Engaging consumer senses: a visceral connection

Engaging consumer senses

As the world of advertising and marketing continues to change at a rapid pace, many brands and agencies are moving toward strategies that utilize powerful brand experiences to create a real connection with the consumer.

Coca-Cola is definitely an innovator in this space, as the beverage brand has recently developed a number of effective experiential campaigns. In this first example, Coke tactfully tapped into the interactive dance craze that began in Asia over a decade ago, and has since revolutionized the world of interactive gaming. The campaign started with a specially crafted vending machine that was placed in a shopping mall in South Korea, a country where Coke products command a larger per capita consumption than China and India combined. The interactive experience gave willing shoppers a unique and energizing opportunity to dance in exchange for a refreshing beverage.

Further west, Coca-Cola found another unique way to spread happiness, confronting the strained relations that have existed between India and Pakistan for years. By first acknowledging the historical and political issues that have drawn them apart, this powerful experiential campaign was developed to bring these two nations closer, one Coke at a time. Strategically placing two vending machines (one in India and one in Pakistan), the designers outfitted each with a camera and monitor, creating a virtual window between the neighboring countries. The promotional video depicted how simple, yet thoughtful activities connect consumers that are miles apart, and make them feel a little bit closer. As a result, the brand used this shared “Moment of Happiness” to break down cultural and political barriers, all through a simple connection.

In Montreal, Canada, Duracell created a unique brand experience that provided much needed warmth for commuters, during a long and cold winter. The experience involved a bus stop that was fitted with heaters, but activated only by the power of human connection. The activity encouraged individuals to connect with strangers, and share the warmth during an exceptionally cold winter. The brand successfully generated global awareness through tactfully addressing challenges at the local level, and we’re sure the locals were grateful for it!

Back in South Korea, which was recently catapulted onto the global pop music stage by viral hit 'Gangnam Style', local brand Chilsung Cider sought to capitalize on this facet of the culture with a truly unforgettable brand experience. Wanting to avoid giving the perception of being outdated, Chilsung targeted young people (teens and early 20s), offering a number of lucky passers-by their very own moment of fame. When an unsuspected customer approached a special vending machine, the press of a button transported the surprised patron into a party, where they were the honored guest. The experience directly appealed to the younger Korean generations, and their love for the limelight.

With the nation making the top 5 list of net Cocoa imports, it was only natural that snack brand Mikado utilize a local French shopping mall to launch a brand experience. Crowds of onlookers gathered as individuals were lured to a large vending machine serving the snack that was seemingly dispensed at no cost. Some of those who just couldn’t resist pressing the button were thrown into a series of situations that are far less than desirable. One unfortunate scenario drops the participant into a live burglary, just as the authorities arrive. The local stunt generated global social media buzz using hashtags that included #EvenIfYouShouldnt and #MikadoResistenceTest, and YouTube views soared well over the 4 million mark.

Today’s global consumer is growing increasingly savvy. Whether brands decide to develop an experiential campaign that stretches across markets and connects consumers around the world, or create a more focused and localized experience, key success factors surface and revolve around the same concept – understanding and addressing cultural, environmental, and geographic implications, in an environment that fosters high levels of engagement.

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