Best Experiential Activations of 2015

As we embark on the fourth quarter of 2015, we would like to look back at our favorite unique, extravagant, and immersive experiential activations of the year. We’ve seen giant companies like Bud Light and McDonald’s continue to flex their experiential muscle, as usual, but we’ve also seen a lot of other up and coming companies utilizing experiential to gain market share and create a buzz. We’ve followed along with the experiential trends anywhere from promotional mobile tours, to pop-up shops, to full-blown music festivals, and compiled a list of our four favorite activations, in no particular order:

Panda Express – Food Truck Tour

For decades Panda Express’ most popular dish has been the infamous orange chicken. Even despite the popularity of the delicious chicken, Panda Express decided to gain even more momentum for its brand and thus the #OrangeChickenLove Food Truck Tour was born. From early August till the end of the September the orange chicken food truck embarked on a cross-country 8-city tour handing out free orange chicken and rice samples to all visitors along the eight stops. Along with free food samples, orange chicken loving brand ambassadors snapped pictures of guests, shared posts on social media, and guided guests to play several interactive games to win more prizes.

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Gotham/Fox – Gotham Zip Line

Fox Entertainment wanted to go out with a BANG to advertise for “Gotham,” the new Batman-inspired crime TV series that was released in early 2015. To create hype for the release of the new show, Fox went out to San Diego’s 45th Comic-Con to give a real-life superhero experience to all Comic-Con guests. Through a realistic Gotham City skyline, fans were able to zip-line above buildings, acting as if they were soaring through the sky, on their way to fight crime. The zip-line experience created an immediate adrenaline rush, and those willing to soar through the skies received a memorable photo and a free Gotham t-shirt. To further promote the show over the Comic-Con festival, Fox partnered up with Uber for an advertising promotion that would gain considerable exposure throughout San Diego. Comic-Con goers, who also had Uber, could open up the Uber app and select Gotham PD under the slider to reserve the ride. When the Uber drivers pulled up, fans were immediately surprised as they would be getting free Uber rides in custom, antique style Gotham Police cars. Overall, the activation was an astounding success, resulting in over 6,000 fans soaring through the sky on the zip-line experience and thousands of additional impressions through the Gotham-Uber experience.

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Nike – Pop-up Shoebox

Back in February Nike released its new smartphone app, SNKRS, that allowed consumers to design and customize their own Nike shoes and then purchase and pickup their creation at their local Nike store. To generate buzz for the SNKRS app Nike needed to create a unique and Nike-style activation that would blow consumers’ minds. Within the first few weeks of the app launch, giant Nike shoeboxes started popping up in Los Angeles and New York City. The giant pop-up shoebox store was a completely customer retail store featuring LED exterior walls that mimicked the iconic Nike shoebox design. Inside the store was a very modern retail environment with iPads, TVs, and store fixtures showcasing Nike’s newest shoe releases. Nike employees in the store helped guests use the SNKRS app and showed customers how they could design their sneakers and then share their creation via social media. For true shoe enthusiasts that wanted to purchase shoes, they could design custom sneakers (Air Force 1, Air Max, Foamposite, or Air Jordan’s) and then have the shoes delivered to them in-store through a custom sneaker vending machine. The giant shoebox pop-up store was only in New York City for a week, but it generated thousands of impressions, both for the store and the new app, as well as hundreds of on-site sales.

Upslope Beer – Oktoberfest Lager Release

Colorado craft beer brand, Upslope, was releasing their newest Oktoberfest Lager and they needed a unique way to showcase the beer, the brand, and the numerous connections to Colorado. To position the brand as an after-adventure cold beer reward, they crafted the Backcountry Tap Room, consisting of a hiking, food, beer, and music experience in Winter Park, Colorado. Beer enthusiasts took a 2.3 mile hike through Winter Park to get to the end of the High Lonesome Trail, where a rustic environment was created with a custom bar, tree stump seating, outdoor games, and free beer. Hundreds of Upslope beer fans joined in on the experience to try the new Oktoberfest Lager and those who posted pictures of themselves on social media using the #ApresEverything tag at the event were entered into a contest to win free beer for the year.

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