Snow fell from the sky on a warm autumn day as commuters looked up to see a Jeep Wrangler sway…
Wait a minute. Did you read that right?
You read it right the first time. There was snow in Times Square this past October. Commuters who recognized the quick change in weather were then surprised when they looked up.
On the side of a skyscraper between 52nd St. and Broadway hung a 2,000 pound Jeep Wrangler. Video game fanatics were even more surprised (and excited) when they realized the showcasing of the Jeep came right out of the video game “Rise of the Tomb Raider.”
Activations and Experiential Marketing
The unexpectedness of the giant billboard helped grab the attention of commuters while creating word-of-mouth awareness of the video game’s new release date (at the time) of October 11, 2016. Liquid Advertising, the mastermind advertising agency behind this campaign, had set the bar high for similar campaigns, also known as brand activations.
Brand activations are ways for consumers to experience and connect with a product or service and are often done in ways that leave a strong impression with the consumer. Activations and campaigns similar to the Jeep billboard are part of a larger brand strategy known as experiential marketing.
Simply put, experiential marketing directly engages consumers to connect with the brand while leaving a lasting impression.
How can you engage consumers? Let’s look at one more example to drive home the value and impact of experiential marketing.
Buy a Coke, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.
And boy was Coca-Cola right.
The behind-the-scenes geniuses at Coca-Cola found a way to incorporate their world-famous bottles and brand into the everyday lives of their consumers. The company realized the generational tendency to share everything online and through social media platforms.
With this behavioral observation, Coca-Cola created selfie bottles.
By making minor changes to the design of their existing bottle cap, a Coca-Cola bottle now has the ability to hold your phone and be used to take selfies. The selfie stick functionality of the product makes it easy for consumers to take pictures while incorporating the Coca-Cola logo on the bottle into every shot.
Unifying Usability and Disruption
Coca-Cola designed their activation with usability in mind. When incorporating the brand activation into the existing product, it was important for Coca-Cola to keep it easy to use while staying true to the brand’s persona.
As we saw with the selfie bottle, the selfie aspect was straightforward and simple to incorporate into the consumer’s daily behavior.
Additionally, disruption is key to a lasting impression. When looking to grab attention, the Jeep billboard campaign succeeded in disrupting viewers by taking advantage of common human behavior to look up at snow.
The activation grabbed commuter attention with the falling snow, making them look up (a natural reaction to seeing snow late in autumn) to see an unexpected vehicle hanging from a city skyscraper.
Once the Jeep captured their attention, viewers were exposed to the signage displaying the announcement of the video game along with its release date.
Help Consumers Experience Your Brand
Experiential marketing comes in all styles. You’re not limited to changing the design of your existing product or hanging obscure objects from buildings. Some ways your company can incorporate experiential marketing include:
- Hosting live events
- Arranging a product or service demonstration
- Designing a trade show exhibit (that goes beyond the standard table and chairs)
- Setting up a pop-up shop
The most rewarding aspect of experiential marketing is the liberty to be different and be noticed. With team collaboration and the recognition of new opportunities, your company can raise awareness and drive sales… above and beyond the height of a skyscraper.