Experiential Marketing Ice Axe

Denver Welcomed Outdoor Retailer 2018 and Amazing Brand Experiences

It’s no surprise that one of the world’s biggest outdoor sports shows would be an experiential marketer’s dream. And Outdoor Retailer delivered this past weekend in Denver.

More than 1,000 brands from across the globe descended on the Mile High City to showcase their latest products at the four-day trade show, which moved to Colorado this year after more than two decades in Utah. Vendors were competing for the attention of 11,000 retail buyers, along with members of the press, industry advocates and politicians—so standing out was critical.

The most effective brand experiences were interactive. Take Kahtoola, which makes crampons for winter hiking and trail running. The Flagstaff-based company invited attendees to try on a pair of their MICROspikes and trot across several blocks of ice on-site at the booth. Not only does such a demonstration provide a great opportunity to highlight the product’s efficacy, but it also creates a memorable experience.

Indeed, ice was a common theme at the Outdoor Retailer show, which featured gear, apparel, footwear and accessories for all kinds of snow sports. At the Black Diamond booth, the Salt Lake City equipment manufacturer literally froze its Recon Stretch Ski Shell in ice. To show that their headlamps were actually water resistant, the company had them on display amid a constant stream of water.

Events were another great way that manufacturers engaged with audiences. Show organizers partnered with Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks to host a Fridaynight fashion show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre to exhibit the latest in cold-weather style. The theme was “the whole mountain,” marking the first time in three decades that the outdoor and snow industries joined forces for one trade show.

Simple as they might seem, activities or displays that allow potential customers to touch, feel and see a product are an easy way to induce busy attendees to pause in a crowded convention center. And of course, creating buzz and drawing traffic to your booth gives company representatives more opportunities for in-person brand education. This is even more critical for smaller brands that don’t yet have the retail footprint or name recognition of storied companies like the North Face or Patagonia.

Brand engagement in the outdoor space is more necessary than ever. Like other sectors, the industry is feeling pressure across the board given the shifting shopping habits of millennials. Retail sales of outdoor gear amounted to $18.9 billion during the period of December 2016 to November 2017—a 6-percent drop from the previous year, according to market research firm NPD Group. Younger generations are less likely to demand specialized goods, instead favoring versatility, NPD found.

One way to engage with millennials is to appeal to their commitment to sustainability, and politics was a major theme at Outdoor Retailer. That was due in large part to the industry’s decision to leave its home of two decades, Salt Lake City, in protest of the Trump administration’s decision to scale back Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Several brands used the trade show as an opportunity to weave their views on the issue into their experience.

At the massive KEEN Footwear display, an old-school phone booth was emblazoned the message “call to action.” The exhibit encouraged show attendees to call their representatives to protest the monuments decision. Not to be outdone, Patagonia partnered with environmental advocacy groups for a light show that projected directly onto Denver’s McNichols Building in Civic Center Park along with the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Lakewood. The light show blasted messages like “monuments for all” and “stand with Bears Ears” alongside a countdown clock to Feb. 2, when the Bureau of Land Management is set to open portions of the lands to mining and drilling.

At the Pineapple Agency, we love our outdoor brands and it was great to support our clients at the show: Eartheasy, a sustainable living company; Gogglesoc, maker of stylish and eco-friendly protective coverings for your goggles; Drysure, whose boot and shoe dryers don’t require heat or electricity; and Turbine Outerwear.

Outdoor Retailer is hosting two additional shows in Denver this year in July and November.

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Man swimming and doing the breast stroke

“A New World” – Top Activations from 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Sporting events get no bigger than The Olympics. A colossal world-wide spectacle, the Olympic Games feature supreme athletes. There’s also no shortage of media messaging. Brands are looking to create a Michael Phelps-sized splash with consumers.

And what does grand spectacle need but more grand spectacle. Experiential activations are the perfect way to complement the magnificence of the games. Especially when brands like Coca-Cola and Samsung are setting the pace.

The Pineapple Agency knows a thing or three about awesome experiential campaigns. It’s what we do. We wanted to highlight a few amazing activations that impressed us, for you below.

Here are three examples of kick-ass experiential activations from Rio 2016:

  • Samsung: Fans were invited to Samsung Galaxy Studios to interact with the latest tech offerings from the company. Samsung featured Virtual Reality experiences so visitors could live the Olympic sporting life. At select studios there was a 4D experience. This allowed people to kayak as if they were actually on the water. Visitors could also try out Samsung products. The results matched the grand creativity. Samsung, praised for its activation, garnered an incredible 20,635 mentions and racking up an index ranking of 103 points. This made Samsung the standout sponsor of the 2016 Games. The closest competitor was our next entrant:
  • Coca-Cola: As part of their #ThatsGold Campaign, Coca-Cola created a fan zone designed just for teenagers. Smack dab in the heart of Rio De Janeiro. The space was inspired by the bubbles inside a Coke bottle. It also housed several experiential installations specifically designed for one purpose—to Tweet, Snap and share. For Coke, being teens being social was the thing. An estimated 150,000 fans visited the station during the games. Coca-Cola placed second to Samsung with 17,405 mentions and 94 points on the index ranking scale. Wow!
  • Panasonic: Panasonic’s Stadium of Wonders tech showcase was created to allow fans to design their own Olympic moments, and learn the history of the games. The Activation included the latest tech and showcased transparent screens and new Light ID technology. Experiential activations for a sporting event such as this should be big, showy and exciting. The Games themselves are a spectacle. If you’re going to compete with them, you better bring your “A” game and knock it out of the park. These brands understood this. They also understood who their audience was; creating something their fans were excited to be a part of.

Have you ever attended an Olympic event? Image, showing up for an event and taking part in an experiential campaign. Who wouldn’t want to jump into a bubble from a Coke bottle? I’m standing in that line all day.

Want to learn how The Pineapple Agency can inject a little spice into your product or brand?

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Sneakers in rain

Why Reebok’s “Are You Fast Enough” Worked

This recent experiential brand activation in Stockholm, Sweden, unsuspectingly confronted pedestrians with a challenge from Reebok. In order to promote their new shoe, the Reebok ZPump 2.0, the company set up a display case full of shoes that also had a speed camera. The challenge to the consumer was simple: run faster than 17kilometers per hour (approximately 10.5 miles per hour) and you win a free pair of the shoes from the display case.


While not the first challenge of its kind, Reebok’s “Are You Fast Enough” was able to engage consumers and showcase its brand in a way that was in line with the company’s tagline “Be more human.” The fun, competitive atmosphere created something that was “disruptive and unique,” according to Markus Schramm of ad agency Animal, which created the project. The results were staggering with 172,992 Youtube views in the first 48 hours.

Why it worked:

– Reebok’s “Are You Fast Enough” tapped into one of the fundamental human natures: competition. By creating a challenge rooted in their branding goals, the company was able to effectively reach and engage customers in this experience. It also gained the attention of many advertising and marketing publications from around the globe, so not only did it engage and excite consumers, it has a lasting impact long after the marketing campaign was implemented.

– T8183923_reebok-will-give-you-a-free-pair-of-shoes_4d99feb_mhis project is a great example of how a company can take their brand and bring it to life via an experience. While the goal of any such activation is to increase awareness of the product, Reebok managed to not only create excitement centered around the product but also immerse the participants in the brand itself. By making running look fun, Reebok created an advertisement that inspired consumers to run and push their limits.

Interested in Experiential Marketing?

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Stadium filled with sports fans

Activating Your Brand with Sports and Experiential


In recent years, brands have started placing higher importance on creating activations that center around sporting events throughout the world. Brands such as Bud Light and Microsoft have utilized sponsorships and experiential activations to tap into a specifically targeted market of consumers who are extremely loyal to certain sports leagues, teams, and players, ultimately resulting in the perfect opportunity to connect a brand with a sporting event that the audience is already passionate about. Bud Light’s Up For Whatever, which is heavily marketed during the NFL season, and Microsoft’s extreme sports Dew Tour capitalize on creating memorable connections between their brand and the consumers at these events, ultimately resulting in brand loyalty and repeat purchasing. These and many other brands are starting to see why experiential marketing is the perfect gateway for a company to seamlessly introduce their brand into the sporting event, which can enhance the consumer experience and create meaningful brand associations, if done correctly.

Heineken, one of the world’s largest beverage companies, has started mapping out its experiential strategy for the remainder of 2015, implementing a specific engagement strategy targeted around the 2015 Rugby World Cup taking place at Twickenham in England. Throughout the Rugby World Cup (RWC), Heineken will activate over 5,000 Heineken RWC Clubhouses throughout Australia, which serve as unique watch parties where rugby fans can watch the matches, participate in Heineken promotions, and ultimately earn a chance to win tickets to the Rugby World Cup Final in England.

Heineken will enhance the on-site experience through offering their own original digital content from the Heineken Rugby Studio, featuring interviews and commentary from the Heineken rugby legends Jonah Lomu and Rocky Elsom, along with other rugby legends from Australia, England, Ireland, and South Africa. Heineken wants to expand its reach past the 5,000 on-site activations, so they will also be introducing a limited edition 1st XV can pack, featuring the the iconic Heineken branding mixed with the beauty of the prestigious Rugby World Cup William Webb Ellis cup, which fans will be able to purchase from select bars and liquor stores. Accompanying the limited edition can is an enhanced website dedicated solely to the Rugby World Cup, offering fans an opportunity to connect with each other via social media, watch the engaging content from the Heineken Rugby Studio, and locate bars or ‘Heineken Fanzones’ where fans can watch the match and enjoy a Heineken.

HEINEKEN RWC BOTTLE (1)-thumb-200x266-198625

The magic behind Heineken’s activation is that they are not only sponsoring thousands of events and enhancing the fan experience, they are doing it in a way that is authentic and real. By creating their own original content, Heineken is able to create associations between the beer brand and the Rugby World Cup with the hope of enticing fans to try out the beer and make their rugby watching experience more exciting than ever before. Heineken is using experiential marketing in a unique and genuine way that encompasses in-person, digital, and social experiences, allowing the company to reach hundreds of thousands of rugby fans throughout Australia and the rest of the world.

Learn more about Experiential Marketing.

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Tradeshow floor

Why LG’s NCAA Final Four Fan Fest Experience Worked

LG recently embarked on a new experiential activation at the NCAA Final Four Fan Fest by turning consumers and fans into LG’s latest basketball recruits. The activation was intended to create buzz about LG’s newest products but to do it in a creative way that immersed fans and made them feel like they were being recruited by a Division 1 Men’s basketball program.

The experience started with LG recruits registering for RFID wristbands that would link to the recruits’ Facebook and Twitter profiles for social image sharing. After getting a wristband, recruits were taken into the player’s lounge which was outfitted with leather couches and a bevy of LG products such as a touch-screen game table, LG’s new refrigerator, LG’s Music Flow speakers, as well as LG’s new curved OLED TV’s.

From the player’s lounge recruits were guided into the locker room which featured glossy oak lockers and jerseys to mimic a traditional basketball locker room. LG also placed their newest washing machines in the locker room, which were customized to become a mini basketball shooting game, creating a heated battle between recruits to see who could make the most shots.

From the locker room, LG took recruits to a practice gym that had 25 LG G3 smartphones set up to capture the consumers doing their best dunk in 4K resolution. Consumers could then get a replay of their dunk in the film room, which featured a 105-inch LG Ultra HD 4K TV.

LG concluded the experience for its recruits by taking them through the Hall of Champions which had a custom-built digital prize wheel, controlled by LG’s gesture control TV remote. Depending on what the segment of the prize wheel the recruit landed on, they could take away a microfiber cloth, lanyards with ticket holders, compression sleeves, sweatbands, and even a $50 Lowe’s gift card.

Why LG’s NCAA Final Four Fan Fest Experience Worked – The Pineapple View:

  • LG created an immersive experience and engaged with its audience in a way that was relevant with the NCAA Final Four tournament and the company’s many product lines. LG transformed the environment so well that it actually seemed like the consumers were actual recruits being touted along through a sports program’s official athletic facility. This experience made the audience much more receptive to LG’s messaging and brand.
  • LG utilized its digital product technology to create a digital conversation at the experience and then continue the conversation well after consumers left the activation. The RFID wristbands were an excellent way to collect consumer information and ignite social sharing without being intrusive and pushy. Through the NFC technology of the wristband, the photos and videos everyone took would automatically be posted to social, which made it easy for consumers to post and allowed LEG to track all the interactions.

Overall, we believe LG did an excellent job of creating an interactive experience that excited its consumers and left them with memories that they will be talking about for several years. By interacting with its target audience in a meaningful and relevant way, LG is able to build new associations with its brand which helps in emotionally connecting the LG brand with the consumer. The connection established between potential consumers and the LG brand also lead to an increased likelihood in making an LG purchase, which is the ultimate goal of this experiential activation.

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