At the 2014 Cannes Lions there were over 3,000 entries into the activation category alone. And, anecdotally, at least, brands in this market are spending more of their budget on real-life experiences that can then be amplified with digital and social tools, or on tangible versions of digital experiences. Here are a few local examples.
Over the last few years Corona has made the decision to split its advertising spend 70/30 between traditional and experiential. Stephanie Quantrill, the brand manager for Corona in New Zealand, says it is focused on creating real life connections with its consumers and making sure the brand is present in their lives through bespoke events. Internationally, beer brands are focusing less on traditional advertising, she says, so it made sense for Corona in New Zealand to do the same.
Corona’s marketing team continues to hold its own events such as the Airstream tour that took place earlier in the year and was brought to life by Spur. This series will be repeated this winter at ski fields around the country.
Corona measures the results of its experiential advertising in terms of ‘brand health’ instead of sales or market share. And Quantrill feels the events have paid off, as there has been a five percent increase in positive sentiment towards Corona compared to the same time last year. This is a measurement they take each month with a group representative of their target market.
Corona uses its social media presence to create a halo effect around their events and reach a greater number of people in the hope that this will generate some buzz and word of mouth (it also produces a range of online content like Someplace Else).
In a world becoming increasingly cluttered with advertising, Quantrill believes other brands could also benefit from engaging in more experiential advertising. However, she stresses the importance of having clear goals and measurements in place as well as making sure that experiential fits in with the brand as a whole.
Audi New Zealand and Veuve Clicquot claim to be the first brands in New Zealand to use the Instagram printer by Social Playground at the recent Clicquot in the Snow last week. The Australian-owned platform feeds off the popularity of Instagram by letting users “snap, tag and print” their Instagram photos in real time. And Audi New Zealand and Veuve Clicquot let partygoers print their snaps when they used a custom hashtag, in an effort to drive engagement with both brands.
Fiona Woolley, head of marketing for Audi in New Zealand, says using such tools "is being driven by the need for brands to produce authentic, inspiring and relevant content in collaboration with their customers". Audi has a big focus on activation globally, says Woolley, and they found the instagram printer was a good fit because "innovation, performance and technology are at the heart of the Audi brand". She says it has found experiential advertising to be a good way to connect with fans both digitally and in the flesh.
There are a range of photobooth operators trying to bridge the gap between online and offline. Smile Dealers is all about bringing events to life and then allowing punters to share their experiences digitally, and founder Nick Ferry says it recently finished a successful campaign with ANZ and Spark PR & Activate.
"We integrated our photo booth with ANZ's internal application system and students were encouraged to pose and then offered the chance to have their photo booth photo sent to them on a Visa Debit Card," says Ferry. "Doing this allowed ANZ to sign up a significant number of new consumers. And this has been regarded by the team at ANZ as a highly successful experiential activation."
Like Social Playground, MEA Mobile, an app development company based in both New Zealand and the US, understands the power of tangible items and recently celebrated the four millionth photograph to be printed through its mobile app, Printicular.
The app takes the pictures from your phone, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Picasa or Dropbox account and the photos can either be delivered anywhere worldwide or, for those who live in the US, picked up from a local Walgreens.