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12 Memorable Event-Marketing Campaigns
As companies try to one-up each other for consumer eyeballs, these marketing firms' campaigns push the bounds of creativity.
By Dave Smith
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12 Memorable Event-Marketing Campaigns
Bravia color-blasts San Francisco's streets.
When announcing its new line of TVs, Sony enlisted Fallon, an agency based in London. The idea? Drop a quarter of a million bouncy balls down San Francisco's curvy, narrow, sloped streets—and catch it on film. Compressed air cannons launched balls into the air while earth-moving equipment poured thousands of balls down closed-off streets. Cars, props, and crew members were given shields and crash helmets for protection. Sure, some viewers doubted the veracity of Bravia's fanciful ad, but San Franciscans who witnessed the massive six-day clean-up effort won't soon forget Bravia's name.
Shock and Awe
The "Life Comes at You Fast" spill.
Nationwide Insurance had terrific product awareness, but the company was struggling to boost awareness of its financial-planning products. Marketing agency TM Advertising decided to blended blunt truth with subtle humor. The landmark advertisement for the campaign was installed in Nationwide's hometown of Columbus, Ohio, where a banner depicted a spilled paint bucket with paint dripping down the side of the building into the parking lot below. The eye-catching outdoor promotion not only had a tendency to stop traffic, but also garnered awards. Since the campaign, Nationwide's company profits have grown from $100 to more than $2 billion in 2006.
Cleaning up the city with Mrs. Meyer's.
Mrs. Meyer's wanted to do good, give out samples, and use kitchen sink imagery. That's where Mono, an agency based in Minneapolis, stepped in. It turned a fountain in San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square into a super-sized washbasin, complete with cup, saucer, sponge, and a huge bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day detergent. White balloons suggested soap suds, and passers-by who took one got not only an (included) sample, but the knowledge that a $2 donation was being made to charity. That's good
Meshing Digital and Real-World
Launching the Samsung Wave.
Samsung and marketing agency Jack Morton developed a live and digital event to take place at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress in February 2010. For the live portion, a massive room was created, surrounded by a 360-degree digital cube. Thirty-two HD projectors illuminated the walls to demonstrate the graphics available on the new smartphones, and live entertainers also participated to help engage the crowd and build excitement.
Name That Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was originally imagined by Macy's employees, many of whom were first-generation immigrants who wanted to celebrate in a manner like their parents did back at home. It was staged by a mixture of store employees and professional entertainers, and called the "Christmas Day Parade," even though it took place on Thanksgiving. Now, it has made the brand ubiquitous, and is so popular thousands of people even trek to view the parade's balloons being inflated.
M&Ms "Dare to go to the Dark Side."
In March 2005, to celebrate the launch of M&Ms new Dark Chocolate candies, M&Ms and Mars Candy Co. worked alongside LucasFilm. Advertising group Eventage dropped an authentic X-Wing Fighter on an island in the middle of New York's Times Square, and invited Anthony Daniels—the original C-3PO—in costume with Darth Vader, six Storm Troopers, and M&Ms also dressed as Star Wars characters. The actors participated in a performance that seamlessly blended the Star Wars universe with the world of M&Ms. The promotion received 184 million media impressions, was covered on 25 national television segments.
Snapple White Tea "High Tea" Tour
Snapple Beverage Corporation was ready to launch its newest creation: Snapple White Teas, "The Lightest Tasting Teas on Earth." Eventage advertising group took a tour of nine U.S. cities from June to August 2010 to take consumers skyward. At each location, Snapple set up three 22-foot helium balloons, each balloon featuring a new Snapple White Tea flavors, and flew consumers up to 1,200 feet above the ground. Snapple also set up tents and gave out bottles of their new product, distributing a total of 21,000 samples of Snapple's White Teas. The U.S. tour sparked 33 million media impressions, as well as photos and spots in
The New York Times
, making this promotion one of the most successful in Snapple's history.
Matchmaking, en Masse
Levi's proves "Size Does Matter"
Levi's brand jeans wanted to market their new slogan: "Size does matter." To accomplish this, Levi's hired A Squared Group to execute a publicity stunt in Washington Square Park in Manhattan. For the stunt, 75 single men and women were chosen to find their perfect match. The women had 5:01—a nod to Levi's 501 jeans—to race to a pile of men's jeans, grab a pair, and search among the 75 shirtless men to find the perfect match. The guerilla promotion, which reinforced the idea that everyone has a perfect fit, reached over 20 million consumers through unpaid media coverage.
Dare to Try?
OfficeMax gets edgy.
Innova and PR partner Maccabee Group helped OfficeMax launch a new ink cartridge refill service with a revealing media event. Ten models braved sub-freezing Chicago weather to show off the iconic Windy City imagery airbrushed on their backs for media and curious passersby. Many media outlets, including the Associated Press, CNN,
, and five Chicago network TV stations covered the eye-catching guerrilla promotion, helping drive OfficeMax’s ink sales up 15 percent the following week.
Bring on the Beasts
Touring the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales
It's one of America's most famous and memorable marketing campaigns, but don't you only see it on TV? The Budweiser Clydesdale hitch been the undisputed champion of "mobile" marketing since its introduction on April 17, 1933, when August Busch Jr. and Adolphus Busch III presented the hitch to their father to celebrate prohibition's repeal. Later that day in 1933, the Clydesdale hitch delivered the first post-prohibition case of beer. Today, the world-famous hitches—there are five active roaming around the country at all times—travel more than 100,000 miles each year in North America. That's one new city visited every week.
Getting Consumers Inspi(red)
Gap shows its true colors.
To launch Gap's (Product)Red campaign to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, Oprah Winfrey hosted a live, in-store episode of her show, spotlighting the (Product)Red collection. For the event, marketing agency A Squared Group renovated Gap's flagship store in Chicago to give the entire building a ruby makeover. The store's unveiling on Chicago's Magnificent Mile brought in celebrities, fans, and several million at-home viewers directly into the store for the (Product)Red campaign launch.
Drop in and Party Down
Samsung's impromptu concert.
For its launch of 3D TVs, Samsung worked with Jack Morton to created an event that generated more than 2.4 billion media impressions, helping solidify Samsung as the market leader in 3D TV. The magic formula? Drop in the Black Eyed Peas to Times Square for a surprise concert. Hire Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron to film it. Talk to the press, and host an exclusive VIP party. Stir it up.
Last updated: Mar 4, 2011
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