It’s ironic that an industry built on the idea that it can cut through the clutter of traditional marketing is becoming a pretty cluttered space in its own right. But that’s what happens when you become successful—everybody wants a piece.
And so in our annual special review of the year’s top event campaigns, our judges meticulously sifted through more than 850 event programs submitted across 26 categories to find those experiences that not only broke through the clutter, but also broke the mold. And in the process, moved the industry forward.
Here, we offer our digital guide to the 2014 Ex Awards–the best campaigns of the last 12 months. Each Ex winner is profiled and each campaigned summarized, and then we highlight some of the standout elements: which trends were put into play, what measurable results were generated and how the overall campaign played out. You can search by category, or peruse through the whole lot. You’ll also find links to sizzle reels from many of the campaigns, all of which are available on our Ex Awards Playlist on the Event Marketer YouTube Channel. We hope you’ll check it all out, and share with colleagues and friends.
Congratulations to all of this year’s Ex Awards finalists and winners. Keep it up—we’re watching you.
—Jessica Heasley, Group Editor
Download the Full List of Winners
The 2014 Grand Ex Award
Campus Connections: Target and Deutsch push the boundaries of college marketing with the Grand Ex-winning Bullseye University Live
Over the last few years, no retailer has embraced experiential marketing like Target. The company has wired live experiences throughout the entire marketing mix, threading engagement into everything it does. From sponsorships and grassroots marketing to guerrilla efforts and beyond, the programs are simultaneously national and local, in-store and out—and amplified online and offline.
It’s always about big ideas, big activations and big results. “If it’s not remarkable, it will be invisible,” says Dan Griffis, the company’s vp-experiential marketing and alliances. … Continue Reading
BEST RETAIL/IN-STORE EVENT CAMPAIGN
EX AWARD WINNER
Campaign: Gatorade Walmart Tour
Agency: PGW Experience
WHY IT’S A WINNER. Gatorade’s strategy enabled it to have repeat interactions with the consumers on-site. The brand engaged consumers outside the store, sent them directly to the product in-store, incentivized purchase of the product (on discount) and then sent them back out to the activation to claim a prize.
TRENDS IN ACTION. “Closing the loop” between the live experience and the sale is becoming the new imperative. The in-hand call to action strategy Gatorade used to guarantee a sale eliminated the question of whether the message sunk in. ROI? Check.
THE CASE STUDY. After a slight decline in Q1 sales at Walmart, Gatorade decided it needed a surgical strike at the retailer to reach bargain-hunting moms in a meaningful way. It also wanted to push its messaging on its core teen consumers–male athletes, typically, who can and do make Gatorade purchases on their own, but also rely on a very important main decision-maker of the family to pick up the product on the regular trip to the market: mom.
Gatorade sent a fleet of five Ford Transit vans dubbed the “G-Units,” which were outfitted with slide-out sampling cages and built-in coolers, to more than 1,000 participating Walmart locations. Consumers walked up to the G-Unit and sampled the drink with a brand ambassador while viewing integrated media content from professional athletes, which helped teach them about Gatorade’s “Prime and Recover System”—a trio of drink solutions for active bodies. Afterward, they could take photos at a station with a backdrop featuring an iconic Gatorade sports moment and have it printed as a custom Gatorade bottle label.
Key to the experience, however, was the G-Tag Card game piece featuring a unique prize redemption code that could be scanned at G-Tag Stations located at the Gatorade display inside Walmart. Once consumers scanned the card, the in-store kiosk displayed what the consumer had won (from hats to sunglasses and other giveaways). The trick: The digital in-store display printed out a coupon that would be validated at the register with a purchase of Gatorade and then had to be taken back to the G-Unit in order to claim the listed prize, a strategy which generated sales spikes in addition to making Gatorade top of mind for the entire shopping experience.
RESULTS. More than 1.5 million samples and consumer engagements were recorded, with sales results spiking to more than 500 percent on activation days, and often selling out the entire floor display in just one day. “Our customer [Walmart] is already asking how soon we can do this again,” the brand said.
Client: Corby Wine and Spirits
Campaign: Campo Viejo LCBO Tasting
Agency: BOOM! Marketing
Food and wine go hand in hand, and in a culturally relevant setting, both just seem to taste better, don’t they? To build awareness for its Campo Viejo wine while bringing a contemporary look and feel to the Spanish wine category, Corby Wine and Spirits activated in-store sampling at LCBO stores in Toronto, the greater Toronto area, and Ottawa, bringing a little bit of Spain to each.
The Spanish tapas-style restaurant activations within the LCBOs evoked all the senses. Brand ambassadors dressed in Flamenco-inspired outfits—a red ensemble with black embellishments and a tousled bun (for the ladies)—greeted consumers with an “Hola!” and a one-ounce sample of the Crianza and Reserva varietals. Flowers, a small artist easel and a platter of cheeses and cured meats were set out on a large table. The ambassador led the tasting as a Spanish acoustic guitarist performed, which included a food pairing prepared by an on-site chef. The two dishes, Patatas Bravas and Ceviche, were infused with Campo, giving consumers another incentive to purchase the product. As consumers learned about the wine, they also learned about the dishes.
These elements encouraged consumers to linger and, according to the brand, many started dancing with their significant other—an element that surely left a lasting brand impression and complemented the brand’s “Live Uncorked” message. And the brand saw a lasting effect from the program with a recorded 180 percent increase in ROI and more than 974 total units sold across 40 activations. Salud!
Check out video HERE
Client: Microsoft Xbox
Campaign: Xbox One Retail Launch
Agency: Matter Inc.
Midnight launches for gaming events typically attract core gamers and early technology adopters—essentially, the folks who will camp out for a coveted product. But with its new Xbox One console, a system that offers complex interactive games for core gamers, as well as family-friendly physical activity gaming, Microsoft wanted to get gamers and families amped up to purchase at its retail stores.
Microsoft settled on an in-store launch plan that involved two iterations of tournaments. The first was the six-market “Killer Instinct Fighter Tournaments” held 8 p.m. to midnight with 265 players participating across 16 consoles. In the end, one victorious player from each market crowned the “ultimate fighter” finalist at midnight was—check it—flown with a guest the following day to Jacksonville, FL, for the final Killer Instinct Ultra Fighter Showdown Ultimate Champion face-off. The winners competed on stage in front of 2,000-plus spectators. Afterward, the six winners and their guests were treated to a Macklemore and dj Ryan Lewis meet-and-greet and concert experience.
For the family target, the brand sustained and extended the momentum into the next weekend at retail stores with the Xbox One Sports Star Challenge across 10 markets. Fans of all ages lined up to meet sports heroes, whose presence drove buzz. Attendees played games with the stars, took photos and entered into raffle drawings to win autographed sports memorabilia. Between the two legs of the campaign, the brand earned an impressive 488 million p.r. impressions. Game. On.
BEST USE OF GUERRILLA/STREET MARKETING
EX AWARD WINNER
Client: William Wrigley Jr. Co.
Campaign: Excel Gumergency
Agency: GMR Marketing
WHY IT’S A WINNER. This provocative and playful campaign turned what could have been a simple sampling strategy for a broad target into one that generated real-time social engagement and share-worthy content both on the brand’s social media pages and on the vehicle’s social wall.
TRENDS IN ACTION. Surprise interactions with an actor onboard a mobile vehicle gave consumers an experience to talk about. These types of “shareworthy sampling” strategies are giving basic product trial experiences massive boosts in social reach.
THE CASE STUDY. Imagine walking down the street with a cup of coffee and hearing a booming voice warning you that in due time that hot beverage could leave you with a “gumergency”… coffee breath, that is. It’s how Wrigley interrupted high-traffic areas in Vancouver and Toronto over 26 days to boost awareness of its Excel gum with the Excel Gumergency Mobile Unit, a box truck with glass walls containing a command center of sorts and a trained actor who served as the Gumergency Operator and spoke to consumers going about their day-to-day routine with a playful sense of urgency, and even took calls from outside.
Passerby enjoying coffee, food and other items that may cause bad breath were encouraged to take “breathalyzer” tests with brand ambassadors to determine the level of their gumergency. They received an Excel sample (size determined by the level of severity… maybe one for a muffin, or 10 for an onion sandwich) to help resolve the problem.
In addition to the live interaction, Wrigley promoted the #gumergency hashtag to generate real-time social engagement and share-worthy content. Consumers could post about their experience on Twitter and Instagram and by using the hashtag, their post was promoted on a live LED ticker board and social wall attached to the truck.
The messaging behind the gumergency campaign, which began with 30-second spots on YouTube featuring “Randy Johnson,” the not-so-friendly gumergency hotline operator, was that “gum can solve gumergencies and give people the confidence to get closer.” Certainly, closer to the Wrigley brand.
RESULTS. Some 2,130 breathalyzer tests were administered with 215,000 Excel samples distributed, in addition to 392,000 live in-market impressions.
Check out video HERE
Client: Burger King
Campaign: What the French Fry
Agency: Moderne Communications
There are few more loyalty inducing food products out there than fast food French fries. So to shake up what we all know about our favorite deep fried potato sticks in promoting its new French fry offering “Satisfries,” a lower in fat and calorie option, Burger King decided to leave its mark—on the streets, and in our minds. It began with the wild posting of the hashtag #WTFF (What the French Fry) in high-traffic areas in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. There were 1,000 market-specific wild postings, 225 neon chalk stencils and 70 power-washed stencils. This unbranded, non-traditional media strategy immediately got consumers buzzing on social media, asking #WTF is #WTFF?
Burger King let that buzz build for three days before dropping life-sized unbranded eight-foot crinkle cut French fry installations throughout key locations and offering free “wi-fry” hot spots around them. Consumers then spread the movement virally and by playfully hijacking the #WTFF marked giant fries, carrying them throughout the city, onto Subway cars, on bicycles, even walking in the background of NBC’s “Today” show, in one case. Photos trickled in through Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter accounts, extending the life of the campaign beyond the actual lifespan of the media installations.
The organic interactions that spread as a result of the campaign resulted in nearly 13 million impressions through unbranded and non-traditional street media alone. Social media impressions totaled a little more than 2.4 million through 153 tweets over the course of the four days. Pass the ketchup, please.
Check out video HERE
Campaign: Prepare Your Cakeface
Agency: Bernstein-Rein, Marketing Werks, LAK
For many years the beloved Twinkie was a childhood lunch bag staple, and when that fluffy yellow cake nearly went extinct two years ago, nostalgia-induced panic set in. After it was purchased out of bankruptcy, however, Hostess prepared for a re-launch of Twinkie and its other most popular snack, CupCakes, with a very new target to engage outside of its previous, loyal core mom target—convenience store males ages 18 to 34, the highest consuming snack purchaser in that channel.
Hostess took full advantage of the masses “in mourning,” specifically those that loved Twinkies but hadn’t had one since childhood. To grab these consumers’ attention, the brand activated “Prepare Your Cakeface” to prepare these consumers for the launch. For more than a week Hostess targeted high-visibility areas in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles with thousands of unbranded signs bearing that slogan. By doing a simple search of the slogan, consumers pulled up a microsite that promoted the use of the hashtag #cakeface and aggregated in real-time the Vines and Instagram videos consumers posted of themselves “stretching their mouths” in preparation for the snacks’ re-launch. Teams also hit the streets with t-shirts, stamped hands with the hashtag and gathered crowds together for “mouth stretching” exercises.
This campaign took full advantage of the social media savvy demographic. On Vine, #cakeface trended nationally. On top of that, Twinkies sales increased 185 percent and CupCakes sales increased 53 percent year-over-year. Om, nom nom.
Check out video HERE
BEST MALL EVENT PROGRAM
EX AWARD WINNER
Campaign: #HolidayRealness Tour
Agency: Geometry Global
WHY IT’S A WINNER. Nokia turned the standard device demo—a pushy, pick it up, click some buttons, maybe snap a photo experience—into a festive and lasting experience that left consumers with one-of-a-kind takeaways, all thanks to the power of the product.
TRENDS IN ACTION. A seamless transition from the online campaign to the live experience created continuity for consumers. This program also had a “disruptive” edge that pushed through the typical holiday season clutter.
THE CASE STUDY. How often are the holidays celebrated a la cliché? The cookies, the fireplace, the nuclear family positioned around the tree. In reality, not all holidays are made equal. Using a “disruptive” strategy that shook up the holidays and celebrated “real” people with their own unique, unfiltered holiday traditions, Nokia launched the #HolidayRealness Experiential Tour, a two-part, nine-market program that activated for five weeks between Black Friday and the weekend after Christmas.
The program split across five in-mall markets (Chicago, Denver, New York and Washington, D.C.), and four outdoor markets for a mobile truck leg (Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco). Then, there was Nokia’s online Holiday Realness hub, which helped the brand promote the hashtag #holidayrealness and campaign through a series of digital short films featuring real people and their wacky traditions. Think Santa surfing with Rudolph, a doggy Christmas and “extreme caroling,” to name a few.
Among the experiences at the mall stops was a photo activation using Nokia Lumia phones featuring quirky holiday backdrops and props that consumers could share across social media channels, or take home as printed gift tags to use on gifts. There were demo stations that showed off the Lumia’s low-light imaging capabilities, as well as its zoom functions. And then, there was the snow globe. Consumers climbed inside the snow globe for a chance to grab a “snowflake” tied to a prize (think money machine). Prizes ranged from Nokia devices to an Xbox to lumps of coal. Branded giveaways were awarded when consumers engaged with the product at the demo stations. The favorite: ugly holiday sweater mock t-shirts.
RESULTS. The brand recorded 269,510 interactions with consumers and 137,325 direct engagements. There were 97,134 product demonstrations and consumer spent an average of four-minutes at the experience; eight to 10 minutes at some stops.
Check out video HERE
Campaign: Family Room
It’s not always easy getting everyone in the room—family, especially—to agree on what to watch on television, but Netflix over the last holiday season set out to prove it can serve as the common denominator. While millions of consumers are getting in on streaming services that allow them to curate television viewing, rather than be subjected to unwanted channels and commercials (even “cutting the cord” of cable in some cases), many still don’t understand how it works and what you get.
The Netflix Family Room in-mall campaign targeted non- Netflix users, primarily, passing through popular shopping areas in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and San Francisco for two weeks during the holiday season.
The 12- by 15-foot spaces looked like your standard American living room with a fireplace and comfortable chairs. Consumers entering the space could grab a seat and watch streaming holiday movies, take holiday photos with props, or wrap some of their purchased gifts at a gift-wrapping station. Brand ambassadors outfitted in branded holiday sweatshirts engaged consumers with iPads to share how to use, sign-up and give Netflix as a gift, as well as answer questions from existing customers.
All of the experiences were “no-obligation,” meaning you didn’t have to register to do it. Netflix wanted to provide positive interactions with the brand, rather than conduct surveys and collect data. It did record interactions, including 23,773 living room engagements and 26,120 product demonstrations. There were 12,811 gifts wrapped, too. It’s a wrap, thanks to Netflix.
Campaign: Holiday House
Agency: Pop2Life Creative
Is there anything more magical than a life-size multi-level gingerbread house? The HGTV Holiday House nailed it with multiple touch points that engaged shoppers with the brand. The house, positioned at Santa Monica Place, an upscale mall in Santa Monica, CA, stayed open for six weeks during the holidays and complemented a 2,000-square-foot HGTV pop-up showroom—a retail space featuring products from the HGTV Home line of merchandise.
Inside, Santa Claus was available for pictures with consumers (there was a pet photo event as well). Activities ranged from coloring stations with easels for kids and a resting spot for parents to hang out, to sampling hot cocoa and cookies to a tacky sweater contest and themed talent appearances from popular HGTV shows and from HGTV magazine. There was also an HGTV custom holiday “winter sledding” photo experience for consumers to take part in. Consumers entered the HGTV Home Holiday Cash Giveaway for a chance to win $10,000 and meet popular network talent. Everyone left with a giant HGTV shopping bag takeaway. Every night the entire space lit up with a mix of music and lights for a three-hour light show.
With activation events such as the HGTV Holiday House and many others throughout the year, along with premieres of several new original shows, HGTV achieved its highest rated and most watched year ever in 2013 among adults ages 25 to 54. The network finished 2013 as the #1 cable network among upscale female viewers for the seventh consecutive year.
Check out video HERE
BEST P.R. STUNT
EX AWARD WINNER
Client: WestJet Airlines
Campaign: Christmas Miracle
Agency: studio m, Mosaic, Globacore, The Taylor Group
WHY IT’S A WINNER. So much more than a mere one-time stunt, this program turned a surprise and delight experience for 250 consumers into a social media sensation that exceeded all p.r., awareness and brand perception goals. Kudos, too, for the impressive on-site set, hidden cameras and proprietary technology it took to pull it off.
TRENDS IN ACTION. After filming the stunt start to finish, WestJet systematically promoted the video online, leading to a record-breaking viral result and proving that event content is a viable buzz generator that can extend the value of the live investment.
THE CASE STUDY. Holiday travel is often hectic or, at the least, typical, and airports tend to be the last place we expect to feel happy—unless we’re leaving them. To create a memorable and lasting experience for 250 passengers last year, WestJet activated the holiday stunt “Christmas Miracle.” The Canadian carrier set up virtual kiosks at two international airports for two Calgary-bound flights. Passengers scanned their boarding passes prompting a live video stream of a virtual WestJet Santa Claus asking them—by name—what they wanted for Christmas.
In WestJet’s nearby Digital Command Center, a team of more than 150 volunteer “WestJetters” became Santa’s Helpers and purchased and wrapped personalized gifts for all the guests aboard the two flights. When the passengers got off the plane and headed to baggage claim they discovered a holiday paradise with decorations and lights. Then, they watched as the festively decorated carousel roared to life and brought down not just their luggage, but also the gifts that each had requested merely hours before. One passenger even got a flat screen TV. Seriously.
Nineteen hidden cameras captured the experience and guests reactions from departure to arrival. The video was unveiled on WestJet’s YouTube page, which set off a viral sensation. The brand offered to provide free flights to reunite families in need through its longtime partner, Ronald McDonald House Charities, once the video reached 200,000 views. The brand followed up with a carefully crafted communication plan involving social media, press releases and a broadcast media tour to spread the video’s love.
RESULTS. The video got some 35 million views on YouTube and was one of the most watched viral ads of 2013 worldwide, exceeding the brand’s goal of 500,000 views by 7,000 percent. In addition, the brand reported revenue year over year increases of 86 percent, boosts in bookings of 77 percent and visits to WestJet.com up by 100 percent.
Check out video HERE
Client: The Clorox Co.
Campaign: Soy Vay Apollo ’13 Space Mission
Agency: Swirl Integrated Marketing, Current
For foodies, meals are about much more than sustenance—they connect people. And the food products they love, well, the good ones have a good story behind them. Like The Clorox Company’s Soy Vay sauce, which got started by friends at a potluck party in 1980. The product has a small, extremely passionate following, but Clorox wanted to get scrappy, expand and create an awesome story to make Soy Vay top of mind with more consumers.
The campaign, “The Awesome Sauce,” set out to build interest and buzz by investigating whether or not a Soy Vay marinated chicken would cook in space. The result was Soy Vay Apollo ’13, a Soy Vay bottle-shaped space capsule containing a marinated chicken that would launch from Nashville, TN, (meeting FAA regulations) and go upward via a weather balloon (while slowly cooking in sub-zero degree temperatures) to 100,000 feet and into the stratosphere. The balloon would then— and did—pop, sending the capsule slowly back to earth, which was then tracked via GPS and retrieved by a chaser vehicle. Upon retrieval, the chicken was taken to a post-launch event to be consumed by the masses.
The closing event was held at Cumberland Park in Nashville, where consumers enjoyed food, live music and giveaways. A campaign event-landing page offered all the details on the mission, a peek into the space capsule, the team and the history-making recipe. By the end of the stunt, 52 percent of those aware were “more likely” to purchase because of the campaign. Soy Vay also experienced a 63 percent increase in aided brand name recognition.
Check out video HERE
Campaign: Miami Takeover
Agency: VOK DAMS
How do you create an event for a dream car? To launch the new Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, Lamborghini decided a standard test drive program would be too “mediocre,” so it invited 400 international guests to be part of a wild parade of 25 brightly colored and impressively loud Roadsters in Miami South Beach. For the stunt, the City of Miami closed off streets and allocated escorts to accommodate the vehicles. All of the guests—automotive and lifestyle press, stakeholders and select VIPs—stayed with the brand for the full 1.5-day experience.
At a welcome dinner, the guests were treated to a Lamborghini fashion show, followed by the chance to mingle with Lamborghini executives to get the intimate details of the car and its design process. The following day the guests got behind the wheel for the parade where they were welcomed with shouts and applause along the streets. The scenic route took the guests to Homestead Raceway where they could unleash the power and experience vehicle performance. On the way back to the hotel there was an unexpected stop made at Miami International Airport, where selected guests had the chance to “drag race” an American Airlines Boeing 777. The Lamborghini Aventador easily won, according to the brand. The program wrapped with a public unveiling and a pop-up store, where Lamborghini apparel was offered.
Of the 200 international publications invited, 120 put the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster on their cover. The brand couldn’t have been any louder.
Check out video HERE
BEST INTEGRATED TRADE SHOW CAMPAIGN
EX AWARD WINNER
Campaign: Every 2 Minutes PAX Launch
WHY IT’S A WINNER. Mountain Dew and Doritos gave attendees a new way to look at the a typical expo experience by turning the Seattle Convention Center into a game board consumers could explore throughout the weekend with opportunities to win hidden around every corner.
TRENDS IN ACTION. The activation brought together elements of mobile, experiential and social marketing all under a gamification-style overlay that rewarded early adopters and frontloaded participants in the program.
THE CASE STUDY. To drive buzz leading up to the “Every 2 Minutes” digital program, where every two minutes consumers would have the chance to win an Xbox One, PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew and Doritos brands launched a program at the gaming Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, which became the first-ever promotion to use live + digital, point-based auctions to reward participants with prizes.
Attendees were encouraged to play the game by downloading the official PAX Guidebook app and then registering within the app for the “Every 2 Minutes” on-site experience. Participants were instructed to seek out Dew and Doritos branded codes hidden throughout the PAX floor, the surrounding hotels and the city of Seattle at large. Each code had its own unique point value, with over a hundred codes in all.
Those fans who actively collected codes earned the opportunity to redeem points for a wide array of exclusive prizes at the Dew and Doritos marketplace, ranging from bottles of an unreleased Mountain Dew Game Fuel flavor and limited-edition Doritos Gamer Packs, to branded t-shirts and hoodies and high-value gaming accessories, all the way up to highly coveted four-day VIP passes for PAX 2014. Ultimately, fans were encouraged to stock up on points for a live auction event on Sunday night, during which they’d have a chance to bid on Xbox One systems, staking claim to one long before they hit shelves.
Two thousand attendees showed up to participate in the auctions, with 30 walking away winners. The auction event, hosted by professional auctioneer and gaming celebrity host John Carnage, became one of the most talked-about experiences of the entire PAX weekend—and its unique auction format got thousands ready to participate in the “Every 2 Minutes” online promotion going live a few weeks later.
RESULTS. More than 5,000 prizes were redeemed in the marketplace, and the program in all received 416 million impressions. There were also 2,000 unique tweets reaching over five million followers.
Check out video HERE
Campaign: IBS 2013
Agency: Impact Unlimited
To showcase its portfolio of products for residential construction that can be used for sustainable construction, BASF at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas invited visitors on a tour of the company’s BEYOND.High Performance net-zero energy home, located just outside the convention center. The full-scale home, complete with landscaping and decking, was shown in both its construction and finished phases—all to drive adoption of BASF products. And to drive home that message of sustainability, the company made all the product information accessible electronically, through RFID-enabled targets. That’s right, no brochures required.
A hostess greeted visitors, set them up with an RFID bracelet and then sent small groups on a guided tour. There were 12 stops throughout the experience where the guides highlighted products and used networked iPads that allowed them to “magically” activate monitors to play intro videos or cue lights that focused the attention of visitors on specific solutions. As the visitors identified products of interest, they “tapped” their RFID wristbands at tap stations and information was automatically emailed to them. BASF collected valuable information about product preferences and customized additional digital information tailored to the individual visitors’ interests. A virtual tour of the home, every room, every product stop, and every video, was made available after the show.
Over the course of the three-day conference, more than 1,700 visitors registered and toured the BASF show home, representing a 20 percent increase over the previous year’s count. Home, sweet, home.
Client: Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Campaign: Western Veterinary Conference 2013
Agency: 3D Exhibits
Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution did one thing that most pet weight loss solutions don’t—it achieved an 88 percent success rate during in-home trials, which is considered an impressive number in the pet care industry. To maximize exposure of the product and that stat among the vets, vet techs, students and staff attending the Western Veterinary Conference, Hill’s threw a “housewarming party” that set the scene for pet care at patient households. The brand pre-registered 4,879 attendees through pre-show mailing and advertising and then hosted the party at a booth display that resembled a suburban home—complete with siding, windows, roof, kitchen and patio.
Opening ceremonies included a 10-minute presentation from the brand and a singing flash mob in the “living room.” Reps then met veterinarians one-on-one in small seating areas in the “kitchen” where all of the study data was made available. The brand also sponsored a symposium where Hill’s Advanced Weight Loss Solution was a topic, and two lunches that included a presentation and attracted 650 attendees, total. The brand distributed green “88 percent shirts” to the first 400 attendees at the luncheon. Those spotted wearing it the following day were given $5 Starbucks gift cards. One attendee received a $100 Amazon gift card.
In an exit survey, 97 percent of exhibit visitors remembered the 88 percent figure and 97 percent said they were very likely or likely to prescribe the product. There were 155 orders taken for 18,218 pounds of the product, doubling the amount sold in 2012.
BEST MULTICULTURAL EVENT CAMPAIGN
EX AWARD WINNER
Campaign: Heineken House: The Music Labs
WHY IT’S A WINNER. It’s all about access. As part of a new approach to its sponsorship of the Latin GRAMMY’s, Heineken’s event space Heineken House brought together Latin artists, media industry VIPs and consumers for experiences that gave everyone a behind-the-scenes look at the recording, creative and reporting process.
TRENDS IN ACTION. A highly targeted program, Heineken House was tailored solely to Hispanic consumers for the first time. The Media Lab also tapped into a trend toward more media-friendly interview spaces within consumer activations.
THE CASE STUDY. To reinvigorate its longtime sponsorship of the Latin GRAMMY Awards and target Hispanic male consumers, Heineken took over the Eye Candy Lounge, a high-traffic location within the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and transformed it into Heineken House. Over the three-day activation, Heineken immersed visitors in the sights and sounds of Latin music through an array of activations and nightly programming.
At the Heineken House, guests were greeted by a brand ambassador and invited to check out experiences such as the Sound Lab, Heineken’s on-site custom built recording studio. During the day consumers would see award winning Latin music producer Toy Selectah and his sound engineer Frank “El Medico” Rodriguez collaborating with various music artists within this studio that was encased in Plexiglas. Outside of the studio, there were listening stations that featured information on the Sound Lab along with biographies on the producer and sound engineer.
During the day, the Media Lab provided media, p.r. partners and bloggers with a comfortable, dedicated lounge space to conduct audio and video interviews, network and focus on Latin GRAMMY’s coverage. Heineken provided amenities such as phone charging stations and food. The response to the Media Lab was so overwhelming that other rooms within the Heineken House were used for interviews, so one could find oneself only a few feet away from top Latin artists as they did interviews with top national media outlets such as Univision.
Projected above was the Heineken Star Wall, a live feed of Event2Pix photographs taken of consumers by brand ambassadors equipped with iPads. The evening programming drew in thousands and offered live performances from Latin artists as well as dj sets that moved the crowd all night long. The venue was so popular that it was constantly at capacity across the three nights.
RESULTS. Attendance increased by 28 percent, topping 3,500 guests throughout the week and included performances from 19 recording artists, including nine Latin GRAMMY nominees.
Check out video HERE
Client: Moët Hennessy
Campaign: What’s your Wild Rabbit?
Agency: Strategic Experiential Group
Moët Hennessy’s “What’s Your Wild Rabbit” campaign launched in 2012, but for the first time, in 2013 sought out a deeper connection with African-American and Hispanic millennial guys. The strategy: exclusive experiences for these consumers who are known for being early adopters. Part of this evolution of the program also included a refocus towards social media as Hennessy re-positioned its platform with Instagram as the primary outlet, and Twitter serving as secondary support.
Through both social media platforms, the brand promoted an overarching hashtag campaign, inviting consumers to become part of #TeamHennessy in their marketplaces. During nightlife activations at high-profile, modern and exclusive nightclubs, the brand encouraged consumers to showcase their “Wild Rabbit Chase,” messaging born from an above-the-line campaign, through posts to Instagram and Twitter. Hennessy also developed thematic sweepstakes where consumers entered using hashtags relevant to the campaign—#MyWildRabbitLyrics and #HennessyFilm—for the chance to win exclusive prizes.
One component of the three-part program involved Hennessy-owned events, where the brand collaborated with Brazilian artist Os Gemeos to release the third Hennessy Limited Edition bottle with a launch party in New York City. Consumers danced to dj Jazzy Jeff and mingled with Gemeos while engaging in a live stream Twitter-Instagram feed visible on a 16-foot by nine-foot wall using #hennessyxosgemenos, #wildrabbit and #hennessyxnas. Other components to the program included ultimate night activations at clubs where the brand sponsored activities like bottle parades and step-and-repeats, and in-store sampling.
The brand estimates that it earned nearly 30 million impressions via the assigned hashtags for the campaign. The brand also earned thousands of new followers—34,275 on Twitter and 37,650 on Instagram.
Check out video HERE
Campaign: Navarro Activation
Agency: Good Solutions Group
In an effort to make personal connections with Hispanics in the Miami market, Nesquik dropped into Hispanic neighborhoods with a multiplatform approach that included in-store events with retailer Navarro, a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Miami Heat, and endorsements with Heat players, Mario Chalmers and Alonzo Mourning. The program began in Miami with a p.r. tour featuring Chalmers that included stops at ESPN Radio, morning shows and local news.
In-store signings followed which attracted more media attention and droves of consumer interest. Chalmers played a pick-up basketball game using a Nesquik-branded basketball backboard with kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs that the media was invited to cover located outside the Navarro store which featured a custom tented area. The next day, Navarro customers and employees, and Boys and Girls Clubs kids played in a “shoot-out” with Mourning in the Miami Arena, which was followed by VIP ticket giveaways to a Miami Heat game.
The Nesquik Street Team and Bunny were present at the pre-game shootout and during the game, and were integrated at the arena in various branded activities (Dancing with the Bunny, Bunny Ears Cam, to name a few). At halftime on-court in front of 20,000 Heat fans, Nesquik made a $10,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs with the Bunny front-and-center. The Nesquik street team members were posted at all entrances of the arena handing out high-value coupons and samples.
Ultimately, Nesquik product sold year-over-year in Miami increased by 17 percent (over the stated goal of 3.5 percent). Market share increased by 1.8 percent and p.r. impressions exceeded expectations by 100 percent at 8.5 million.
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BEST PROPRIETARY PROPERTY
EX AWARD WINNER
Campaign: Call of Duty Championship 2013
Agency: NCompass International
WHY IT’S A WINNER. Call of Duty, the largest gaming franchise in the world, nailed it through this proprietary Championship event, creating an ownable, global platform that had all the fixings of a major sports property—from live coverage to post-game analysis—that also leveraged two key partnerships.
TRENDS IN ACTION. eSports (competitive video gaming) is something to watch out for, because it may soon rival that of platforms like the X-Games in terms of viewership.
THE CASE STUDY. To reinforce its leadership role in the gaming community and debut and drive sales of new “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” downloadable content, publisher Activision created the proprietary, global tournament The Call of Duty Championship, an event that distributed real-time content to audiences across the globe. Through a series of global qualifiers, top teams from Australia, Brazil, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea and the U.S. made their way to Los Angeles for the chance to compete for a piece of the $1 million prize.
Players received custom team jerseys with a logo and gamertag (your username/nickname in videogaming) and competed at the Hollywood Palladium. The venue featured multiple elevated stages, each set up for two teams to play head-to-head above the crowds. Giant screens were posted above so attendees could watch the action. eSports announcing legends Fwizz and H@str0 were behind an ESPN “SportsCenter”- style set. Through partnerships with Twitch.tv and Microsoft, Activision was able to live stream coverage from each round of competition as well as post-match team interviews, which were made available as exclusive Xbox 360 content.
A combined 120 members of the gaming media were given the opportunity to: meet with participating teams, players and developers at a pre-tournament kick-off mixer; have direct gameplay footage provided to them for content to be produced live from the tournament; participate in press conference style post-match briefings with the teams and players; interview key spokespersons from the game developer, Treyarch, and the co-founder of Major League Gaming (MLG); and view a pro vs. GI Joe’s special session with Alden Smith of San Francisco 49ers playing a team of on-site GI’s, as well as active duty military stationed at Camp Kandahar in Afghanistan.
RESULTS. Over the weekend of the championship, 6.7 million viewers worldwide tuned in to the three-day competition. Compare this to: the season three “Game of Thrones” premiere, which matched that. The championship was viewed 2.5 times more than the viewership of the season six “Mad Men” finale and three times more than the season four “Boardwalk Empire” finale.
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Client: Life is Good
Campaign: Life is Good Festival
Agency: Superfly Marketing Group
Life is good and its message of optimism has earned a large and loyal fan base. But the clothing retailer was starting to lose touch with younger audiences, so to reinvigorate its brand and connect with its next wave of fans, it turned to a fully ownable event that matched its values. And what better way to reach young people than with a festival?
The Life is good Festival took place over two days at Prowse Farm in Canton, MA, and featured three stages of music talent for kids and adults including Jack Johnson, Hall & Oats and The Roots, Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! and Recess Monkey (a little something for everyone). There were more than 20 interactive areas from Sack Races to Disc Golf to a Martin Guitar Jam Tent.
Anchoring the festival was a fund-raising component (Life is good donates 10 percent of its sales to its Playmakers nonprofit). By purchasing a ticket, consumers could become fund-raisers through an online platform, spreading awareness through their social channels. Those who reached certain thresholds received exclusive VGP benefits (as opposed to VIP benefits, this stood for Very Good People) such as backstage access, preferred concert viewing areas, and access to the Chill Zone, which offered free massages, artist meet-and-greets and private acoustic performances.
Life is good leveraged this model to create a platform that engaged dozens of retailers and partners and this year had more than 15 other complementary brands on-site. The brand found its message reached 30,000 attendees, 70 percent of which were young adults. Additionally, the festival raised more than $1 million for the Playmakers.
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Client: Pernod Ricard
Campaign: A Night with Ne-Yo and Malibu Red
Agency: Legacy Marketing Partners
Grammy Award-winning artist Ne-Yo is more than a spokesperson for Malibu Red, a relatively new offering in the Malibu line. He’s the creative director who has been hands on in developing the drink. So, to further leverage this relationship, the brand created a six-city concert program called “A Night with Ne- Yo.” The artist helped promote each market’s event by promoting that city’s custom hashtag (for instance: #MalibuRedCHI, in Chicago) on Instagram and Twitter. He also did television and radio appearances where consumers had the chance to win free tickets by tuning in.
In each market, Ne-Yo hosted bottle signings at a number of retail locations, giving tradespeople that work directly with the product an opportunity to meet him in person. In addition, he hosted a private dinner for select distributors and retailers to boost complacent markets. In addition to fans, club owners, promoters, bartenders, djs, distributors and retailers in each market were given the opportunity to attend the event, all individuals that might have known about the partnership, but didn’t know how deep that partnership went. The concerts were at clubs completely revamped and fully stocked with Malibu products and a Ne-Yo-designed cocktail offering.
The platform helped foster lasting relationships with the local sales teams and the hosting accounts, which led to product placement at two new accounts. The tour generated 14.5 million media impressions through the placements of four TV broadcast segments across the markets, and six national radio placements.
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BEST PRESS/MEDIA EVENT
EX AWARD WINNER
Campaign: Nissan 360
Agency: AMCI Global
WHY IT’S A WINNER. Nissan placed company leaders front and center with the press, giving them plenty of opportunities for casual conversations about the brand while wining, dining and winding around eight unique tracks. Coupled with the lifestyle-driven vehicle experiences, journalists from around the globe left with some pretty rich material.
TRENDS IN ACTION. A propriety technology called the Nissan Exploratory Device (NED) acted as a digital “assistant” and virtual briefcase for each guest—by tapping RFID-enabled displays with the device, they instantly received press kits.
THE CASE STUDY. Journalists who write about cars have probably been there and done that when it comes to ride and drives and press events. They likely experienced a first when at the Nissan 360 event, which promoted the business direction of the company and its Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands, they were offered the chance to drive more than a hundred vehicles. Nissan invited 1,000 journalists from around the globe for the three-day experience in Newport Coast, CA, designed to demonstrate strategies, showcase technology and overwhelm writers… in a good way.
On each of two mornings journalists were shuttled to the El Toro Proving Grounds with eight unique tracks and 130 vehicles on-hand to drive or ride in. Three tech centers displayed innovations and an air-conditioned 13,200-square-foot tent acted as the main Pavilion, where there were displays for the Nissan, Datsun and Infiniti brands, and six concept vehicles, as well as a 100-seat theatre which hosted more than 42 top company executives across all three brands as well as press conferences. Then came the nights—a champagne toast of Nissan’s 80 years over a sunset; a gala highlighting design with five-star dining; and then, an All-American beach party with hamburgers and cold beer served out of the back of the pick-ups.
With 1,000 attendees total, (NED) helped guests keep track of the schedule and events. They could receive information on products and vehicles by “tapping” RFID-enabled displays. They could also schedule street drives with vehicles and get turn-by-turn GPS instructions back to the raceway. As a result there was very little signage, other than minimal directional, and no brochures handed out at the event. Anything information the guests wanted was available through NED and downloadable to their personal “virtual briefcases.”
RESULTS. Nissan felt it had a critical story to tell, and attendees listened. It was estimated that most attendees took about 10 test drives, with a total of 15,000 test drives recorded. The event earned nearly 31 million social media impressions, including more than 1.2 million impressions from bloggers and online media coverage.
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Campaign: Call of Duty: Ghosts Global Multiplayer Reveal
Agency: NCompass International
Usually launches are reserved for leaders in media, but for Call of Duty’s Ghosts Global Multiplayer Reveal, the brand opened up to the world a 10-city tour that gave consumer influencers the ability to play with the new multi-player mode before release. The brand wanted to create a social media explosion among fans and boost the all-important pre-order.
Attendees arrived at the venue, L.A. Live in Los Angeles, where they walked a black carpet and branded corridor featuring towering imagery of characters from the upcoming game and into an enclosed, awards-style stage. After a presentation from the ceo, attendees were given a live demo of the expansive upgrades of the game and forthcoming consoles. Attendees were then escorted to gaming stations with actual Xbox One versions of the game where they got exclusive, hands-on playing time within different maps and modes. Attendees played right next to developers and pro-gamers,