We all like to think that coming up with a hot marketing concept is as easy as sitting down with some trusted colleagues and letting the genius flow. And sometimes – sometimes – that happens. But everyone has experienced brainstorming sessions where the fireworks just aren't firing. Even if you're known for waking up in the middle of the night and screaming "Eureka" with a sweet campaign fully formed and ready to roll out, at some point in your career you end up staring at the screen with your mind completely blank. When that happens, what you need to get your juices flowing is something to shake up your thinking.
Looking at some of the amazing work currently being done in experiential marketing can jumpstart your creativity. Exploring the following experiential marketing examples, and putting some serious thought into what they're aiming for and how they're accomplishing it, can set you up to break through that block and get you on the road to crafting your own brilliant slogans, ads and experiences.
JetBlue: A Better Wingman
There's not much that's far out enough to surprise the pedestrians of Manhattan as they rush from the office to their lunch spots and back. But JetBlue managed to do just that, with an experiential campaign that threw a low-tech curveball to NYC denizens who were no doubt plenty accustomed to seeing new high-tech innovations popping up on every corner.
The campaign consisted of what appeared to be an interactive touchscreen depicting an automated on-screen assistant offering pre-recorded information each time someone passing by stopped and tapped a button. Videos of the stunt show the people interacting with the screen getting more than they bargain for when the on-screen assistant, presumably an AI, begins to opine about their clothing, respond to what they're saying, and even start making some quite interesting requests of them. The visitors are at first a little spooked. You can see it in their eyes as they ask themselves, has artificial intelligence really gotten that good? Still, they play along.
Then the on-screen assistant tells each person interacting with it that they've won free travel vouchers. She walks off screen and emerges from a door to deliver the tickets, revealing she was, in fact, a real human being.
The campaign is cutting-edge, but not in the way it initially seems. What looks like it's going to demonstrate the futuristic bells and whistles of a touchscreen kiosk ends up being a meditation on our very human relationships. It's perfectly on-brand for a company that asks us to "Air on the Side of Humanity," and offers plenty to consider about both how to play with an audience's expectations, and using technology to creatively to appeal to their desire for authentic human connection.
Doc Mcstuffins: The Exhibit
Even pre-schoolers (or maybe just their parents) are expecting more out of their interactions with brands these days, and the Doc McStuffins Exhibit is one experiential campaign that's definitely meeting that expectation. Based on the popular educational cartoon about a six-year-old physician with stuffed animal patients, the touring museum exhibit allows visiting children to do "checkups" on toys, perform "surgery" on broken ones, groom toy animals and take on other tasks that immerse children in Doc McStuffins' world.
More than just an experiential marketing campaign, the exhibit is true to the show's educational mission. From a marketing perspective, there's a lot to think about in terms of brand consistency, creative event planning, and engaging an audience with something that's fun, educational, and functional.
Hershey's: Smile Sampler
Sometimes an experiential campaign can woo customers right there in the aisle, as in the case of Hershey's Smile Sampler. In response to research indicating that customers enjoyed sampling, the company rolled out a prototype that, leveraging cutting-edge facial recognition technology, will dispense a candy sample when it identifies a smile on the face of a shopper.
Another campaign that merges cutting-edge tech with old-fashioned humanity, this concept offers food – or candy – for thought about turning a display into an event, and how novelty can guide customers down the path to purchase.
Casey Dubbs / Casey Dubbs, Marketing Manager for Horizon Display. Casey is a classic over-achiever who likes to get the job done right and can’t stand when things are left unfinished or with unmet potential. She is passionate about implementing others’ vision into reality. When she is not obsessing over marketing, she can be found on Pinterest trying to find recipes everyone in her family will eat. www