to market to. Think about the power of one and how to reach that person in the most customized and creative way.

17. There are three vectors of personalization: real time, what is hot, and local.

18.  Use personalization and customization of landing pages to drive better conversion rates.

19. The three step approach to personalization is: listen, educate, engage.

20. Think in terms of customer-centric recommendation engines rather than company-centric selling engines.

21. There is a growing need for social media managers to rationalize what they are doing.

22. The future of personalization will reward publishers that provide better content.

23.   Personalization is about creating a natural process of conversation between companies and customers.

24. Use personalization to give customers a great experience.

25. Personalization is not just an opportunity but is a part of a set of broad, very profound societal changes where there is a trade-off between privacy and personalization.

26. The three keys to balancing personalization and privacy are company transparency, consumer choice, and being accountable to those choices.

27. With personalized ads, the goal is to reach the highest point of relevance for the lowest sense of intrusion.

28. For personalization to work, you want to gain your customer’s trust and not abuse it.

29. Engage your customers and prospects without secrecy.

30. Use the available technology to make sure you touch your customers in the right way at the right time with the right information.

31. A development in online privacy to keep an eye on is the possibility of a ‘do no track’ list, which is an idea being discussed by the FTC.

32. Privacy is not the issue. It’s about the value proposition we give to consumers.

33. The key to personalization is not algorithms or automation. The key is to work your butt off. To personalize, you need to put in the effort.

34. Worry less about technology and focus on human emotions and what turns people on.

35. Go beyond what your product can do for you customers and focus on what your product says about them.

36. The three Ms to successful personalization: motivation, message and media.

37. To get a shot at your customers’ pocketbooks, first capture their imagination by getting them into a dialogue.

38. Personalization convinces consumers that they are buying things thinking it’s their idea when, in fact, it’s not.

39. Marketers can get too focused on the details and forget to focus on the most important aspect: relevancy.

40. Filling your channel with content is going to personalize that relationship between the brand and the consumer.

41. Personalization comes to life by delivering relevant and compelling experiences to your end user.

42. Business is personal. It takes time to build trust but less to establish likeability, which is the first step towards long-term partnerships.

43. The challenge is to create an emotional and psychological contract with your customers that separates you from everybody else.

44. Get rid of the scripts. Create a Personal Emotional Connection (PEC) by encouraging reps to be themselves and have their personalities connect with customers’ personalities.

45. Treat your customers like VIPs at every touch-point.

46. Customers now expect your business to use their personalized information to offer better service.

47. Get personal with your prospects and customers, but don’t get creepy by using all the information you have when communicating with your customers.

48. Personalized marketing is not just for customers and prospects. It can affect change within an organization.

49. Personalize to the why of the intent to increase the value of the customer experience.

50. One-to-one marketing is all about personalization; less mass communication and more mass customization.

51. In face-to-face marketing, body language is the key. In online marketing, the key is taking note of the digital body language of your web visitors and customers.

52. Mass personal relevance allows you to target individual offers tailored by data and driven by customer input.

53. With customer behavior changed by the recent economic downturn, more is now dependent on how a retailer or brand can communicate their relevancy to the customer.

54. Personalization is about engaging customers using technology in ways that mimic how we would do it if we were face to face.

55. For mobile, location-based marketing and location-based services are going to be very important for companies trying to reach consumers.

56. After search box and site navigation, product recommendations are the third key method that consumers use to navigate a retail site.

57. The trend is for consumers to click on relevant ads only, and personalization platforms are helping to drive this trend.

58. We’ve moved from an opt-in, permission-based and customized address fields in personalization to online relevant conversations that engage and excite.

59. The long-term effect of personalization where everyone becomes their own brand is that personal expertise will be an asset that can be traded for currency.

60. The company of the future takes all of its disparate information and unifies it because that is what everything else is based on.

What would you add to this list?