Top 3 Experiential Marketing Campaigns of 2017 (Thus Far)

Experiential marketing. Engagement marketing. On-ground marketing. Event marketing. Whatever you want to call it, can be very successful – if done right.

The goal of experiential marketing is to form a memorable connection between the consumer and the brand to make a lasting impression, influence purchase decisions and ultimately build brand loyalty. It’s proving to be a valuable part of a company’s marketing plan, especially for large, faceless brands who can be viewed as out of touch with the general public.

With the explosion of new technology (like virtual reality) in the past year, combined with good ol’ fashion creativity, we expect 2017 to show us big things for experiential marketing. Here are some of our favorites so far.

The Casper Nap Tour & SXSW Takeover

Casper, one of the heavy-hitters in the mail order mattress-in-a-box industry, took this year’s South by Southwest Festival by storm. For starters, they had their Nap Tour RV strategically stationed to help exhausted festival goers take 8-minute power naps. Attendees got to experience the comfort of a Casper mattress in a private pod, complete with slippers, a cold brew coffee, and a dog bed if they also had a furry friend.

Casper Nap Tour

Casper also partnered with the Standard Hotel’s One:Night app to help people find a last minute, reasonably priced hotel room in an otherwise completely booked city. Each day at 3:00pm, the One:Night app released 20 rooms that could be booked for just $99 (more reasonable than the other hotel prices in downtown Austin during this time, which ranged from $250-$1,200). Guests got to sleep in comfortable rooms outfitted with a Casper mattress, pillows and slippers. Car service was provided by Tesla, and you could even request a real mom from the front desk to come read you a bedtime story.

Thanks to Mother Nature, Casper really solidified themselves in people’s memories when an unexpected snowstorm cancelled flights in the North East at the end of SXSW. Casper extended their event to help stranded attendees find rooms, and even threw a “Stranded in Austin” party with rapper Warren G.

Talk about turning a nightmare into a dream.

XFINITY Fast & Furious Drive-Out Cinema

XFINITY partnered with the release of the next Fast & Furious movie, The Fate of the Furious, to take two of their customers on the ride of their lives. Excited to see and sit in some of the super cars from the movie, the two “contest winners” strapped in to watch a sneak peak of the film. That is until the people in the driver’s seat suddenly “discovered” that the keys had been left in the car. Cue revving engine, confusion and adrenaline.

Turns out the people in the driver’s seat were the actual stunt drivers from the movie, and they take the two unsuspecting super fans straight through the wall of the theatre and into an explosion-packed stunt ride. It was literally just like a scene from the movie. While this experience wasn’t had by many people in-person, the YouTube video posted about it did a great job of capturing the event. While watching, you instantly start imagining what you would do in that situation. It evokes a feeling, a rush.

Plus, it’s just flat-out funny to watch these people’s faces as they flail about doing donuts next to impressive pyrotechnics.

Crayola Retires a Classic

Crayola made waves in the social media sphere by announcing that they were going to retire one of their iconic crayon colors from their 24-count box. They set up a giant box of crayons in Time Square, and had a countdown going on their website to March 31, 2017 (National Crayon Day) when they were going to announce live on Facebook which color would be getting the ax. Engagement and buzz on social media was high, as Crayola encouraged people to share which color they hoped to keep around (there’s lots of Cerulean fans out there).

As it turns out, a box of the new crayons made its way onto shelves one day ahead of schedule, and of course an excited fan spotted it and posted it to Twitter. We give major props to the Crayola social team for reacting to this leak swiftly and positively by saying the color Dandelion “just couldn’t wait,” and decided to announce his retirement a day early. This fast-thinking, positive spin saved the campaign, and may even end up gaining it more attention in the long run. Who doesn’t love a good spoiler scandal? Here’s wishing that Dandelion enjoys his golden years.

Do you have a favorite 2017 experiential marketing campaign that didn’t make this list? Let us know! Tweet us at @DecibelEvent. We’re social butterflies.