July 31, 2023
More than 5 trillion display ads are shown online each year. In one year, a person sees upwards of 2 million ads. It’s a lot, and it’s often a big blur. Think about it. Yesterday, you likely spent time scrolling through TikTok, streaming YouTube videos, searching online, using Facebook or Twitter, or watching a TV show or movie. During that time, do you remember any of the ads you saw? Can you name even one?
In the 1970s, people were exposed to approximately 500 ads. Today, it’s more like 5,000. The ads that are more likely to capture your attention and stick in your head are emotional. In ad campaigns that did well, 31% of them focused on the emotional appeal. What emotions are most likely to get triggered during memorable ads?
- Love and friendship
How does an emotional ad campaign drive success? Why is an experiential marketing campaign most likely to capture attention and create that emotional connection?
What Is Experiential Marketing?
When you tap into experiential marketing, or engagement marketing, you engage with current and potential customers. It’s about creating a memorable experience. You want to find a way to connect with others using your brand’s message or beliefs. One of the most effective ways to do this is by connecting with people on an emotional level. If you make people feel something, they’re not going to forget you.
Think about the holidays. Those are some of the most poignant ads you’ll see as they touch on love, family, and the unexpected. A son (Peter) sneaks into his family home early in the morning on Christmas Day. No one but his little sister is awake yet, so he starts a pot of Folgers coffee and whispers to her to stay quiet. The rest of the family wakes up to the smell of coffee. Then, there’s the utter joy that the son they haven’t seen in ages is home for the holidays.
It’s a tearjerker and is something many of us can relate to. That thrill at seeing someone you haven’t seen in a while. The emotional pull of family connections and holiday joy are real and relatable.
An experiential marketing campaign taps into your senses, which helps make it emotional. You’re seeing something that evokes memories. You hear sounds that may take you back in time. No matter what the emotional connection is, it’s strong and captures your attention.
Types of Experiential Marketing
As you start to narrow down your ideas and turn them into an actionable marketing plan, what are the different types of experiential marketing campaigns?
Event marketing occurs when the marketing campaign takes place at an event. A good example of this happened during the 2022 League of Legends Spring Finals. Grubhub wanted to capture attention, which was going to take a bit of creativity since the event was being held at Houston’s massive NRG Stadium and there were many other things to do.
Enter the Grubhub Lounge, a fun area where players could win a prize from a customized claw machine, foodie pods, gamer messaging connections, and a pizza box throne for photo opportunities with food-themed weapons. That event marketing campaign drew 24,000 gamers and fans, over 408 virtual streams on Twitch and YouTube, and almost 5,800 Grubhub app downloads.
What made it so emotional? Players felt that they were part of a tight group. They had a chance to connect with others and share their love of a game.
Guerilla marketing is designed to drive publicity in unconventional ways. It tends to be a more budget-friendly option, though it can take time to pull it off. Experiential guerilla marketing drives the public to interact with a brand.
As an example of guerilla marketing, Paramount hired a number of drones to create a QR code appearing over SXSW. Anyone who captured the QR code was taken to the site to learn more about the Paramount show “Halo.” Excitement prevailed for all who looked up and saw the QR code.
Installations are a marketing campaign form where something is installed on a city street or in a public place to capture attention. A good example is the KitKat “Breaker Bench.” You know the logo of KitKat is “Gimme a break.” To encourage people to sit down and take a break, the company installed benches in different business areas and parks. Those benches had slats that looked like giant KitKat bars. People relate to this candy and often have memories of sharing KitKats with friends and family.
Mobile tours bring the marketing campaign to the people in different cities rather than having the people come to you. It does involve some traveling, but it doesn’t have to be too extensive. It just needs to be fun.
Oscar Meyer’s Weinermobile, now known as the Frankmobile, is a good example of a mobile tour. The unique vehicle travels from city to city all summer, stopping at times for photo opportunities and to give out swag. It’s a great way to get people excited as they post pictures with the Frankmobile on social media or attend the special event planned for that city’s appearance.
A pop-up is a quick one-and-done appearance that’s similar to a mobile tour, but it doesn’t involve the vehicle tour. One of the most notable pop-ups in recent years has been a Birds Eye frozen vegetable restaurant appearance. The frozen foods company set up a temporary restaurant serving meals prepared with its frozen meats, vegetables, pasta, and potato.
People who came to The Picture House were invited to dine free if they showed their waiter a photo of their meal shared on Instagram. The pop-up pay-by-picture restaurant hit three British cities and was featured in more than 200 media outlets. It was a lot of fun and made people feel like they were part of something big.
A PR stunt involves using the brand’s product or service to capture attention in a quick, memorable way. Do you remember about 10 years ago when everyone was hunting through shelves and coolers in stores trying to find their name on a bottle of Coke? Everyone who did could take a selfie with the bottle and be featured on the company’s billboard. It increased sales by 11%.
Finding your name among hundreds of bottles created excitement and feelings of inclusion.
Sampling is a popular experiential marketing tactic. It’s one you are probably very familiar with too. If you’re at a sampling event or cart, you can taste, touch, and even smell the samples as they’re prepared or given to you.
Have you ever walked through a warehouse store where there are demo people cooking foods? You approach a cart where the demo person is serving store-brand Italian meatballs. As you approach that aisle, the smell reminds you of your aunt’s spaghetti and meatballs. You just have to taste it, and then you’re convinced to purchase it. That sale proves the campaign was a success.
Finally, there are virtual events. These became all the rage during the pandemic when people were social distancing. Instead of getting together in person, you gathered virtually. Why would you consider a virtual event? It has the greatest reach, as people are not restricted by travel costs and times.
Google I/O 2021 filmed their keynote speakers using a 360-degree camera. People from around the world could attend and see everything that was going on, not just the action on the stage. As they chose to host the videos on YouTube, no one had to pay to attend, so the reach was fantastic.
What do you do if you don’t know how to get started? Factory 360 is an award-winning experiential marketing firm with a varied team that excels at every type of marketing campaign. Give us a call to share your ideas and let us discuss how we can make it happen.