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Experiential marketing moves centre stage

Published on Monday, 4th March 2013
Alex Kopfli, Director at MOTION, predicts experiential marketing will move from media side show to centre stage thanks to mobile and social media.

It’s amazing how much has changed in a decade for experiential marketing.  Ten years ago, I was involved in planning my first experiential campaign for Muller.  The campaign centred on their successful MullerLove creative theme.  Advertisements were taken in the Metro asking people to send their Valentine’s Day love messages to a microsite.  The best messages were then selected and projected onto famous London landmarks on Valentine’s Day.  A Muller-branded double decker bus then whisked the winners of the competition and their partners off to see their messages d’amour projected across the city.  The campaign culminated with an on air marriage proposal via the bus, broadcast live on Capital FM.                                        

The agencies involved really enjoyed working on such a creative project and the client loved it as it created so much PR coverage in national press.  Though Muller’s campaign feels old fashioned now, they were definitely onto something back then. I think they were pioneers in realising consumers didn’t necessarily want to be passive spectators of marketing activity.  The campaign showed that consumers could be active participants in brand conversations and campaigns, rather than having advertising thrust upon them. 
Since the MullerLove campaign, my career in experiential marketing has seen me work for some of the UK’s leading advertising and media agencies and top British brands.  Yet despite the obvious benefits of the discipline, one of the big challenges that has faced experiential and kept it as a marketing side show, is reach.

Today’s media landscape has changed beyond recognition from the early days.  Over 58% of us have a smart phone that allows us to access online information and share thoughts, feelings and images anytime, anywhere.  Over 30 million people in UK use Facebook with 19 million of us accessing social media platforms through our smart phones. It’s no wonder that digital advertising now accounts for over 28% of UK adspend. 

So what does this mean for experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing generates natural talkability and endorsement.  It can also be used to capture content and comments, driven by the consumer’s own emotional engagement.  It is a powerful tool to create those all-important brand advocates.  In my experience the integration of experiential marketing campaigns with social media can greatly improve engagement and massively increase their reach.

Currently, 70% of senior marketers say experiential marketing is very important to their business.  I expect that as more and more brands take advantage of the new media landscape and integrate their social media activity with experiential marketing strategies, experiential marketing will move to centre stage.

Alex Kopfli, Planning Director, Motion

For more information on the benefits of experiential marketing email Alex Kopfli at alex@motion.uk.net
Experiential news, views and examples of best practice can be found by following MOTION on twitter - @tweet_motion or Liking MOTION on Facebook.