29 March 2022

Experiential marketing – success strategies, Netflix and ice cream

If anyone needs reminding why experiential marketing is so powerful, you need to get in your TARDIS, and punch July 2019 into the time-ometer, destination Burbank, California. With any luck, you should open the door to find a Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop, and one of the most successful experiential marketing campaigns in living memory.  

Netflix and Baskin-Robbins hired marketing giants 22Squared to conduct the promotion of Stranger Things 3. 22Squared devised a five-pronged attack, and ticked each and every box that an experiential experience demands for maximum engagement.  

First off was the transformation of two Baskin premises in Burbank and Toronto in an astounding 36 hours into Scoops Ahoy gelato Meccas (Scoops Ahoy being the ice cream shop seen in the series). Following that there was a 15-second commercial announcing the Stranger Things flavour USS Butterscotch which made its first public outing on a touring Scoops Ahoy yacht which doled out free samples. But they didn’t forget all of those punters outside Burbank and Toronto, and interacted with them via Morse Code puzzles hidden in Baskin products and commercials, which in turn led to them experiencing a specially created 80s video game. Last but not least, the obligatory free merchandise, and of course USS Butterscotch featuring in all Baskin stores.  

And the moral of this story is – 2.2 billion media impressions and an increase in Baskin-Robbin sales that exceeded 10%, all in one month.  

So what are those all important boxes that need to be ticked and why? The ‘why’ is easy to answer – a 2020 survey revealed that a whopping 83% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they feel connected to emotionally.  

And how do you do that?  

First off – liberty to experience 

People see the event or pop-up and are lured in to see the goods without buying. At the same time, though, they become connected to the brand through growing familiarity. And the surprise take-home is that even though they don’t walk away with a product, their interaction has already formed a brand-bond. 

They get a chance to interact with the brand 

Real-life experiences make marketing extremely powerful. Try before you buy. Hell, we’ve all gone into the Apple Store to sneakily surf the net on one of their products, and the next thing we know, we’ve just purchased a snazzy new iPad. 

This interaction should also involve as many senses as possible – vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch. This really improves recognition, and again, that all important brand-bonding. 

Have clear marketing goals 

These ensure that the message is on track. They also keep every team member focused on what needs to be achieved and what the performance standards must be. 

Give customers the value they wish for 

Giving value should be the number one priority in marketing, but so many brands forget this. Aim to promote your reliability and unique quality.  

Encourage social sharing 

Encourage customers to take photos of the products. It’s very likely they’ll share them on social media. Need we say more? 

Free goodies 

We all love free goodies. But make them usable, funky and clever. It’s got to be hip if it’s going to be hot… and bragged about. 

Just one last thing to chew on. If the pandemic achieved something for the experiential sector, it was a shift in demand for outdoor experiential spaces. This is rejuvenating town and city centres with pop-ups and more. And with the summer coming, the time is right to reach more customers than ever before. 


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