Festival Intelligence: Engaging consumers in the Experience Economy | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence: Engaging consumers in the Experience Economy

On-the-ground activations, events and experiential marketing techniques are often considered to be a disruptive marketing tactic to make a quick and direct impact with consumers. But now, advertisers are waking up to its potential and realising the long-term value that creating positive personal touchpoints with consumers can bring. 

A report from EventTrack highlights that 91% of consumers who attend a branded experience view the brand more positively, and 85% are more likely to purchase a product or service. Nearly just as many say that even a friend’s post on social media about a branded experience increases their likelihood to purchase. 

Of the seven campaign entries to feature on the Festival of Media Global Awards 2019 shortlist in the ‘Best Event, Experiential or Sponsorship Campaign’ category, there was a wide geographical spread led by India and the US (both 29%), followed by Canada, China and the UK, each representing 14%. By brand, the most popular categories were food & drink and FMCG (both 29%), followed by retail, technology and travel, leisure & tourism (14% each). 

Delving deeper into these campaigns show that brands are creating new approaches to developing their own currency in the experience economy. From forging memorable collaborations with key partners to creating one of a kind experiences that consumers won’t find elsewhere, these often unexpected yet relevant encounters are giving consumers a more complete experience that engages multiple senses and creates a direct connection between brand and consumer. 

Experiential works best when combined with other media, and that often includes the more traditional channels. Campaigns that were recognised and awarded used a range of media including video, social and digital, in addition to PR, OOH, print and point-of-sale activity. By integrating brands into every aspect of the journey, advertisers are able to take control and really own a moment or experience. 

Furthermore, the entries highlight that the measurement aspect of experiential and events marketing should not be overlooked, with more sophisticated uses of technology for data and targeting resulting in more attributable experiences.

Whether it’s raising brand awareness for a new product launch by getting products directly into the hands of consumers, building deeper connections with an existing customer base or educating consumers as a whole new source of information, tapping into cultural or calendar events has proven to be key timing for this kind of activity or experience, by creating something unique.  

Using influencers or voices of authority can also add authenticity and reliability to the brand message, as highlighted through demos and sampling, and integrating with social media allows for common sharing moments via selfies or live-streams.

As consumers become increasingly aware of their ability to block or avoid promotional content, creating participatory experiences rather than passive promotional messages has proven to be a key engagement tool for advertisers and an undeniable marketing solution for creating a personal connection with consumers. 

For brands to make the most of events and experiential marketing requires three key things: Purpose, Authenticity and Relevance. By optimising activations, brands have a huge opportunity to track engagement and data from consumer interactions. The more you can integrate technology in making sure audiences experience your brand on a personal level, the higher the potential for success.

We put the spotlight on two Festival of Media Global Awards 2019 winning entries, which highlight this trend:

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Snickers Air | Snickers | MediaCom | China

Shortlisted for: Best Event, Experiential or Sponsorship Campaign (SILVER WINNER)


Travelling in China is tough. And during Chinese New Year, when half a billion people travel to see friends and family, it can be stressful. Especially if your flight is delayed, as is common in China. People need food to power their journey because “you’re not you when you travel hungry”. Unfortunately, the overpriced food concessions and boring home-made snacks that fuel most trips only add to the stress. Snickers partnered with one of China’s biggest domestic carriers, China Eastern Airlines, to create a unique experience: Snickers Air, the world’s first hunger-free flight. 

Taking over a Boeing 737 plane for the 40-day holiday period, MediaCom integrated Snickers into every aspect of the journey, from boarding passes to the in-flight entertainment. And it made this unique experience available to a select few with just 170 flights across Chinese New Year. It targeted potential flyers during the New Year period through the most visited and visible mediums. Reaching people before and during the busiest booking period of the season, through a blend of video, social media, digital, PR, out-of-home and point-of-sale. Each execution enticed people not only to buy Snickers, but also to try and snap up one of the exclusive seats available on this first-of-its-kind flying experience. 

A press conference launched the partnership of Snickers and China Eastern Airlines, taking the message to China’s 500m New Year travellers via video seeded out across Weibo, express targeted ads, all PR platforms including China News Weekly, and Ctrip, China’s biggest travel booking site. Anyone who watched this announcement could win the chance to fly Snickers Air. The agency also took the message beyond China Eastern Airlines’ 61m passengers – where it rebranded check ins and VIP lounges – using data to reach anyone who travelled by air in 2017 or had booked tickets via Tencent to travel in 2018. Tencent data also allowed the agency to reach railway travellers and there were also messages on top travel apps 12306 and Ctrip. It also targeted city dwellers in the capital Beijing, one of China’s biggest New Year migration cities, through out of home ads.

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Cradle of Health | Pampers | MediaCom | India

Shortlisted for: Best Event, Experiential or Sponsorship Campaign (BRONZE WINNER)


India is practically virgin territory for diapers. Penetration stands at just 10%, compared to 84% in China – a market of similar size, and neither the passage of time nor the impressive increase in income over recent years is changing that. The challenge was to find growth for Pampers for the first time in six years. The biggest obstacle: the mother-in-law, also known as baby care guru and the only source of advice for most new mums. If it could provide education about the importance of infant hygiene, it would also gain permission to talk about diapers. The pitch would focus on baby’s growth and development and give mums a whole new source of knowledge about diapers. 

This focus on baby health gave the brand permission to talk to mums. It would focus on a valuable message that mattered, the health of their beloved child. The strategy would focus around Cradle of Health, a series of events where leading medical professionals would talk to new mums about how they could improve baby hygiene, demonstrate how to use diapers effectively and answer any questions they had. These first of a kind events would be promoted via both traditional media and via partnership with trusted governmental organisations via a four-stage process designed to boost usage.

First, the agency used print ads and posters to create awareness of the importance of hygiene in baby health. Second, it promoted key hygiene tips as well as its own events via a high frequency print campaign. Third, it ran Cradle of Health workshops in key towns and cities across our target provinces, offering diaper demonstrations and sampling. Finally, it worked with key government and non-governmental organisations to help drive wider usage. These organisations became health ambassadors, going house-to-house educating mums on the advantages of diapers and giving them a free sample for trial. 

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