Why Sonos #ListenBetter Worked

Regardless of what their specific taste may be, people are passionate about their music. Music unites people, tapping into their emotions, for richer personal expressions and deeper human connections.

Sonos has connected with that passion to make their brand about more than selling speakers. They want to use technology to help people access their music and improve the audio listening experience from the ground up. The “You Deserve Better” campaign and #ListenBetter identities elevate the brand beyond their product, imbuing the Sonos brand with a values-driven mission.

Speaker systems are a product that is particularly suited to live, experience-driven events, because the product really can’t be demonstrated or sampled any other way. Sonos has built their brand, not on in-store demos, but on live, immediate experiences, connecting their product and their mission with their audience in a direct, meaningful way. Sonos does experiential marketing every day.

In late 2016, Sonos launched the “You Deserve Better” campaign, graphically demonstrating the poor user experience and unwieldy technology of most home audio systems. This campaign culminated in a dramatic “Speaker Amnesty” experience in the heart of London where they allowed the public to trade in their current home speakers for a free Sonos system.

The Speaker Amnesty event harnessed multiple phases to increase brand awareness and drive audience engagement:

  1. Working with Amplify, Sonos built an enormous, eye-catching kiosk at London’s King’s Cross Station, a central and highly-trafficked area
  2. Radio ads and print fliers were distributed heavily in music-friendly venues, inviting people to the Speaker Amnesty
  3. The first 300 people in line could trade in speakers for a Sonos system. This number was high enough, and the proposition appealing enough, to motivate people to start lining up at 4:30am
  4. The event was unusual enough to be news-worthy, attracting attention from traditional media and giving Sonos representatives a first-hand opportunity to explain the “You Deserve Better” campaign.
  5. During the day, working with a local art collective, the donated speakers were transformed into an on-site art installation, shared on Instagram Stories
  6. Overnight, footage captured at the event was edited into a film that was projected onto the kiosk, greeting commuters the following day, and distributed socially.
  7. People who photographed themselves with the installation and used the #ListenBetter hashtag had a further chance to win a Sonos system.

This unique, highly visible, 3-day event harnessed traditional advertising via print and radio, traditional media, social media, and a first-hand brand experience, to reach 450K real-time commuters, create 482K owned impressions, over 1M earned impressions, and over 2K direct consumer engagements.

The Sonos Speaker Amnesty event was an incredibly impactful brand story, and just one of the ways that Sonos has made experiential marketing and #ListenBetter the heart of their company. Sonos’ mission statement makes their values clear:

At Sonos, we will listen, learn and build a community to promote and protect the future of music. We will use our business to support those confronting music under threat, and work towards making music a central part of life for everyone

Sonos has a #ListenBetter grant program, supports musical artists and activists, is a policy advocate, creates meaningful creative and advocacy partnerships in the community, and has a robust calendar of events at tech events and music festivals.

By making the Sonos brand about music, rather than about speakers, Sonos has cultivated a deeper, more meaningful relationship with their consumer, connecting with them about the things that they are passionate about, and transforming their product into something that improves a consumer’s daily experience of their music, their technology, and their home. It’s natural for such a brand to embrace experiential marketing and own it in a way that none of their competitors have yet imagined. Sonos has redefined what people expect from a home audio system, and has Amazon and Apple chasing after them.

Want to make a meaningful relationship with your consumer?

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Beer being poured from a tap

How Challenger Beer, Wine and Spirits Brands Can Compete Using Experiential Marketing Tools

The beer, wine and spirits industry is evolving. There is a consumer trend toward premiumization in spirits, more consumers are drinking wine for its diverse flavor profiles and there’s a shift toward higher-quality beers, which has stimulated growth among craft brewers.

In fact, Eugene Kashper, the millionaire owner of Pabst Brewing Company, believes the beer category will continue to shift away from mainstream lagers and be dominated by super-premium, craft, cider, flavored malt beverages and import beers — categories that will make up 70 percent of sales by 2025 by his projections.


For years, Goliaths such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Constellation Brands, and Brown-Forman have led the industry leveraging their massive advertising budgets. But, with consumer palettes continuing to change, there’s now an opportunity for challenger beer, wine, and spirits brands to take market share.

To compete, though, challenger brands must outthink rather than outspend these category dominators. The success of a challenger brand’s marketing is about creating passion through advocacy and activation, not ad spend.

Challenger beer, wine, and spirits brands are increasingly turning to experiential to make a deeper connection with consumers. Once an afterthought to traditional advertising, events are now a cornerstone of many marketing plans. In fact, experiential and event marketing budgets increased by 6.1% in 2015 according to the EventTrack 2015 report.


In an increasingly digital world, experiential activations are providing consumers a full sensory experience including the opportunity to taste, smell and play with brands — in person. Live, face-to-face, events are being used to gain visibility, entertain and educate. These activations create an emotionalconnection to a brand that cannot be duplicated with mass advertising.

From these events, enthusiastic customers develop a personal link to their favorite beer, wine and spirits brands. They take to social media as an outlet to express their knowledge and passion. This drives word-of-mouth, which

Millennials rank as the number one influencer in their purchasing decisions about packaged goods.

Furthermore, 84% of consumers say that they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness according to Nielsen.


Where Should Challenger Brands Start?

  1. Research – Focus on brand, demographics, competitors, trends and marketing theory/tactics.
  2. Imagination – Ideate the visuals, sound, fragrance, interactivity and taste possibilities.
  3. Strategy – Build an in-depth strategy that keeps ideas effective before, during and after the event, both live and digitally.
  4. Fabricate – Design, build, and customize elements to meet the needs of the project.
  5. Creation – Bring the strategy to life in an immersive activation.

With the right experiential strategy and execution, challenger beer, wine,   and spirits brands can use events to develop brand advocates and leverage social media for unprecedented reach. Experiential is the fire and social media is the fuel that will allow these challenger brands to unseat the incumbents.


Can your brand utilize experiential marketing?

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Bud Light neon sign

Case Study: Bud Light House of Whatever Activation


In the height their “Up for Whatever” or “Summer Bucketlist” campaign, Bud Light wanted to continue its momentum of engaging and building loyalty among the Millennial market. The summer was almost over, but it came to Bud Light’s message, the party wasn’t over yet. Bud Light hit the musical festival circuit and fabricated its own specialty viewing area, ‘House of Whatever’ within TomorrowWorld campground. The challenge was to develop an experiential strategy that would engage and excite Bud Light consumers by creating sharable moments at a major music festival while cutting through the clutter of an already crowded experience.


Bud Light had extreme success with the Up For Whatever campaign for the last few years. In 2015, they decided to extend the campaign to music festivals. The music festival industry has skyrocketed, so choosing the correct festival with the right demographic that aligned with Bud Lights message was no easy task. After conducting extensive research, they choose TomorrowWorld in Atlanta,Georgia. With around 160,000 attendees over three days, Bud Light looked to cut through the clutter of traditional festival marketing. When consumers are there for the music experience, grabbing their attention away from it needs to be relevant, authentic and exciting. Thus, the Bud Light House of Whatever was custom fabricated to not just market to consumers, Bud Light wanted to elevate their overall TomorrowWorld experience.

To help Bud Light build excitement and attract attendees to the House of Whatever, The Pineapple Agency created and executed three activations that were unique, immersive and could relate to festivalgoers lifestyle. Though we didn’t create or physical fabricate the House of Whatever, The Pineapple Agency teamed up with Bud Light to create the attendee experience at the House of Whatever to be a memorable and share-worthy experience.


Bud Light enhanced the TomorrowWorld journey for its fans throughout the festival, from a main stage-viewing platform to the Bud Light Camp of Whatever in Dreamville. Bud Light even created six custom TomorrowWorld Beer cans' – designed by TomorrowWorld artists, which correspond with the festivals fairytale theme. The cans were an absolute hit and sold out at the festival.

The Pineapple Agency wanted to create an overall experience within the House of Whatever, to bring fans in and keep them engaged. Because of our agency background in creating and producing major music festivals, we had a great understanding of the demographic and how to engage them. With just a few weeks to create, plan and prep for one of the largest music festivals in the country, we jumped into the festival experience to create something unique and relevant.

The Pineapple Agency strategized and implemented various activations to meet the objectives of the overall experience. The Pineapple Agency created Totem Poles for fans to bring to life. Attendees of music festivals often build custom made totem poles that represent their groups or themselves personality. You often see funny, scary or even politically charged creations. In many cases, the totems are photographed or videoed by fans and press and one of the first things you recognize in the photo or video. The idea to allow fans to build custom Bud Light branded totem poles was a perfect choice. The Pineapple Agency created an assortment of unique totem accessories, enough to make over 2,000 totems. By the second day of limited hours of operation, all 2,000 totems were created and being used around the festival property. Another experience The Pineapple Agency curated was a Creative Lounge. We wanted to create a place where festival attendees could relax and refresh before their next venture around the more than 1,200 acres of festival land. We created an area where they could get free massages, professional makeup artists and body refreshing products. If the attendee chose, they could also have a professional face painter create a magical creation that all their friends would envy.

  • 3 Day Music Festival – Grossed 94 Million, 160,000+ Attendees
  • 3,000+ interactions
  • 100% Fan Engagement
  • Custom Beer Can Sell out

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See how The Pineapple Agency can help you out with your next activation!

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