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Experiential’s Got Legs

Posted by Scott Halstead on 5/15/2017

It’s no big surprise that cross pollination of brand content is the best way to maximize marketing budgets. More and more advertisers are relying on fully integrated campaigns that align with the reality of where, how and what channels their consumers are spending their time. With dwindling attention spans, you really have to be engaging to get consumers to give you the time of day. So while TV spots aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, advertisers need to be savvy about rebalancing where dollars are spent to be truly effective.

I have a real appreciation for experiential campaigns done right — ones that are well-thought-out and not just one-off activations with no legs. And what I mean by that is, I appreciate experiential campaigns that are crafted to live elsewhere. Outside of that one day and venue. Ones that can be followed up and played out via other marketing channels. You will rarely have a positive ROI if you don’t think through how you can maximize your experiential investment.

A perfect example of taking a modern-day approach to experiential came at this years Super Bowl LI with Hyundai’s brand-to-fan engagement. With the hopes of giving our troops an immersive Super Bowl experience, Hyundai brought 360-degree projection “pods”, to a military base in Poland so that three pre-selected soldiers could watch the game (via satellite) in a unique way. Little did they know their families were on-site in Houston to surprise them and virtually watch the game with them. The activation was broadcast LIVE (cut and edited on-site simultaneous to the game) across the US to weeping fans in a heart-tugging and valiant effort. So this seemingly small engagement became a viral sensation, marrying experiential and broadcast seamlessly.

Another example of a partnership between marketing channels occurred when Kmart joined forces with West Coast Customs (a television show featuring a vehicle customization shop) to create a first-of-its-kind virtual reality bus in the hopes of creating a brag-worthy experience that could be shared socially. West Coast Customs designed and built a Virtual Experience Recreational Vehicle (V.E.R.V.) equipped with the latest in virtual reality gaming technology and design, including digital screens, one-of-a-kind product displays and a gaming lounge. The mobile tour garnered millions of impressions of social content from celebrities and NFL players, and the partnership with West Coast Customs scored Kmart a behind-the-scenes broadcast at the making of V.E.R.V. on the Velocity channel.

Another awesome experience from Xfinity promoting their ultra high-speed, broadband Gigabit Internet Service finds two unsuspecting movie-lovers in an intense high-speed car chase. Xfinity partnered with Universal Pictures this past March to promote their new release The Fate of the Furious by filming a two-and-a-half minute spot surprising two fans punk’d-style by recreating a scene from the movie, stunt drivers, American muscle cars and all. The winning fans were chosen from more than 3,000 entries via social media and flown out to Los Angeles for a day at Universal Studios and what they thought was a drive-in sneak peek of the new film. The video debuted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the movie franchise’s massive social media feeds.

With the rise in popularity of experiential marketing comes a responsibility for marketers to make sure we are optimizing our engagements and taking into consideration how to extend it’s reach. It’s not enough just to have a unique activation — you have to up the ante by extending it to the wide variety of channels that modern consumers have access to.

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