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July 18, 2007

BRAND BOOSTING: How creating a live experience can benefit established brands

Once TV and newspaper advertising would have been the focus of big brand marketing campaigns, but not any more. Increasingly, companies are finding that creating a brand experience can be equally if not more effective, while the level of success of such campaigns is also highly measurable.

“We wanted to stage an extraordinary live music experience,” explains Stefan Streit, Sony Ericsson’s head of marketing for Western Europe, about the company’s Gig in the Sky event that was organised to promote its new range of Walkman phones late last year and into 2007. The campaign had to transcend varying European countries and cultures, capturing the imagination of domestic and cross-continent press and, most importantly, consumers.

Mile high gig

Rising to the challenge, iris Experience developed and led the execution of a pan-European promotion that began with online registration for world-first tickets. One hundred and fifty winners were then treated to a gig by funk pop band Jamiroquai onboard a Boeing 757 plane – at 37,000 feet in the skies between Munich and Athens. Upon landing at Athens airport, the band played on for a further 500 competition winners in the terminal building. The iris London office produced advertising, online and sales promotion material to support the gig.


Flying funk: Jamiroquai's Jay Kay's record-breaking gig 

The event itself was a resounding success, running seamlessly – despite the practical implications of presenting a world-class gig in such an unusual space. Overall, the campaign broke six Guinness World Records, including the highest and fastest concert ever played. Both gigs, onboard the plane and at the terminal, were hugely oversubscribed. Widespread media coverage was achieved across Europe and the event website had an estimated 900,000 hits.

Understandably Streit was delighted. “The campaign demonstrated that Sony Ericsson Walkman phones give people the chance to listen to great music any time, anywhere – without limitation," he says. Now that’s delivering on brand promise!

Driving baby
Although taking a completely different approach, the Pampers Sleep Like a Baby Tour, which travelled across the UK, recently was no less experiential. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, Pampers wanted to re-engage with consumers directly with the aim of reinforcing the brand and boosting market share. Of course, Pampers wanted detailed results to firmly establish return on investment, and that’s what experiential agency BEcause, which organised the roadshow, delivered.

Through qualitative and quantitative methods, using electronic point-of-sale data and independent market research, the agency accessed and analysed sales statistics over an agreed period before, during and after the tour to determine market share impact. The results showed a significant effect on sales. When the Pampers Sleeper pulled into town, market share peaked at a staggering 97%.

“The experiential tour engaged and informed consumers across the country through a highly interactive and innovative educational medium that was both heart and mind opening for the consumer,” says Pampers assistant brand manager George Eapen.

Some 12,766 parents directly experienced the UK tour, and of these 68% told between two and three others yielding a total reach of 35,000 people. What’s more, Pampers’ research estimates that more than 8.5 million mothers will eventually hear about the Sleep Like a Baby campaign.

As a direct result of the roadshow, Pampers’ market share rose by 3% in value terms and 2% by volume.

Campaigns like these pull together different elements of marketing – direct, online, field and more – around an experience that focuses consumers on an event that entertains and informs, creating real engagement with a target audience that gets across brand messages and values very successfully. What’s more, the clear, quantifiable results reveal the effectiveness of the campaigns, not only satisfying procurement professionals, but also pushing the importance of effective marketing overall.

Next week, Ian Whiteling will look at how brand experience can revitalise declining products and change consumer perceptions…

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