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OUR FAVOURITE EXPERIENTIAL AND BRAND ACTIVATIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

“People forget what you did but they’ll remember how you made them feel.” Our experiences stick with us. It’s what makes experiential marketing so effective, because long after we’ve interacted with the brand, we still recall the experience we had and how it made us feel. The same is true of good experiential campaigns. They stick with us long after they’ve finished. But what exactly makes a good experiential campaign? In order to find out we asked some of our team to pick their favourite brand activations or experiential campaign and tell us why.

1. GRAVE OF THRONES

What it was: In order to mark the launch of the highly anticipated final season of the global smash hit, Game of Thrones, Australian broadcaster Foxtel built a 2000 square metre graveyard aimed at paying tribute to the bloodshed of the last seven seasons. The ‘Grave of Thrones’ was located inside Centennial Park in Sydney and featured more than 30 bespoke gravestones that had been crafted to reflect the lives (and deaths) of the characters.

Why it worked: Anything Game of Thrones related is going to get attention. But what really works about the Grave of Thrones is it manages to capture the essence of the show in a completely new way. Fans can finally mourn characters that died along the way (and there’s a lot) and that’s what makes it so effective. It’s not just the experience of seeing graves for these characters like they were real people, Foxtel made a, usually very dark and morbid space, one that people wanted to visit!

Watch the video here.

2. PALESSI

What it was: US based discount shoe retailer, Payless, wanted to update their brand image and showcase the surprising quality of their product. Therefore, they created Palessi. The faux luxury shoe brand celebrated their launch with a pop-up store and invited all the trendy fashion influencers to a private event in LA. Influencers were then filmed offering hundreds of dollars for shoes that in reality were only worth between $20 to $40 at their local Payless store.

Why it worked: The Palessi pop-up store shows just how powerful good branding can be. The products weren’t altered in any way, only people’s perceptions of them. Plus the whole thing pokes fun at influencer marketing and how experience culture has weaponised FOMO with exclusive launch events.

Watch the video here.

3. PROJECT 84

What it was: A truly striking activation by the charity CALM which saw 84 mannequins placed on the ledges of London’s ITV Southbank buildings to raise awareness of male suicide, highlighting the fact that every week roughly 84 men commit suicide. Each of the mannequins represented a specific individual who took their own life and their stories were available on the project’s website.

Why it worked:Project 84 had such a powerful message behind it and it wasn’t afraid to be bold in order to get that message across. The activation was designed to invoke strong emotions and ensure that everyone who saw it would never forget it.

Watch the video here.

4. THE HUMAN CLAW MACHINE

What it was: Lays, known as Walkers in the UK, wanted to prove that they were the nation’s favourite crisp brand in Taiwan. Enter the human claw machine. Built to prove that people love Lays so much they’d be willing to embarrass themselves in front of a crowd, people were strapped into a harness and dropped into a giant pit of Lays crisps tasked with grabbing as many as they could before being hoisted back up. The experiential activation was so successful it has continued to gain international press coverage years after it took place.

Why it worked:Experiential marketing is all about leaving consumers with an experience to remember you by. It’s a human claw machine, who’s going to forget that!?

Watch the video here.

5. PAY WITH A CUPCAKE

What it was: Shoe brand Zappos ambushed another company’s experiential campaign with one of their own. When Google took to the streets to promote their new photo app by allowing people to pay for a cupcake with a photo, Zappos placed their own booth right next to Google’s and launched ‘pay with a cupcake.’ When their booth was fed a cupcake it would dispense a box filled with goods such as a free pair of shoes, a bag or a watch. Because Zappos operates in a completely different line of business they weren’t sabotaging Google. Instead, both companies came away with increased brand exposure. The experiential campaign was so well received it went on to win a bronze award at the Cannes Lions awards for creativity.

Why it worked: It was simply genius, the perfect example of reactive marketing. Zappos didn’t bother with expensive kit or spend months planning they simply reacted and stuck a guy in a box and the results speak for themselves.

Watch the video here.

6. NAP-ERCISE

What it was: UK fitness brand David Lloyd created an exercise class with a difference to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle in all aspects, namely sleep. The ‘nap-ercise’ classes ran in multiple locations across the UK and saw guests take part in 45 minute ‘napping’ group classes which included beds, atmospheric sounds and eye-masks. David Lloyd say the classes were in response to a study that found 35% of women, and 26% of men feel as though they suffer from fatigue, and nearly 25% of men admitted to falling asleep at work from lack of sleep.

Why it worked: The exercise class we’ve all dreamed of! Nap-ercise is so ridiculously absurd it sounds like an April fool’s joke but in reality it’s brilliant. At first glance the gym and napping seem to be complete opposites but the message that being healthy is about more than exercise is actually a pretty clever way to get people to interact with the gym’s brand and to draw in people that wouldn’t consider themselves the stereotypical gym-goer.

Watch the video here.

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