What Makes (and Breaks) Experiential Marketing Campaigns [Updated]

A couple of years ago we posted our first take on What Makes (and Breaks) Experiential Marketing Campaigns. All of that wisdom is still relevant, and now we’ve been thinking about what experiences and events might look like post-pandemic. We’ve also spent two more years growing and evolving with the industry, so here are our updated thoughts on “What Makes (and Breaks) Experiential Marketing Campaigns.”

Location

This is the most important element of an experiential marketing activation. You can design, budget, and execute the most engaging activation in the world, but if the location is wrong, your impact will be limited. The right site for your activation not only reinforces an experience, it maximizes the potential interactions you receive. The importance of location isn’t focused solely on the volume of people, either. It also needs to be relevant to the audience you want to reach.

And in the post-COVID world, location will matter in new ways. Spatial planning and allocating extra room for people to spread out is important for social distancing compliance and ensuring visitor comfort. Make sure the space feels open, the pathways are spacious and accessible, and signage is visible and plentiful. The world is eager to return to communal experiences, and yet people will be leery of crowds for years to come.

Safety measures and messaging

Health and safety measures have always been a consideration but how safety measures are presented and implemented will mean everything in a post-pandemic world. From abundant hand sanitizing stations, to dedicated staff cleaning high-touch surfaces to HEPA filters and air purification, you’ll want to mention the health and safety considerations of your event before, during, and after opening day.

In addition to wayfinding and branding, your event signage will need to promote good hygiene, social distancing, and health guidance without being intimidating. It may be necessary to explain new policies and restrictions in detail. People will notice the effort your brand puts into a fully detailed health and safety plan that includes smart practices like virtual queuing, safety checks or screenings, and touchless services. Use this as an advantage.

Focus on your core audience

Desire for events will be high but people will be apprehensive about crowds. Your brand’s return to experiential after the all-clear is the perfect time to focus on intimate events with a smaller number of people, whether that’s VIPs or those farther down your funnel. They will appreciate the feeling of being a part of the core community and the safety in lower numbers.

Following stay-at-home orders, brands and marketers can get ahead of the game by reaching audiences through intimacy, personal connection, and exclusivity. Hosting activations for smaller groups will also allow for reduced travel risk and crowd management risk. 

Reference: Adweek – Marketers and planners may have to adjust to new consumer mindsets.

Quality of the build

After quarantine, audiences will experience a new round of “first impressions” with many brands and experiences, which marks a unique opportunity for brands to get a second chance at first impressions. A high quality build with unique, memorable features and shareable moments will make a lasting impression and capture the imagination of visitors hungry for entertainment. 

This Nike+ Run Club experience created a fully immersive experience that emulated being inside of the Tron movie franchise, all while providing professional coaching and tech demos that built strong relationships with consumers.

While your brand may not need to go as far as dropping treadmills in Times Square, you should pay close attention to the level of detail and quality of materials used in your experience. Your guests might not remember all of the details at your event but they will definitely remember how they felt during the experience.

Time and patience

As we begin transitioning towards the future, now is the time to think, rethink, and plan your next activation. Nothing is moving as quickly as we would like, and while this may feel frustrating, it also creates ample opportunity to plan and design stunning experiences. Concerts and sporting events have been cancelled and indefinitely postponed, so now is not the time to set an event date. Instead, use this time to regroup, refine your messaging, and get creative. Consumers are eager to engage, but also nervous to do so. Brands are ready to return to “normalcy” but know that will take time. Patience and time management is critical right now because when we get the all-clear, experiences will be bigger, bolder, and more badass than ever before.

Never Stop Dreaming 

We are all in this uncertainty together. When we are free to plan and execute experiences again, it’s going to be an epic (and safe!) reunion for all experiential marketers and friends. By planning ahead, brands can position themselves well for future experiential marketing campaigns. If you can dream it, Pineapple can make it happen. And while we’re no strangers to making things happen on a tight timeline, having a plan in place will let your brand be one of the first to make a positive impression on consumers when the time is right.

 

Festival Fridays: How fans can help artists right now

We’re all experiencing this time of uncertainty and hardship together, and we’re particularly aware of the effects COVID-19 has had on artists and music industry professionals. Concerts we’ve been looking forward to have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely and  the financial burden is hitting everyone, from musicians to producers to venue employees. We’ve seen an enormous amount of support and understanding within the music community, but many of us are wondering how to support our favorite artists.

Here are some ideas for fans that are seeking ways to help:

  •  Buy music and merch – If you bought a ticket to a performance that has since been cancelled, consider offering the amount that you would have paid to buy records or merchandise. Not only do you get to support the artist, but you also get to spin a new record or have a new shirt or coozie to add to your quarantine outfit rotation.
  •  Attend virtual performances – Stay connected with the artists that you love. We are in the midst of what some people say is a “music streaming renaissance,” with many artists taking requests live on the air as they play for virtual tips.  Some artists are even doing tutorials on how they make music or sharing unprecedented looks into their creative processes. 
  • Keep listening – Musicians rely on touring for the majority of their income. Stream and buy their music and play it often; every stream or song purchased adds up! 
  • Share the music you love – The visibility helps artists a lot. Word of mouth goes a long way. From forwarding playlists to your friends to sharing that one meme of Bill Clinton with four records around him, now is the most important time ever to turn all your friends on to your favorite band. 
  • Donate – Many communities have set up fundraisers for this industry. If you can, throw a few extra bucks towards a venue or artist that had to cancel shows. Lots of our favorite musicians, bartenders, and producers  are completely without their normal source of income right now.

Support the musicians who support you

For so many of us, music is what accompanies us on our commutes, provides soundtracks to our dance parties, and makes us feel understood. While musicians occupy a larger-than-life place in our hearts, they work incredibly hard to make a living and create the art that we treasure so much. Find your favorite artists on social media and keep an eye out—they’re more than likely playing live shows from their homes!

The Pineapple Agency is looking beyond COVID-19

“Stay home.”

These are words seldom ever used in our business and yet we’re all being called upon to do this to save lives. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s left us feeling isolated as humans and missing the feeling of being in a crowded room with strangers sharing an experience. For The Pineapple Agency, we believe in the power of brand building through Experiential Marketing. We’re a different kind of marketing agency. We believe in creating emotional connections through live experiences, which means connecting with real people in real-life settings. From custom-built on-site installations to planning season-long tailgate parties, every opportunity is unique and we relish the challenges they provide. 

Staying on-brand from home

Like many Americans, we’re working from home but we are very much open for business. Our conference room is now a Zoom call, our dog-friendly office is now our living rooms, our snack shack is now located in our own pantries, and happy hours are done on FaceTime. 

As a world, we are collectively awaiting the next opportunity to visit our favorite restaurants, see our favorite sports teams and musicians, and take selfies with our friends. While individuals and brands respectfully step out of the spotlight, everyone is doing their part to flatten the curve. Humans across the world are all experiencing similar things in quarantine, which means brands can relate to their audiences by leaning into authenticity and providing an optimistic, helpful voice on the appropriate social channels. 

Read more about how brands can connect with audiences during COVID-19.

Demand for experiences grows exponentially

This global solidarity is creating its own unique sense of community and building an unprecedented pent-up demand for immersive experiences. Whenever it’s safe to do so, sponsoring immersive experiences will be the ultimate “reunion” party for brands and their fans. While the timeline is nebulous, we believe that brands can be authentic through the unknown and plan for a brighter future. When that time comes, we will be ready to support your branded experiences. 

Here are a few of our favorite examples of delivering unforgettable experiences on tight timelines:

  • We worked with Grin + Beam, formerly known as Canopy, and re-branded them, developed content, a website, and launched their mall pop-up activation in less than 60 days. 
  • In less than 6 weeks, we concepted, strategized and produced a consumer-first activation for Michelin at Daytona Bike Week which included 6 custom fabricated 20 foot shipping containers. 

From brands that have shifted their production facilities to support critical needs to brands that have provided premium subscriptions for free to support the collective boredom of quarantine, companies that have shifted their social media strategies to those that have chosen to respectfully stay quiet, there are many ways to address the global uncertainty of coronavirus while remaining authentic to your brand’s core. We are here to discuss staying authentic during a pandemic and to plan your next experiential activation. 

Pineapple is here for you

When it is safe to reconvene, we will be ready to rapidly deliver ‘Out of the Ordinary’ experiences for bold brands. The Pineapple Agency is agile, gritty, resourceful, and loves what we do. When you’re ready, please connect with us so we can get our Pineapple juices flowing on your next project. Speaking from our “core” – we hope you are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times. If we can support you in any way, please reach out to us! We will get through this together and look forward to planning your next branded experience as soon as we can. 

When brands shine in the time of COVID-19

An open letter to the marketing industry from an experiential agency CEO

Dear friends of experiential marketing, 

With everyone isolated at home right now baking bread, binge-watching Tiger King, and lamenting how March felt like an epoch that spanned years, I have had a lot of opportunity to reflect on a response to what is happening in the world, and in our industry, while on walks with my pup, Brooklyn. 

As the days and weeks of isolation go on, we are seeing businesses pivot and organizations flux. Unemployment is high and owners are stressed. There isn’t a playbook for this kind of scenario and while we can’t solve every problem, what we can do is stay positive, stay busy, and stay authentic. 

Our belief is that experiential marketing has seen exponential growth over the past several years for a very important reason — humans crave live experiences. They crave engagement, interaction and real-life moments. Although VR/AR and online platforms make it easier to create exciting digital experiences, nothing replaces being shoulder-to-shoulder in an outdoor venue with thousands of people swaying to the music. Digital can’t replace the picture in your head of thousands of iPhone lights seemingly floating in the darkness and the goosebumps you get while a band takes you on a magical journey. 

As an agency, we have delivered sneakers from drones, built eight-foot gumball machines, and worked on some of the biggest and most magical music festivals on the planet. We have engaged consumers in so many immersive ways and facilitated the release of every emotion a human can have. Now is the time for us to push the boundaries, elevate your brands’ messages, and bring even more emotion and love to what we do. 

We’re making a commitment to stay true to who we are as a business and as an agency family. We’re not going anywhere and we don’t think experiential marketing is either. When this is over, people are going to want to celebrate together in person and with community, and live experiences will be the way in for brands. 

If I take off my business hat, I can say that what is TRULY most important to me is that you all continue to create, dream, and bring live experiences to your consumers faster and better than ever. Whether your next project is with The Pineapple Agency or another agency, I am challenging you to keep fighting. The world needs us right now. We are not just marketers, we are shaping our world’s narrative. We bring life to brands, and more importantly, we bring life and light to humans. 

Virtual cheers,

Justin Moss
CEO, The Pineapple Agency

5 stats that show experiential is here to stay

Michelin at Daytona Bike Week

Michelin wanted to establish brand equity in the motorcycle market by delivering a consumer-first experience at the biggest motorcycle party in the world—Daytona Bike Week. In a sea of custom bikes, big brands, and loud pipes, it takes a lot to stand out. With the Pineapple Agency and media partner Cage Point, Michelin created a memorable Bike Week experience that generated results and turned heads. 

This collaboration was a unique opportunity for Michelin to bring its 2-wheel, 4-wheel tires, and lifestyle products to new fans in a new way. The massive installation at Daytona was a first for Michelin and arguably a first for Bike Week, with an experience-first booth that offered plenty of giveaways and fan interaction without the sales pressure of so many vendors.

The Living Room Container, along with a 2-wheel & 4-wheel off-road vehicle display

Michelin Star Experience at a Motorcycle Rally

Daytona Bike Week draws half a million motorcycle and sportbike fans from across the globe for ten days of events and festivities. The calendar of events includes races, concerts, sponsored events, and miles’ worth of booths and expos from small custom shops and major brands alike. While plenty of brands have major presences at Daytona, few of them create interactive, welcoming booths for attendees of all ages and interests. Michelin and the Pineapple Agency teamed up to create an immersive experience that was equal parts Michelin Star and Michelin motorcycle tires.

The Oasis container with Large Michelin Branding, a comfy yellow couch, and a 2-wheel vehicle display

Burnouts from the Comfort of Your Living Room

The Michelin installation at Daytona included a living room, a barber shop, an Oasis serving up cold water, snacks, and gelato, and custom leather engraving—all for free. In addition to all the ways to rest and refresh, there were tire and memorabilia displays that celebrated over a century of Michelin heritage and plenty of vehicles with Michelin and BFGoodrich rubber. Whether you’re into cruisers and Corvettes or prefer dirt bikes and Raptors, there were vehicles and terrain for every type of gearhead to gawk at.

The Michelin Man with a C7 Corvette

How We Did It

In order to create a never-before-seen experience at Daytona Bike Week, we had to build a mini village. From the time we began working with Cage Point and Michelin, we had only six weeks to move the needle from concept to execution. We custom fabricated six 20 foot shipping containers including fresh coats of paint, electrical and lighting, custom extensions, flooring, shelving, and more. We scoured the web for vintage Michelin memorabilia and created an immersive history museum alongside the modern tires and merch. In addition to the buildings, we created custom vehicle/tire displays that celebrated cruisers and sports cars on pavement and off-road vehicles traversing rocks and sand. 

Michelin bicycle tires on custom rock display

We also designed and developed a personalized check-in app and interactive rider quiz that entertained visitors and provided high-value email capture for Michelin. Our team worked hand in hand with Cage Point and multiple divisions of Michelin to make sure that all parties were aligned on goals and execution. Daytona Bike Week stands alone, but campaigns and branding reach far beyond the week at the Speedway. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of Michelin, its partners, and the Pineapple Agency, we created an experience that left an impression in Daytona and will deliver value long after the rally is over.

Making Friends in Daytona

Michelin was one of the only vendors that provided an immersive experience built around social currency instead of a product sales booth. For a brand that is known for high quality and motorsports heritage, creating a booth that provided relaxing spaces to rest, free snacks and haircuts, and plenty of goodies for gearheads was the perfect way to surprise people and create lifelong fans. 

The Pineapple Agency worked closely with Daytona International Speedway and their team is excited to work with us on future activations to bring immersive experiences to the Speedway and continue to push the envelope at industry events. By building rapport with attendees and the venue, Michelin and the Pineapple Agency created genuine connections and brand evangelists. In a sea of traditional marketing and sales pitches, the experiential approach sticks out.

Michelin product experts interacting with Bike Week attendees

Results

This activation was about more than custom recipe gelato or amazing haircuts. Experiential marketing delivers intangibles to the audience and the brand, but it also generates measurable results.

Over the course of Daytona Bike week, 2,843 unique users checked in using our custom app, and 1,887 of those unique users filled out a brand Survey — a 66% conversion rate for our client. By focusing on the experience, we created brand awareness and unprecedented conversion rates. Here are a few of our favorite stats:

  • More than 15.3k Instagram impressions with #MichelinBikeWeek 
  • Over 10,000 impressions made in the physical space
  • 15,000 Michelin-flavored gelatos served in biodegradable cups
  • 500+ free haircuts and hot shaves given 
  • 1800+ Email opt-ins
  • 150% above cross-sell goal

 

Bike Week attendees with the Michelin Man

Haircuts Fade but Memories are Forever

We know that even the best haircut eventually grows out, but the memories created between brands and audiences at events like Daytona Bike Week last a lifetime. From introducing new legions of fans to the Michelin brand to capturing contact information for engaged leads, the execution at Daytona will have lasting impacts long after the party is over. Since the event two weeks ago, Michelin has sold several dozen sets of tires tied to leads generated on-site. And thanks to the friends and memories made, those sales are just the beginning. We believe in memorable and meaningful experiences, and we’re grateful Michelin included us in Daytona Bike Week.

The Michelin Man visits the Barber Shop

 

Bud Light Broncos Tailgate x The Pineapple Agency

Bud Light wanted to bring fan engagement to Empower Field at Mile High and the Denver Broncos home games for the 2019 season by throwing an epic tailgate party before all eight home games.

 Tailgates are an iconic part of college and pro football games across the country. The grassroots atmosphere and daylong party make tailgates the perfect place for a beverage activation, while the rules surrounding setup, teardown, and logistics make pulling off the perfect branded tailgate surprisingly tricky. Luckily, Bud Light relied on The Pineapple Agency to execute with style and professionalism.

The Pineapple Agency was excited to collaborate with Bud Light again, embracing the opportunity to work within the unique constraints of a tailgate at Empower Field. Bud Light and Pineapple previously worked together on a photo activation which involved fabricating a wall of hundreds of Bud Light cans with Post Malone’s grinning face on them. The photo opportunity took place fittingly at a Post Malone concert. The brand also hired TPA to concept and produce Michelob UltraShot which earned local and national media coverage and created a rapport between the agency and Anheuser-Busch for pulling off some highly memorable experiential marketing events.

Throwing a Tailgate Party, Pineapple Style

Every stadium across the country has parking lots where fans gather as soon as the gates open for barbecue, beer, and camaraderie. As football stadiums increase prices inside the gates, tailgates in the parking lot remain an essential part of the fan experience during weekends all fall and winter.

Bud Light wanted to throw a fun, fan-centric tailgate and enlisted The Pineapple Agency to turn a business-minded activation into a brand immersive party. The Bud Light Broncos Experience was like the mullet of tailgates—business goals, party atmosphere. Together, we created a tailgate that followed all the rules of the stadium while letting fans enjoy a fun pre-game experience with Bud Light products in their hands. Logistically, we managed permitting, load-in and load-out for each game, coordinated all of the food and beverage operations and added some creative flair to the overall experience.

The Bud Light Broncos Experience

Bud Light wanted to create memorable tailgates at all eight Broncos’ home games, providing fans with camaraderie, free food and beverages, and personalized brand experience. The Bud Light Broncos Experience provided tailgate food, Anheuser Busch-brand beverages served from a Build-A-Bar, a rooftop DJ, an inflatable Bud Light castle, a custom photo booth that put fans on the infield, and special guests like the Bud Light Knight and the Denver Broncos Stampede. 

Each tailgate catered to 500-800 football fans, serving over 1,800 beverages per game. The Bud Light Knight attended four of the eight tailgates and the Broncos’ own Stampede + Broncos Bass spirit and drumlines stopped by several times, providing fans with unique engagement and social media sharing opportunities. The Bud Light Broncos Experience tailgate was featured on the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football broadcast when Denver hosted the Kansas City Chiefs as the most raucous pre-game party before a noteworthy AFC West rivalry matchup!

Highlights

  • Over 6,400 fans attended the tailgate during the 2019 Broncos’ season 
  • Over 14,400 Anheuser Busch-brand beverages were served at the eight tailgates!
  • Gave away three pairs of tickets per game, giving 48 fans a premium game watching experience plus pre-game field access 
  • 558 lbs of hamburger and 1580 individual hot dogs served
  • 100+ photos shared from a custom-fabricated photo booth 
  • Gave away swag (koozies, sweatshirts, rally towels, T-shirts) 
  • Thousands of social media impressions 
  • Chase McNary from the Bachelorette and other influencers attended the tailgates.
  • The tailgate activation was featured in the Budweiser Bugle, a weekly newsletter that goes out to NFL and Budweiser marketing teams, as an activation to be emulated.

Throwing the Perfect Tailgate Together

Through a series of high-energy tailgates, Bud Light and The Pineapple Agency reached 6,400 fans during the 2019 Denver Broncos’ season. The goal was to throw the ultimate tailgate party with plenty of Bud Light swag and immerse each fan in the Bud Light Broncos team spirit. Popping the tab on over 14,000 Annheuser Busch-brand beverages helped keep the atmosphere light, while the special guests, photo moments, parking lot games, and casual feel made the Bud Light Broncos Experience the ideal pre-game scenario. The Pineapple Agency enjoyed having the opportunity to do what we do best: a mix of creative, strategy, production and logistics, and a whole lot of fun with our client.

The Pineapple Agency Expands Denver Headquarters

Experiential marketing and creative events agency actively hiring several new marketers to lead brand activations and campaigns

Creating memorable, immersive experiences that capture today’s consumers attention is what we do — it’s what we live for. Since The Pineapple Agency was founded in 2014, we have pushed the creative boundaries on what is possible, from drone deliveries launched from yachts to an 8’ tall gumball machine that dispenses tennis balls. We have worked countless hours to create multi-dimensional communications and experiences around brands, bringing huge results to the table—greater awareness, brand buzz, enhanced perception, and, ultimately, increased sales. And we’re just getting started…

Today, we’re excited to announce The Pineapple Agency is growing. Earlier this year, we moved our headquarters into a 5,000 square foot facility located at 1195 South Lipan St. in Denver. We are now expanding into another office at this location, increasing our Denver footprint to 8,000 square feet in total!

We are also actively looking for fresh talent to add to our creative team. In 2019 alone, we’ve increased our headcount by 50 percent and grown our revenue by 50 percent this year. We were also named one of Colorado Inno’s 50 on Fire, highlighting those companies who are crushing it across the Colorado tech and startup ecosystem. The crazy growth we’ve experienced with clients like Rivian Automotive, Anheuser-Busch, P&G, Converse, Insomniac and Live Nation means we’ve actively looking for idea generators and natural problem solvers to join us. If you’re a creative and share our drive to deliver top-notch results for our clients, drop us a line with your resume at jobs@thepineappleagency.com

Founder and CEO Justin Moss said, “I am so excited to grow the agency and bring on new team members, who will take us into 2020 and beyond. Pineapple is dedicated to helping brands reach consumers, but it’s not always about a huge event. It’s about what the brand wants customers to feel, what they want them to learn, the message they walk away with. That engagement is what keeps brands relevant in a competitive and crowded world. We have exciting projects in the works with clients like Laura’s Lean Beef, Anheuser-Busch + Denver Broncos, Insomniac, and many more. We are constantly iterating and evolving to stay ahead of the marketing trends — to keep things unforgettable, different and meaningful.” 

Wanting to learn more about what The Pineapple Agency is up to?

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