3 Virtual Experiential Marketing Event Ideas For Inspiration

Not every marketing team knows where to start. It takes planning. You have to start by figuring out your budget. Remember that you shouldn’t spend more than you can afford, but you also have to be realistic. If your budget is too limited, it can turn your marketing idea into a disaster. You need to decide how to best market your service or product. Are you doing a pop-up event or participating in a tradeshow? Would free giveaways be more memorable or an interactive event that’s available during pre-show events at a music concert?

Once you know what to do, you have to make sure that people leave the video presentation, show, pop-up, etc. knowing exactly who you were. You want a high-quality video that looks great and is easy for consumers to share with friends. Social media is important as you’ll be able to track how much your video or article has been passed from one person to the next. It also gives your target audience a way to interact with you.

Those are the basic steps to creating an experiential marketing event. Here are three examples of companies that pulled off exceptional virtual experiential marketing campaigns. Use them as inspiration for your own event.


Clothing and apparel retailer Aerie came up with the #AerieREAL experiential marketing campaign in 2014. Shopping for clothing can be difficult when you’re staring at an airbrushed model in the clothing. Aerie came up with #AerieREAL to show real people in the clothing and using Aerie products.

People share their photos on Instagram. For each photo that’s shared, Aerie donates $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association. As of 2019, more than $110,000 had been donated to the charity through the campaign.

With just an Instagram account and a post on the retailer’s website, Aerie has inspired people from around the world to purchase products and share photos of themselves on social media. User-generated content soared, and influencers could also join in if they happened to wear Aerie’s clothing or accessories. It helps shoppers see untouched photos of the articles of clothing and items and allows for a friendly platform to help people decide if something is right for them.

#AerieREAL helps people of all ages realize that there really is no such thing as perfection and that flaws and perceived imperfections are beautiful. It’s helping Aerie spread the word about a cause that’s important to the company and helps them spread the word about the products. Best of all, Aerie’s campaign didn’t cost them a lot to set up.

I Speak My Truth In #MyCalvins

Calvin Klein’s I Speak My Truth campaign started off in a huge way when singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes shared photos of himself in his Calvins. These simple photos gained close to half a million comments and well over 8.5 million likes. This was the first artist in this ad campaign. Other celebrities like Billie Eilish, Bella Hadid, and Noah Centineo joined in posting photos and bringing plenty of attention to the brand.

In addition to the images of Calvin Klein apparel and undergarments, people get to hear their favorite celebrities’ thoughts on “truth.” In Shawn Mendes’s case, he talked about his truth being that it’s okay to put yourself out there in a way that makes you feel vulnerable.

Presenting this ad campaign in the digital world didn’t take too much. Calvin Klein’s team handled the photoshoots. Photos were then shared in Calvin Klein’s social media and on the celebrities’ social media sites. This made it easy to spread the message about being yourself and being comfortable. Videos also started to get added to the content. That step brought Calvin Klein to a newer platform as short videos aired on TikTok to reach a newer audience. The overall goal was to reach a new market in a “consumer-centric” way in order to boost the brand’s appeal to younger generations. With the photos and viral videos, Calvin Klein nailed it.

Planet Fitness United We Move Livestream Workouts

When many state governors issued social distancing guidelines and ordered fitness centers to close for the COVID-19 pandemic, Planet Fitness jumped into action with United We Move. They teamed up with celebrities and instructors for livestream workouts. With gyms shut down throughout the nation, the company put itself at the top of everyone’s list by offering daily workouts through Facebook that anyone could watch live or play back during a convenient time.

Each night, people looking to work out with an instructor or celebrity guest tuned in and gained a professional trainer’s assistance in working out. While the company made no money for these videos, they gained a new base of fans and kept their current members engaged.

With Facebook Video, the marketing department arranged to have a celebrity guest or trainer livestream the workout through Facebook’s popular social media platform. Some of the livestream videos are with Planet Fitness trainers and others are celebrities. Celebrity guests include people like David Ortiz (MLB), Derek Hough (Dancing With the Stars), Maddie and Tae (country music stars).

Participants are encouraged to post photos and respond to questions through Facebook and other social media platforms. Engagement has been tremendous with each of the videos, and people who didn’t use Planet Fitness before are showing interest in joining. It’s been a fantastic campaign for Planet Fitness thanks to celebrity engagement, user-created content, and livestream technology.

Where Should You Turn for Inspiration?

Where should you turn for inspiration when planning a virtual experiential marketing campaign? Start by thinking about your intended audience. If your brand is better suited to the 20-something audience, they may respond better to TikTok than YouTube. An older target audience may be happier with YouTube than TikTok.

That only taps into the social media interactions you can have. You also need to get a message out about your brand. Would a charitable act like Aerie does appeal more to your target audience than celebrity endorsements or influencer marketing? Would your audience feel more engaged if they were sharing photos of themselves or commenting in hopes of winning some swag? Is your target audience glamorous or down to earth? Are they givers or takers? All of this can make a difference in how you market your brand and product/service.

When you weigh those questions, you cannot lose track of your budget and time concerns. A marketing campaign isn’t something to rush. You take time building it and coming up with the ideal approach. Going viral is awesome, but if that popularity fizzles out after a couple of days, it’s less effective than building a strong following that sticks with you for months.

Factory 360 understands exactly what it takes to build an experiential marketing campaign that grabs attention and keeps the audience engaged in the long run. Our team works with you to brainstorm ideas, find the right approach for your needs, and handles all aspects of implementing your strategy. From livestreaming to social media, we have you covered.