4 Experiential Campaigns That Killed It Without Using Facebook Ads

sonos brilliant sound experience
Photo credit: design-milk.com

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face is deciding where to allocate their budget. We’ve seen global brands like Patagonia, REI, and Adidas pledge to join the #StopHateForProfit campaign against Facebook and pause all ads and ad spend on the platform in July. 

With brands pledging to #SHFP, retail on its way back up after the pandemic, and brand authenticity more important than ever, now is an opportune time for brands to utilize experiential marketing. We put together a list of four notable experiential campaigns that yielded impressive results without ever using Facebook ads. 

#1 The Under Armour Drone Drop

Agency: The Pineapple Agency

It’s 2018 and Under Armour and Steph Curry need an exciting way to deliver the new Curry 4 sneakers to an already saturated market. On a windy day in San Francisco, 10 drones were launched off of yachts, each carrying a pair of Curry 4 shoes. Fans used an app to uncover hidden drop zones that were located throughout San Francisco. They arrived at the drop zones to place their sneaker orders on iPads and within minutes the drones dropped the sneakers directly to fans. 

This campaign went viral, earning 16M social media impressions, 119M media impressions, 25k leads captured, and Gold at the annual EX Awards for “Leap of Faith.” It delighted fans and had the ultimate “cool” factor without spending a nickel on Facebook ads. 

Smart Marketer Takeaway: 

The right brand, idea, and experiential agency can partner to generate noteworthy results without using paid media. That’s the value of creating an experience. You’re not only looking at viral video views and quantitative returns, but you get key insights on consumer behavior in real-time. 

Photo credit: design-milk.com

#2 Sonos’ Brilliant Sound Experience

Agency: Anyways

Sonos partnered with Google Assistant to show that their products went beyond sound, and that music is a multi-sensory experience. Sonos launched a three-day experience with interactive installations in NYC that focused on sound, music, and light. The “Physics Room” utilized hundreds of strands of individual lights to demonstrate the unique experience of every performance. “The Structure of a Song Room,” featured sculptures with hidden stems in each. As viewers explored the space, they would hear different strains of the song based on the sculpture they were near. 

While this could’ve been just another opportunity for participants to get a cool Instagram photo, Sonos went above and beyond to incorporate the latest technology to entertain and educate consumers on the dimensions of sound. The event’s free tickets were sold out before the doors ever opened. More than 3,300 people attended and it attracted a wide range of press from the New York Times to VICE to AdWeek. 

Smart Marketer Takeaway:

Consumers are looking for meaningful, educational, and authentic experiences with brands. Gen Z has more than $140B in spending power in today’s economy and they are attracted to brands that have honest and authentic identities. Lean in to experiential to help tell the truth about your brand and what you care about. As we’ve all seen in 2020 thus far, brand transparency is more important than ever. 

Photo credit: news.yahoo.com

#3 Virgin Galactic Spacewear System Unveiling 

Agency: In-house Virgin and Under Armour teams

Press events are the ultimate opportunity for a brand to utilize experiential marketing tactics, which are the most effective way to ensure people can recall your brand’s story. Virgin Galactic and Under Armour teamed up for a proprietary spacewear apparel line and unveiled the spacesuits inside an indoor skydiving tunnel. The suits were revealed by skydiving world champs performing a dance in the air in the zero-gravity simulator and it was later revealed that Richard Branson was one of the air dancers! 

This event offered attendees a first-of-its-kind fashion show and let them see the commercial spacewear system before the rest of the world. The effort generated more than 2.5 billion impressions without any kind of pre-event promotion or advertising on Facebook. 

Smart Marketer Takeaway:

Influencers (like Richard Branson) should always be considered as a tactic for your experiential strategy. With more people at home researching brands’ responses to the pandemic, influencers have the ability to reach your audience quicker and without boosted promotion. 

Photo credit: nbc25news.com

#4 The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Agency: McGarryBowen, Olson Engage

Lastly, you can’t talk about the history of experiential marketing without mentioning the OG – the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Over thirty years ago, Oscar Mayer created the Hotdogger program, where recent college graduates apply to be selected to operate a Wienermobile. Since then, it’s gone viral, been offered as an Airbnb stay, and there are thousands of applications for Weinermobiles each year. 

When the Weinermobile launched decades ago, Oscar Mayer relied on experiential marketing in its purest form by using guerilla marketing tactics and emotional connections to drive brand awareness. The brand understood the importance of forging a connection with the public and generating lifetime value over immediate sales ROI. Mark Zuckerberg was three years old when the Hotdogger program launched – needless to say, the students did not find out about the opportunity via Facebook.

Smart Marketer Takeaway: 

Strive to be authentic as a brand, especially in today’s climate. Oscar Mayer is successful because they have never wavered in staying true to who they are and the marketing strategies that work for them. Guerrilla marketing done right is a polished skill and brands should utilize experiential agencies for the right execution. 

If you’re a brand that’s pledged to the #SHFP campaign, have you considered new ways to allocate your marketing funds? Experiential marketing is ripe with opportunity because it can break through the noise, connect with consumers directly, and get your company the insights it needs for future campaigns. With the right experience design, you can be the hero of your brand’s marketing team and execute creative ideas and strategies for your brand in a post-pandemic world. 

Are you looking to build brand awareness, but don’t know where to start? Sign up for a free brainstorm session with Pineapple’s top creative minds.