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The magical impact of experiential marketing

The world isn’t what it used to be; 20 years ago a person could expect to see around 1,500 marketing messages a day, and now, that number has risen to 5,000 a day.

The effect of this is: people just don’t care. They deflect marketing messages with expert disinterest; eyes flicker over billboards and scroll dully past sponsored ads THOUSANDS of times a day. The result? A form of institutionalised numbness to the SELL, SELL, SELL society that surrounds every active member of the modern world. 

But there is an answer, a way to cut through the noise and the bullsh*t, and speak directly to our fellow humans. A way to let them know that our product is what they want, what they need, what they’ve been missing. The answer? Experiential marketing. 

Just as experiential learning has been shown to increase the ability of individuals to retain information far more than if the information was read or heard, delivering a message in this way also has the power to interrupt the planned flow of a person’s day. To grab them away from whatever had occupied them before and coerce them into actively engaging with an experience related to your product, thereby creating memories and positive associations with your product that simply aren’t possible in a static advertisement or run of the mill digital communication. 

Experiential marketing therefore allows brands to stand out in a saturated market, and connect with their consumers on a deeper and more memorable level. 

The best experiential marketing campaigns leave a mark and are hard to forget. They make you feel an affinity with the brand, a friendship of sorts, as you create memories that are forever linked to them and their products. Some of my favourite brands for delivering outstanding experiential campaigns are: 

Paddy Power 

Renowned as THE messer of messers, Paddy Power is a brand that doesn’t hold back when it comes to poking fun at anything from the most sacred of institutions, to fast-held discriminations. Cheeky, but I like it. 

One campaign that particularly shone is from 2018, where they donated money to the Attitude Magazine Foundation in support of LGBT+ causes every time Russia knocked the ball into the back of the net – much to their chagrin.

At 10,000 smackers a goal, every win for Russia was a lose for the insidious homophobic culture that was gripping the country at that time. Beautifully thought out, and oh-so naughty, this campaign captures exactly what makes Paddy Power such a distinctive brand. 

Charlotte Tilbury 

On the complete other end of the spectrum is Charlotte Tilbury. More luxurious and aspirational in positioning than Paddy Power, this glamorous brand has harnessed the power of technology to create magical experiences to gain prestige and customers in the exclusive high-end beauty space. 

One particularly striking event from Charlotte Tilbury was the opening of a ‘beauty boudoir’ in Tilbury’s London Westfield store in 2016. The beauty boudoir was created as a part of the launch of the Scent of a Dream fragrance and involved using virtual reality to transport views into outer space, with supermodel Kate Moss acting as a sort of ‘space sherpa’, guiding viewers through the Scent of a Dream universe, all while experiencing the fragrance.

The use of scent to accompany the VR experience was a shrewd move that took into consideration the power of scent in forming brand associations and creating memories. A great example of the effect that scent has can be seen with fast food brands such as McDonalds; no matter where you are in the world, you can always identify a McDonald’s by the smell of freshly fried fries. 

A delightful idea – and an experience that is sure to leave an undeniable impression! Charlotte Tilbury has continued to use immersive experiences to market their products, and as one of the most talked-about luxury makeup retailers, we can’t deny that it must be working! 

Greggs

Ah, Greggs. Easily mistaken for the simple, sausage roll crumb covered child of the highstreet, Greggs is, in fact, the sneaky, rogue 007 of the marketing world that we’ve all been waiting for. 

Most famously known for their recent toe-dip into the world of veganism, they’ve also been hard at work churning out incredible marketing experiences and dazzling die-hard Greggarians with their penchant for witty, media-grabbing stunts. 

One of their recent experiential campaigns made use of “hot right now” celebrity Lewis Capaldi. The pastry-peddling giant took Capaldi on for a day in their Marton branch to gain “work experience, much to the delight of his fans who were shocked to see the singer selling rolls rather than belting out ‘someone you loved’ to the masses… A man of the people. 

Connecting themselves to Capaldi was a genius move on their part. Seen as a relatable and loveable character, more shocked by his rise to fame than egotistical, Greggs aligned themselves with someone that could be considered to be almost a personification of the brand. Funny, famous, but most importantly, not afraid to get stuck in with the regular “folk”. 

 

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When Greggs became #Capaldis

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In summary

Experiential marketing is in a class of its own when it comes to creating memorable experiences, as well as creating a tangible “feel” and personality for your brand that consumers can interact with.

As the above brands have shown, and many more besides, there is no better way of setting your brand apart and creating buzz than planning a truly impactful experiential campaign that is relevant to the times and considers the wants and needs of your customer. 

 

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