Top 10 Experiential Marketing Events Taking Place in 2021

Even if a company or organization isn’t ready to embrace face-to-face marketing events, virtual experiential marketing campaigns prove successful. Here are the top 10 experiential marketing events taking place in 2021.

#1 – 7-Eleven’s Evolution Store

You don’t tend to think of 7-Eleven as being a luxury destination. The store is testing people’s opinions by opening the “Evolution Store” with bookings available through Airbnb.

How does it work? Two people can book an overnight stay in one of the participating 7-Eleven locations. The convenience store is turned into a venue with a PS5, game pods, gaming lounge chairs, and a big-screen TV for that stay.

A stay in the Evolution Store is hosted by Dak Prescott, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, and involves a 60-minute Twitch streaming session with the founder of FaZe Clan. Guests enjoy full access to tacos, Slurpees, and other popular 7-Eleven snacks and some new additions to the store’s snack selection.

#2 – Amazon Prime’s Without Remorse

One of the hottest movies coming out this year is Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” This action suspense stars Michael B. Jordan as a Navy SEAL whose pregnant wife is murdered by Russian FSB agents. Amazon chose locations in California and Georgia to host marketing activations where guests received their invitations by drones. Those who attended entered through a wind tunnel, which replicated the feeling of jumping from a plane, or rushing through an inflatable military obstacle course with a DJ and drill sergeant urging them on.

Once inside, they lounged in a Navy SEAL inflatable boat while equipped with a poncho, flashlight, and walkie-talkie to use when requesting more snacks and drinks during the movie premiere. Everything was designed to draw attendees into the experiences Michael B. Jordan experienced during the movie.

#3 – Blue Moon LightSky “Lighten Up”

A Blue Moon with a slice of orange is a refreshing beer for a hot summer’s day. Blue Moon and The Home Edit, an organization business, teamed up to get people to take a closer look at their unused household items and “Lighten Up” their homes. That throw you bought to match your curtains gathers dust. Why keep it if it never gets used?

In exchange for donating six unused household items, Blue Moon gave people a coupon for a free six-pack of LightSky, a low-alcohol take on the original Blue Moon beer. Plus, those who donated were entered to get a free consultation with The Home Edit’s pros.

Consumers who took the “Lighten Up” challenge had to share pictures of their six items via Instagram or Twitter and use the appropriate hashtags to get their free six-pack. The items were then shipped to Blue Moon using a prepaid shipping label. All received things went to charity.

#4 – Choose Your Alternate F’reality

An Emeryville, California, company took their new frozen beverage brand to a whole new level with the Choose Your Alternate F’reality marketing campaign in 2021. The company has frozen beverage machines in stores across the country. To draw attention to them, they created a video game. After all, many people turned to gaming to engage with others during the pandemic stay-at-home orders.

In this case, people go to a retailer and get the on-screen QR code. That code brings the purchaser into a mobile game where the milkshake character has to collect boosters, dodge obstacles, and get through the store. TikTok and Twitch streamers post videos of their performance and urge fans to buy a milkshake, join the fun, and see if they can beat their scores.

#5 – CLEAR Connects: A Day of Families

Alclear, LLC came up with a brilliant way to get users to experience their CLEAR platform and spread the word. The platform is designed to help individuals bypass standard airport check-ins using biometrics like an eye scan or fingerprint to verify their identity and quickly get through security screenings.

On CLEAR Connects, over 100 family members and friends flew to Newark, NJ, using the platform for airport security checks and through CLEAR’s Health Pass verification system showing they’d tested negative for COVID-19. Once in Newark, they were transported to Metlife Stadium, where each family or group of friends gathered in a private dining pod. That afternoon, participants enjoyed lunch and a Broadway performance hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.

CLEAR set up a large board for families to write thank you notes. Pictures were also taken and shared with others through social media. All of this publicity did a lot to bring awareness to the CLEAR platform and its usefulness in secure storage of health and vaccination records and completing security checks without having to be face-to-face.

#6 – HBO’s Penance’s Curiosities + Cocktail Compendium

HBO came up with a clever marketing campaign for April’s premiere of the network’s new show “The Nevers.” Select influences and fans were part of an unboxing campaign filled with goodies related to the show and an escape room-style challenge. Recipients found all of these items inside the box:

  • A journal with recipes and instructions
  • An electro-magnetic light bulb
  • A magnifying glass to find the clues on and in items
  • A Victorian tea seat
  • A tea bulb
  • Teas, syrups, and infused sugars
  • A trinket box
  • A handkerchief
  • A broach
  • A coupon for a free bottle of Hendrick’s gin
  • A spiralizer
  • A poster of Faust
  • Tarot cards
  • A storage unit that owners can store everything in

People love getting free items. With items targeted to the show’s Victorian theme and a game that had recipients looking for clues to “escape,” people were excited to brainstorm together and try to be the first to solve it.

The campaign ended up doing far more than HBO hoped. The people who received these boxes posted an average of six posts on various social media platforms. One of the influencers to receive a package made a total of 50 posts. As the posts were forwarded and shared, it helped spread the news of this Victorian science fiction show to a wide range of people.

#7 – House of Sport

Dick’s Sporting Goods knows that consumers are ready to get back out in the world. They opened a House of Sport concept store in Victor, New York. This store adds a 17,000 sports venue with a 32-foot rock climbing wall, simulated golf putting greens and driving bays, a batting cage, a seasonal ice skating rink, and a track and field area. While shopping, people are welcome to test out equipment before they buy it.

Not only are shoppers able to test out equipment, but the store also has a food court with staffed wellness professionals available by appointment. It’s a huge success with people taking pictures to share on social media, which helps spread the word. Due to the success of the first House of Sport, a second location in Tennessee will also open at the end of 2021.

#8 – Krispy Kreme’s “Sweet Incentive”

Krispy Kreme’s latest marketing campaign is an experience that almost anyone can embrace and enjoy. Anyone who gets vaccinated can go to Krispy Kreme, show their vaccination card, and get a free doughnut. It’s that easy.

Here’s the reason this marketing campaign stands out as one of the best. This deal isn’t just for one doughnut. People are welcome to go in every day and claim a free doughnut. It’s good for one free doughnut per day for all of 2021. What if you cannot get vaccinated due to allergies or current health issues? Go into Krispy Kreme each Monday to get a free doughnut and coffee to start your week.

#9 – Pinknic’s Celebration of Rosé and Summer

COVID-19 found Pinknic skipping 2020. This annual event takes place on Governor’s Island in NYC and celebrates food, wine, and music. It lasts all weekend.

Pinknic is a Labor Day event where an extensive array of professional chefs, restaurants, beverage companies, and musicians get together to create an unforgettable weekend of music, food, and drinks. Companies get to promote their product to guests who are delighted to eat the foods and sample different wines, particularly pink rosé.

As the festival is returning for 2021, excitement is building, and tickets are already selling out. Companies, bars, and restaurants sponsoring or taking part in this experiential marketing event include Broken Shaken and Gauchonfire. More are being announced soon.

#10 – Stella Mutual

To take some of the stress out of Tax Day, beer maker Stella Artois came up with a fake marketing video series for Stella Mutual. This “financial” organization shows the importance of investing in others, forming long-term bonds, and enjoying “liquid stock.”

Participants or “account holders” were encouraged to share images of them investing in long-term bonds and liquid stocks. Those that did were entered into giveaways for money, beer, and pizza-making kits.

These are just 10 of the best experiential marketing campaigns in 2021. Do you have a better idea but aren’t sure how to pull it off? Are you uncertain if it’s the best time to move away from virtual events to in-person ones and need guidance in terms of safe marketing events? Talk to Factory 360’s marketing experts. We’ll help turn your dream marketing campaign into a huge success.