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Experiential marketing: engaging and exciting

SEO manager Joe Slack explains how the advertising industry's ways of promoting brands to consumers have changed

Joe Sack Direct Traffic Media Limited

Now that the rule book on advertising alcohol on TV looks more like an Almanac, brands and advertising companies are finding ingenious ways to pitch their wares to consumers by bending these stringent laws that stifle creativity. Rather than beam an advert into a living room full of people silently watching TV (or more likely popped out to put the kettle on!) we now have a rapidly evolving form of advertising in town, one that is engaging and exciting and promises to leave you with an experience you will remember for a while. Welcome to experiential marketing!
Drinks companies such as Budweiser, Peroni and Heineken are going to great lengths to capture the hearts and minds of consumers the world over. They are using an approach that engages all of the five senses, tapping into core human values of participation and engagement while embracing modern technology, such as social sharing. Budweiser recently spent a significant amount of money transforming the town of Crested Butte into a Budweiser branded ski centric wonderland with funny ornaments and perfect photo opportunities for group photos to be shared all over social media. If you contrast this scene with a current television advert where brands are restricted from showing human consumption of alcohol on screen you can see why this new form of mass marketing has gained traction in the last couple of years with huge potential for growth.
House of Peroni is the latest offering from the Italian beer giant who have found a new way to blend beer and their brand ethos and spread it across various venues around London. People that went along to the event remarked at the meticulous attention to detail and the effort that the organisers went to, to highlight other aspects of design and food not just beer.

Social media is important to the success of experiential marketing but what is being shared at Crested Butte is not the product, there is no vice president of Budweiser gathering the crowd to listen to his sales pitch, the sales pitch is the experience itself and the marketing material is the drunken group photo shared on Facebook and liked & shared numerous times by the hung-over cohort and their connections. Companies are counting on the visitor to remember these pleasurable impulses he felt at Crested Butte when he walks past the beers cooling in the fridge in the local Tesco express or when he scrolls back through his newsfeed or timeline.

The Fuller brewing company have found a way to connect with pub goers who are active on Vine and Twitter. Posting a Vine or a photo of your empty pint glass to twitter entitles you to a free pint courtesy of the brewer. It might seem like a very confusing and time consuming way of scrounging a pint but this is the way that big business have chosen to promote themselves to a public that has embraced smartphones and 4G.

In London, Heineken, with help from RPM, is engaging people by encouraging them to events at London landmarks where excellent light shows and live music create an atmosphere where friends can enjoy a good time and share it on social media while they are there allowing their friends to keep up to date and subliminally promoting Heineken.

Smirnoff have been early adopters of EM and are always keen to connect with consumers. Tomorrowland is a globetrotting ticketed event that bills itself as a house party that is accessible to all, promising revellers a “party inside a party” that is free of guestlists and VIP red carpets.

As we look towards the end of 2014 and onwards to 2015 it remains obvious that the age of the television advert to promote alcohol is not over, many successful campaigns still exist and drive huge sales. Businesses have woken up to the fact that so much of communication these days is on mobile and on computer ensuring any word of mouth recommendation is amplified online. Getting people to talk about your brand is difficult at the best of times but from the latest endeavours we have seen, it seems the best way to get someone to talk about your brand is pick them up, spin them round and drop them in a hip part of London with a complimentary drink in their hand!


24 November 2014