Marketing that creates an engaging platform for consumers to interact with a brand is an exciting way to connect with your target market. From in-store promotions to brand activations, experiential marketing is undoubtedly one of the best ways to promote brand awareness.
While planning an immersive brand experience can certainly get the creative juices flowing, it is vital that marketers don’t lose sight of practicality. When thinking ‘out of the box’, it’s quite easy to get caught up in the moment; and before you know it, common sense goes out the window.
Consider the following experiential marketing do’s and don’ts:
- DO: Clear any plans with the local authorities
When promoting Mission Impossible III, Paramount Pictures inadvertently caused a bomb scare. The idea to place small, red wired devices inside several LA Times newspaper racks may have been intended to amuse, but it probably would have been wise to bring local law enforcement in on the plan.
- DON’T: forget about health and safety
Jagermeister once hosted a pool party in Leon, Mexico… where a liquid nitrogen was used to create a smokey atmosphere. If the promoters had done a bit of research, they would have known that liquid nitrogen and chlorine displace oxygen – and avoided the disaster of 10 party goers who had to be hospitalised after not being able to breathe.
- DO: Be sensitive to religion and culture
Puma caused an uproar in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago, when they created ‘shrines’ on street corners to promote their new Italy jersey for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and encouraged fans to #StartBelieving. That the promotion took place on Ash Wednesday, a significant Christian holiday, was found to be quite offensive to many people.
- DON’T: Overlook the weather forecast
In 2005, hoping to attract attention and break a world record, Snapple erected a 25-foot popsicle in Times Square, New York. Unfortunately, the brand chose the middle of summer for their promotion and the giant lollipop caused chaos in the streets when it began to melt in the 26ºC heat!
- DO: Test run before event day
IBM’s brand activations for the launch of their Linux operating system included ‘Peace, Love and Linux’ slogans decorating the sidewalks and walls of San Fransisco streets. The biodegradable chalk used to create the artwork was supposed to wash off. But it didn’t… leaving IBM red-faced, and with a $100,000 fine and a $20,000 clean-up bill. The embarrassment and negative publicity could have been avoided with a simple test run to ensure that the chalk could be easily removed.
When developing your next experiential marketing event, learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before – don’t allow poor planning to turn a great idea into damaging bad publicity.