No matter what type of music you like, there is something special about gathering and enjoying it with other people – sometimes thousands of them. Festivals bond people together like no other. Whether you’re running from one set to another, testing out the delicious food vendors, or trying to find Jessica who you lost in the beer garden, there’s nothing like music festival atmosphere. Take this quiz to find out where to find your people:
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.
Justin Moss CEO, The Pineapple Agency
Why Reebok’s “Are You Fast Enough” Worked
This recent experiential brand activation in Stockholm, Sweden, unsuspectingly confronted pedestrians with a challenge from Reebok. In order to promote their new shoe, the Reebok ZPump 2.0, the company set up a display case full of shoes that also had a speed camera. The challenge to the consumer was simple: run faster than 17kilometers per hour (approximately 10.5 miles per hour) and you win a free pair of the shoes from the display case.
While not the first challenge of its kind, Reebok’s “Are You Fast Enough” was able to engage consumers and showcase its brand in a way that was in line with the company’s tagline “Be more human.” The fun, competitive atmosphere created something that was “disruptive and unique,” according to Markus Schramm of ad agency Animal, which created the project. The results were staggering with 172,992 Youtube views in the first 48 hours.
Why it worked:
– Reebok’s “Are You Fast Enough” tapped into one of the fundamental human natures: competition. By creating a challenge rooted in their branding goals, the company was able to effectively reach and engage customers in this experience. It also gained the attention of many advertising and marketing publications from around the globe, so not only did it engage and excite consumers, it has a lasting impact long after the marketing campaign was implemented.
– This project is a great example of how a company can take their brand and bring it to life via an experience. While the goal of any such activation is to increase awareness of the product, Reebok managed to not only create excitement centered around the product but also immerse the participants in the brand itself. By making running look fun, Reebok created an advertisement that inspired consumers to run and push their limits.
As we embark on the fourth quarter of 2015, we would like to look back at our favorite unique, extravagant, and immersive experiential activations of the year. We’ve seen giant companies like Bud Light and McDonald’s continue to flex their experiential muscle, as usual, but we’ve also seen a lot of other up and coming companies utilizing experiential to gain market share and create a buzz. We’ve followed along with the experiential trends anywhere from promotional mobile tours, to pop-up shops, to full-blown music festivals, and compiled a list of our four favorite activations, in no particular order:
Panda Express – Food Truck Tour
For decades Panda Express’ most popular dish has been the infamous orange chicken. Even despite the popularity of the delicious chicken, Panda Express decided to gain even more momentum for its brand and thus the #OrangeChickenLove Food Truck Tour was born. From early August till the end of the September the orange chicken food truck embarked on a cross-country 8-city tour handing out free orange chicken and rice samples to all visitors along the eight stops. Along with free food samples, orange chicken loving brand ambassadors snapped pictures of guests, shared posts on social media, and guided guests to play several interactive games to win more prizes.
Gotham/Fox – Gotham Zip Line
Fox Entertainment wanted to go out with a BANG to advertise for “Gotham,” the new Batman-inspired crime TV series that was released in early 2015. To create hype for the release of the new show, Fox went out to San Diego’s 45th Comic-Con to give a real-life superhero experience to all Comic-Con guests. Through a realistic Gotham City skyline, fans were able to zip-line above buildings, acting as if they were soaring through the sky, on their way to fight crime. The zip-line experience created an immediate adrenaline rush, and those willing to soar through the skies received a memorable photo and a free Gotham t-shirt. To further promote the show over the Comic-Con festival, Fox partnered up with Uber for an advertising promotion that would gain considerable exposure throughout San Diego. Comic-Con goers, who also had Uber, could open up the Uber app and select Gotham PD under the slider to reserve the ride. When the Uber drivers pulled up, fans were immediately surprised as they would be getting free Uber rides in custom, antique style Gotham Police cars. Overall, the activation was an astounding success, resulting in over 6,000 fans soaring through the sky on the zip-line experience and thousands of additional impressions through the Gotham-Uber experience.
Nike – Pop-up Shoebox
Back in February Nike released its new smartphone app, SNKRS, that allowed consumers to design and customize their own Nike shoes and then purchase and pickup their creation at their local Nike store. To generate buzz for the SNKRS app Nike needed to create a unique and Nike-style activation that would blow consumers’ minds. Within the first few weeks of the app launch, giant Nike shoeboxes started popping up in Los Angeles and New York City. The giant pop-up shoebox store was a completely customer retail store featuring LED exterior walls that mimicked the iconic Nike shoebox design. Inside the store was a very modern retail environment with iPads, TVs, and store fixtures showcasing Nike’s newest shoe releases. Nike employees in the store helped guests use the SNKRS app and showed customers how they could design their sneakers and then share their creation via social media. For true shoe enthusiasts that wanted to purchase shoes, they could design custom sneakers (Air Force 1, Air Max, Foamposite, or Air Jordan’s) and then have the shoes delivered to them in-store through a custom sneaker vending machine. The giant shoebox pop-up store was only in New York City for a week, but it generated thousands of impressions, both for the store and the new app, as well as hundreds of on-site sales.
Upslope Beer – Oktoberfest Lager Release
Colorado craft beer brand, Upslope, was releasing their newest Oktoberfest Lager and they needed a unique way to showcase the beer, the brand, and the numerous connections to Colorado. To position the brand as an after-adventure cold beer reward, they crafted the Backcountry Tap Room, consisting of a hiking, food, beer, and music experience in Winter Park, Colorado. Beer enthusiasts took a 2.3 mile hike through Winter Park to get to the end of the High Lonesome Trail, where a rustic environment was created with a custom bar, tree stump seating, outdoor games, and free beer. Hundreds of Upslope beer fans joined in on the experience to try the new Oktoberfest Lager and those who posted pictures of themselves on social media using the #ApresEverything tag at the event were entered into a contest to win free beer for the year.
Activating Your Brand with Sports and Experiential
In recent years, brands have started placing higher importance on creating activations that center around sporting events throughout the world. Brands such as Bud Light and Microsoft have utilized sponsorships and experiential activations to tap into a specifically targeted market of consumers who are extremely loyal to certain sports leagues, teams, and players, ultimately resulting in the perfect opportunity to connect a brand with a sporting event that the audience is already passionate about. Bud Light’s Up For Whatever, which is heavily marketed during the NFL season, and Microsoft’s extreme sports Dew Tour capitalize on creating memorable connections between their brand and the consumers at these events, ultimately resulting in brand loyalty and repeat purchasing. These and many other brands are starting to see why experiential marketing is the perfect gateway for a company to seamlessly introduce their brand into the sporting event, which can enhance the consumer experience and create meaningful brand associations, if done correctly.
Heineken, one of the world’s largest beverage companies, has started mapping out its experiential strategy for the remainder of 2015, implementing a specific engagement strategy targeted around the 2015 Rugby World Cup taking place at Twickenham in England. Throughout the Rugby World Cup (RWC), Heineken will activate over 5,000 Heineken RWC Clubhouses throughout Australia, which serve as unique watch parties where rugby fans can watch the matches, participate in Heineken promotions, and ultimately earn a chance to win tickets to the Rugby World Cup Final in England.
Heineken will enhance the on-site experience through offering their own original digital content from the Heineken Rugby Studio, featuring interviews and commentary from the Heineken rugby legends Jonah Lomu and Rocky Elsom, along with other rugby legends from Australia, England, Ireland, and South Africa. Heineken wants to expand its reach past the 5,000 on-site activations, so they will also be introducing a limited edition 1st XV can pack, featuring the the iconic Heineken branding mixed with the beauty of the prestigious Rugby World Cup William Webb Ellis cup, which fans will be able to purchase from select bars and liquor stores. Accompanying the limited edition can is an enhanced website dedicated solely to the Rugby World Cup, offering fans an opportunity to connect with each other via social media, watch the engaging content from the Heineken Rugby Studio, and locate bars or ‘Heineken Fanzones’ where fans can watch the match and enjoy a Heineken.
The magic behind Heineken’s activation is that they are not only sponsoring thousands of events and enhancing the fan experience, they are doing it in a way that is authentic and real. By creating their own original content, Heineken is able to create associations between the beer brand and the Rugby World Cup with the hope of enticing fans to try out the beer and make their rugby watching experience more exciting than ever before. Heineken is using experiential marketing in a unique and genuine way that encompasses in-person, digital, and social experiences, allowing the company to reach hundreds of thousands of rugby fans throughout Australia and the rest of the world.
You’ve probably never heard of RTX (think the video-game and internet culture enthusiast’s version of Comic-Con), yet Pizza Hut recently became it’s very first topline sponsor. The Yum Brands subsidiary rebranded the entire event as “RTX Delivered by Pizza Hut”, placed some very prominent signage all around the festival in Austin TX, and as the main attraction, set up a massive retro arcade gaming tournament, which included classic arcade games like Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat, and Pac Man. Oh, and they also made sure to hand out tons of free samples of their Cheesy Bites Pizza to attendees, ultimately giving out over 8,000 slices. What made Pizza Hut decide to go all out for RTX, a relatively unheard of and niche event for internet addicts? There are a few reasons that this was a stellar move for the Hut.
As we often mention on this blog, major brands are beginning to realize the importance of connecting through experiential marketing, and doing so with specific sectors of their target audience, so that they can tailor the experience to suit the interests of those groups. Pizza Hut knows that internet junkies consume a lot of their product, and it pays handsomely for the brand to be the first pizza place on their minds when they’re about to dial for the delivery that will fuel their LAN party or late-night World of Warcraft binge.
First Mover Advantage
These types of conferences have been blowing up – TED, SXSW, and Comic-Con have all gained massive media attention, and often attract numerous celebrities. YouTube and social media celebrities that boast continually growing subscriber-bases make a habit of sharing their experiences at these sorts of events, leading to viral growth in attendees. VidCon, for example, may be the next SXSW, and reaches a much younger audience of frequent YouTubers. Pizza Hut is taking an educated gamble on RTX, because they’ve seen it’s massive growth over the last 5 years, and they know their customers are in attendance.
By creating a massive retro-gaming tournament, Pizza Hut was not only speaking their customer’s language, they were creating an extremely appealing and novel experience that they’ll remember for years to come. By roping in some relevant celebrities within the community, and setting up the whole thing to be shared and live-streamed on YouTube and other social media, they were able to reach an even larger audience than just those who were in physical attendance. And when your target audience is comprised of people who spend most of their time on the internet, that’s extremely important.
If you’ve never heard the term “pop-up dinner”, then you’re in for a tasty treat. Pop-up dinners were started in the UK over 10 years ago and received considerable media attention for the magnificently elaborate dinners that were set up in random locations all over the map. The pop-up dinners have a few basic requirements: everyone brings their own food, beverages, picnic table with chairs, and they must wear white. Through social media, the group of people putting on the event will disclose the date and time of the event, but the location of the event is kept a secret until the day of the dinner. The entire format is extremely exclusive, adding to the overall experience for any guest lucky enough to get the location details.
This Summer, Acura has joined in on the pop-up dinner trend and has used the opportunity to subtly advertise Acura vehicles in specifically targeted locations throughout the United States. Acura announced the city of the event along with the time, date, and attire information on social media before the event. When the day finally came, and attendees arrived at the secret location at the specified date and time, they were greeted with beautiful decor and a breathtaking setting. Acura had subtle hints of advertising throughout the event including Acura-branded name cards at each table, a custom Acura TLX photo booth, and three brand new Acura model vehicles (in white, of course).
Acura used this exclusive pop-up dinner event as a unique way to create meaningful connections between their brand and audience. The company was also able to take advantage of an opportunity to work with luxury and lifestyle media, as opposed to the traditional automobile media the company usually interacts with at auto shows across the world. Since launching the pop-up dinners in June, Acura has seen great audience engagement and feedback. Future events have been announced in Los Angeles and Dallas, and have already earned thousands of signups on social media to get the invite and the details about the event location.
Why Acura’s Pop-Up Dinner Worked – The Pineapple View:
Acura was able to interact with an engaged audience through a unique dining experience that was enhanced by the Acura brand.
Acura’s first two pop-up dinners have resulted in thousands of social media posts and engagement from 40% of the attendees.
By having total ownership of the event, Acura was able to create an elegant, immersive experience that was authentic and subtle, allowing people to engage with the brand in a non-threatening and low-pressure setting.
With these pop-up dinners, Acura has been able to take a unique approach to marketing, creating memorable experiences in a localized and low-key way. Acura has also been able to introduce itself as a luxury automaker that wants to enhance your everyday driving experience. We are excited to see how Acura builds additional momentum from their pop-up dinner experiences and hope to see one pop-up in Denver soon!
To check out more about the Acura Pop-Up Dinner experience click here.
Why Mountain Dew’s Virtual Reality Skate Experience Worked
Do you ever wish you could get on your skateboard, cruise down the Las Vegas strip, and do kick flips with Paul Rodriguez and some of the best skateboarders in the world? Well now you can…all from the convenience and comfort of your couch!
Mountain Dew, who has spent the past decade sponsoring extreme sports athletes and competitions all over the world, has invested in creating a whole new immersive experience for its fans. Through the use of virtual reality, Mountain Dew is putting fans in the middle of the experience, allowing them to ride the Las Vegas Strip down to Fremont Street with Paul Rodriguez and other skateboarders on the Mountain Dew team. The Mountain Dew team spent days skating around Las Vegas capturing hours of thrilling content that was all converted into a virtual reality video that users can download for their smartphone or view in-person at the Mtn Dew VR stations at each stop on the Dew Tour throughout the country.
Mountain Dew set up the first VR station at a Dew Tour stop in Brooklyn and it caught the attention of thousands of spectators. Fans lined up for hours to try on the VR headset to experience VR Skate in Las Vegas, and the fan reaction was outstanding, with thousands of fans sharing their experience on social media channels using the hashtag, DOTHEDEW. More technologically savvy fans who have their own Samsung VR headset could download the content on the Samsung Milk VR marketplace and view the content on their own devices for a more personalized experience.
Why Mountain Dew’s Virtual Reality Skate Experience Worked – The Pineapple View:
Mountain Dew merged technology and their sports sponsorship of extreme athletes to create engaging content that put fans in the middle of the experience, allowing them to virtually participate in extreme sports regardless of their athletic ability.
By leveraging its existing sponsorships, Mountain Dew was able to create thrilling content based on the sports its fans enjoy. In the future, the company can capture content from other sports encouraging more fans to join in on the virtual experience.
Utilizing #DOTHEDEW allowed Mountain Dew to track interactions on social media and will let the fans decide on what the next sport the VR experience should be based on.
We believe Mountain Dew did an excellent job of staying on top of industry trends by utilizing virtual reality technology to enhance the fan experience. VR allowed the fan to live in the shoes of professional skateboarders and see what it’s like to grind down rail and go off ramps. This strategy allows Mountain Dew to explore different sport experiences and we are eagerly awaiting to see what sport we can virtually participate in next!
If you have an internet connection and are reading this blog, chances are you’ve probably heard about this tweet from Oreo that was posted during the 34-minute blackout at the Super Bowl a couple years back. The post was retweeted over 10,000 times in one hour, and ended up earning a much larger payoff than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl TV ad, which cost them millions of dollars. Design work, copy, approval, and posting of this tweet all took place in a matter of minutes.
Social media is all about social commentary, and it rewards brands that are fast, witty, and up-to-speed on current events. Since experiential marketing benefits so much from social media, it’s obvious why many experiential campaigns are built to go viral on social media. Adding some clever social commentary to your experiential marketing (or building your entire campaign around it) is one of the best ways to do so, and can create some amazing results on social media and beyond, supercharging your campaign’s impressions.
A perfect example of using current events in an experiential marketing campaign is actually taking place – you guessed it – right now. Piggy-backing on Apple’s expected announcement of the iPhone 6S at it’s highly anticipated September press event tomorrow, digital agency “6S Marketing” has done something unique, clever, and frankly… silly. They’ve been publicly asking Apple to call the new phone the “iPhone 7” instead. The agency bought billboard space in times square, made a hashtag and website, and even parked a truck out in front of the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan protesting the change.
At first glance, this seems like a lost cause. Why on earth would one of the largest companies in the world even consider changing the name of their product just to appease a marketing agency? But that’s the beauty – they won’t. Instead, while everyone is searching for “iPhone 6S”, and all eyes are on Apple, 6S Marketing is soaking up just a little of the (albeit very large) limelight. With how well they’ve capitalized on the hype from the rumor mill building up to the announcement of the newest iPhone, we’re looking forward to seeing what they do in the aftermath when Apple predictably calls it the “6S”.