Defining experiential marketing can prove rather difficult, since the breadth of initiatives that it can entail is so expansive. In short, experiential marketing involves an interactive experience that generates buzz about a product. However, what a campaign ultimately looks like depends on who the targeted customer base is, what the product is, and how the company intends to represent itself culturally.
Because experiential marketing can be so effective, it has the potential to be a worthwhile investment of resources. The best campaigns are those that catch people off guard and appeal to their sense of fun and creativity. To get some inspiration for experiential marketing campaigns, check out these groundbreaking initiatives:
The Guinness Class appealed to people’s desire for luxury by bringing the luxury associated with writing on a private jet into a bar. Brand ambassadors clad in flight attendant uniforms bearing the Guinness name entered pubs across the United Kingdom and let people play a tablet game and win a prize if they ordered a pint of the stout.
Most of the prizes were fairly inexpensive, such as passport cases or keychains. However, one individual each night would walk away with a free trip to Dublin in a private plane, and could bring four friends along for the experience.
This campaign was successful because it got people excited about the Guinness brand, but also because it connected the beer to luxury and the changing desires of its audience. After all, research has shown that nearly 80 percent of millennials would rather purchase an experience than a product. Guinness was able to offer individuals what they wanted without changing its product.
Facebook IQ Live
A sort of “meta” experiential marketing campaign, Facebook IQ Live was designed to teach individuals how to use Facebook and social media in general as a marketing tool. Facebook has accumulated an incredible amount of data about how people use its platform, as well as Instagram, which the company owns.
This data was transformed into a retail store-like experience that showed the conversion path of normal social media users. More than 1,500 people attended the event, and more than 90 percent of these individuals said they learned more about how to use Facebook to promote their businesses.
The key to marketing success is understanding what people want and giving it to them. Facebook took it upon itself to teach business owners how to do this using the social network, thereby giving its own customers what they wanted.
Zappos’ Google Cupcake Ambush
This experiential marketing campaign is a lesson in collaboration. To promote its new photography app, Google put a cupcake truck on the streets of Austin, Texas. Instead of paying for cupcakes with cash, however, individuals had to submit a photo taken through the app.
Then, Zappos “crashed” the campaign by putting a box next to the truck. Individuals could insert a cupcake into the box to receive a pair of shoes or a watch.
What makes this joint campaign so brilliant is that customers were able to interact with both brands and make decisions about how they wanted to receive the reward for using the Google app. Because the brands don’t offer competing products, they were able to work together to get customers excited and build buzz about their respective websites.
The Misereor Charity Donation Billboard
Experiential marketing does not always have to be about free products or experiences for customers. Misereor proved this fact with its brilliant charity donation billboard.
This German relief NGO realized that most people conduct all their transactions using plastic rather than cash. In fact, more than 350 billion non-cash transactions take place each year. To make it possible for people to donate when they do not have cash on them, Misereor set up screens in various places, such as airports, that represented one of the problems the organization worked to solve.
For example, hunger was represented by a loaf of bread. Individuals could swipe their card for a 2 Euro charge that would donate to the cause and make the screen change. For those who chose to donate to the hunger-related cause, it would look like the card was cutting the bread.
When individuals received their bank statements, they contained personalized thanks from the company. Also included were directions for turning the one-time donation into a monthly one.
The Bar 702 Mugshot Photobooth
Most examples of experiential marketing involve significant investments of time and money. However, great campaigns can also be simple and fairly inexpensive.
A great example of this is Bar 702, which was featured on the television show Bar Rescue with Jon Taffer. According to the host, bars should always have something fun and creative that keeps people talking.
At Bar 702, Taffer installed a photobooth that patrons could use for free to take photos that looked like mugshots. This fun activity may not seem like much of an experiential campaign at first, but the trick is that individuals were encouraged to share their photos on social media. As people began checking into the bar more regularly and sharing their mugshots online, business quickly began to pick up at 702.