Using Experiential Marketing To Drive Online Buzz

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Using Experiential Marketing To Drive Online Buzz

From ScreenMedia Daily

Brands Are Engaging Consumers and Amplifying Their Reach Using Experiential Marketing and Digital Out-of-Home Media

NEW YORK, NY — Advertisers are increasing their use of experiential marketing to reach on-the-go consumers, but one of the biggest changes in the advertising space is the increased use of place-based digital out-of-home media to help drive consumer engagement. And for good reason, a well-executed digital out-of-home campaign has the ability to generate a significant amount of online buzz for brands because of its potential to go viral and expand beyond a any specific location. While a digital out-of-home campaign may only reach a few thousand people in a specific location, an outdoor event can be amplified hundreds of thousand of times online, providing greater ROI through earned impressions. When brands connect with consumers in a meaningful way, there’s an amplification effect.

One example of a brand taking advantage of this amplification effect is Forever 21, a fashion retailer that offers shoppers the latest in style trends targeted at the youth market. Forever 21 has a 4 level, 90,000 square-foot department store joining Aeropostale and American Eagle Outfitters in New York’s Times Square. The space, previously occupied by Virgin Megastore, includes a 61-foot wide outdoor LED billboard developed by D3 LED, a leading provider of digital billboards. One of unique features of Forever 21′s billboard includes a three dimensional construction of the number 21 projecting out from the main portion of the display. The interior of each number has an integrated LED display that plays synchronized video creating a seamless image with the main screen.

Forever 21′s digital billboard engages people through the use of well executed interactive content that literally stops people in their tracks. The content, created by Minneapolis-based Space 150, an interactive multimedia developer, features 3 young models in vignettes that tease and entice pedestrians to stop and pose for pictures. Each model takes a turn walking onto the screen and attracting attention by smiling, pointing, teasing and coaxing people to stop for a moment. The model then snaps a photo of the crowd below using a Polaroid camera. The screen flashes white for a split second, and moments later the model reveals an image on screen to the delight of the crowd standing below.

Promotional success is often measured by looking at sales lift—did the campaign move the needle? In this case, Forever 21′s billboard needs to be measured by the level of increased consumer engagement and smiles that it clearly has achieved. For a retail brand looking to connect with its customers this level of engagement is worth its weight in gold—and ultimately translates to higher sales.

The stage is now set for a convergence between mobile technologies and digital out-of-home media. Augmented Reality (AR) can enhance information for users by adding real-time interactive overlays on top of real-life locations. The Near-Field Communications (NFC) ecosystem is also rapidly evolving. According to a new report from Pyramid Research, more than 28% of smartphones (250 million units) will be NFC-enabled by 2015. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface for new technologies such as facial recognition and location-based mobile services. Mobile marketing has the potential to drive incremental growth for the digital out-of-home advertising space by tapping into digital budgets because the mobile component can extend to an out-of-home campaign with a direct response mechanism that makes it highly appealing to marketers. Mobile has the power to extend digital out-of-home experiences by connecting people to information in new ways and driving even greater online buzz.

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