25/03/14

EXPERIENTIAL: DESIGNED TO HURT

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By Alex Smith, Planning Director

 

A challenge for marketing and an opportunity for experiential, is the increasing world-weariness of consumers.  They’ve been exposed to enough galaxy-class marketing from the usual mega brands (Red Bull, Apple and every other “favourite” brand an on-the-spot consumer would care to mention) to be suitably unimpressed by your marketing.

Think your detergent campaign is better than your competitor’s?  Congratulations – it’s not better than Red Bull Stratos though is it?  That’s who you’re competing with for share of mind, whether you like it or not.

Because of this the onus is now on every brand to become both more original, and more niche – ever trying to take ownership of a small slice of culture that’s relevant to them and them alone.

The reasons for this being an opportunity for experiential are twofold.

Firstly, as I’ve addressed elsewhere, there’s no good reason for two experiential campaigns to ever be alike.

Whilst every TV ad is, ultimately, a short video, experiential campaigns can be as different from each other as a petrol station…

… and message in a bottle…

No excuses for lack of originality here.

Secondly, experiential can be mean.  Experiential can be painful, difficult, exclusive and extreme.  Ideas that would look tame as a staged ad can suddenly be quite shocking when taken into the real world, and in the name of breaking through the “meh”, more and more brands should begin to explore the potential to be found in doing something a bit dangerous; a bit provocative.

Typically, there will always be concerns about the “democratic” appeal of a radical piece of activity, however as mentioned above there’s not much space for the “everyman brand” left, and thanks to advances in targeting, not much reason for it either.  Furthermore, as covered in a prior post, not everyone has to have a direct experience.  It’s got to be better to put 10 people through the ringer for the amusement of 90, than giving a lukewarm experience to 100.

Here are some neat examples of brands taking things a bit far, and winning.

The “ouch” idea:

The “discriminatory” idea:

I’m yet to see an experience that’s made anyone cry, but it’s only a matter of time.

 

25/03/14

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