Experimental marketing differs from usual marketing that we see everyday in magazines or online as it requires members of the public to actually interact with the brand, product or service in some way, letting them experience it. The aim is to create a memorable experience for the consumer and in turn hopes to create a closer bond with that person. In saturated markets, customer loyalty is something brands clamor over each other for; and so providing them with something that will set your brand apart from the rest is important, and it’s a far more successful practice when it includes an event or interaction instead of a simple advert. I’ve gathered up some of my favourite examples of experimental marketing below, the ones that stand out and have been remembered.
The Social Swipe
If you’ve ever walked down the street past a volunteer with a charity bucket asking for spare change, but genuinely had no change on you, this one is for you. Misereor: The Social Swipe, worked with banks, airports and the mobile payment platform Stripe.com to pull off the experience. Miseror are a German relief NGO, who saw the volume of non-cash payments increasing constantly- 40% of cash payments last year were made by card, and so it was an obvious market to explore rather than relying on cash payments, “whats one thing you always have with you? A credit card,” the voice over says.
The billboard is rather striking; showing the types of work Misereor works to resolve such as poverty and injustice and with the swipe of the users credit card, these issues are shown as being resolved- the rope binding the hands together is cut by the card, and the card similarly cuts a slice off a loaf of bread. The card reader takes €2 from the donors card as they swipe, and upon receiving their credit card bill will receive a thank you message from Misereor as well as a link to make the one off donation a monthly debit.
The billboard, though a complicated system to set up, remains a powerful way to attract attention; for a €2 swipe, people felt they were helping save a Filipino child from imprisonment for example, and this participation from people made for a very successful campaign for Misereor and makes it on our list for the best experimental marketing campaigns we’ve seen; it made a difference and it’s memorable.
The weight of a woman is quite often a sensitive topic, I’d predict few would be too keen on weighing themselves in a public place such as Grand Central Station in New York. However, Lean Cuisine did just this; but with a twist. Instead of the brand promoting their healthy food or advocating one body type over another, instead they focused on how to really measure a person; how they perceive their worth and what they should be weighed by. Answers ranged from, ‘strong intelligent daughters,’ to ‘I’m a pediatric ICU nurse’ written on a set of scales. The campaign wasn’t overly branded; their Twitter handle was visible but Lean Cuisine let the campaign do the talking, creating an empowering film by ‘putting what matters on the scale,’ which paid off with over 204 million impressions for the campaign.
Probably the best poster in the world
Most people will be aware of Carlsberg’s strap line, ‘If Carlsberg did…’ which runs across it’s marketing strategies. ‘Probably the best poster in the world’ was a billboard that appeared on Brick Lane in London- attached to the poster was a working beer tap where people could pull their own pints of Carlsberg. In one day, 1,400 glasses were poured, the associated hashtag #ProbablyTheBest generated over 3 million Twitter impressions and PR reached over 60 million consumers globally within the first 24 hours.
The Cake Shop in the Garden
A personal favourite of mine comes from Tin Man Comms to promote Carole Matthews novel, The Cake Shop in the Garden. Whilst I’m no gardener, I can claim to be an avid cake-eater, and 250 cake flowers and a wall made from 1,300 slices of fruit loaf, with nutella acting as grouting and soil made from chocolate crumbs with bourbon biscuits acting as garden borders, sounds like an event worth attending. A thousand people attended the event, and it helped build traction for the book launch.
An iconic motel; just perhaps one you wouldn’t pull the car over for. The Bates motel, made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Pscyho. In 2015 however, at SXSW, a replica of the motel was opened, featuring props and decor and allowed superfans to actually stay the night- with a few suprises along the way. Fan’s were encouraged to enter competitions to stay at the motel, which set designers completed with fake blood spatter in the shower, Norma’s robe laid out on the bed, and welcome baskets filled with goodies from local start ups and businesses’. The pop up promoted the third season of the show ‘Bates Motel’ which is a modern day prequel to the events of Psycho.
Look at me
A powerful campaign from Women’s aid used facial-recognition cameras to see if people were paying attention to their campaign. A woman was featured on a video billboard, with visible injuries on her face. If passerbys took notice of her, her bruises would fade, if she was ignored, they remained; the message behind the campaign that as a society, we need to stop the issue being a taboo and see and hear it, only when we acknowledge the statistics can then move to end this type of violence. The campaign was remarkably simple, but the message was a powerful one and it rose to global prominence, reaching 326.9 million people.
Have you seen any recent examples that you think should be on the list? Let us know!