Top 5 Brand Activations of 2019

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February 17, 2020

Now that 2020 is in full swing, the chaos of the holidays are behind us, and the dust has settled, we are looking forward to the eye-opening activations we will see this year. Whether at SXSW, Coachella, or various other hallmark events – we can’t wait to see what 2020 brings us from an Experiential and Engagement marketing standpoint. Before we get swept up in 2020 planning, let’s look back at 2019 and run through some of the best activations we saw and what made them so impactful.

Sonos’ ‘The Brilliance of Sound’
Everything around us is adopting some kind of personal assistant within it. Software such as Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa are being integrated into everyday objects like microwaves and doorbells. When Sonos speakers decided to integrate Google Assistant, they knew it would take more than just sound to demonstrate it. To show off how sophisticated the marriage of Sonos and Google Assistant was, the brand created a 3-day pop up experience in New York that consisted of three different rooms showcasing three different artists. The most popular room was designed to demonstrate the physics of sound by matching sounds and time with light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The other two rooms were designed to show both the emotion and structure of music. The room that focused on emotion was the most interactive part of the activation, as consumers would put on a headband that monitored their brain waves displaying digital data visualizations of their emotions while listening to music. The last room focused more on the speakers themselves and the structure of the music, as they played different parts of a song from different speakers in the room. Overall, the intention of the pop-up was to give consumers a real sense of Sonos as a brand, while educating them about the transformative power of music, and, of course, the new personal assistant integration.

Childish Gambino x adidas x Coachella
Childish Gambino and adidas announced a forthcoming collaboration line in September of 2018. That collar was finally realized at Coachella 2019. To generate hype for the new line, they decided that they wanted to give some shoes to the festival-goers  in a creative way, never been done kind of way. adidas and Childish Gambino decided to use the technology at our fingertips to reach the festival goers by randomly selecting winners through Airdrop. An image would appear stating “Donald Glover” (Childish Gambino) would like to share a photo with you” accompanied by a photo of the shoe itself. Those who chose to accept the Airdrop were rewarded with a coupon for a free pair of the shoes that had to be picked up within the hour. Upon receiving the shoes, festival goers were required to sign a contract with adidas agreeing to wear the shoes, come to Childish’ show, and to keep them on all weekend. The hype was real and this was one of the many brand stories that rose above the noise coming out of Coachella.

Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical
The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest advertising day of the year, with an average of 98.2 million people tuning in. When Skittles decided they were going to make a tv spot for the Super Bowl, they wanted it to be creative and somehow pay homage to the years of funny and compelling ads they have produced. Enlisting the help of Hollywood and Broadway star Michael C. Hall they created an ad for a Broadway play that would actually serve as the ad. Through a zany commercial, they announced that for one show, and one show only, they would be bringing “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical” to life. The show sold out in under 72 hours and delivered over 1.5 billion media impressions for the brand, earning praise for its subversive messaging and creativity.

Bumble Hive
South by Southwest (SXSW) showcases some of the most impactful experiential marketing activations. Bumble, a relationship and online dating app, took over a local coffee shop during the festival, attracting over 20,000 guests throughout the weekend with bright colors and an inviting atmosphere. The brand was introducing a new feature they had been working on for some time, Bumble’s new profile badges. These badges give users the ability to express their interests and share more about themselves within the app. On top of learning about the new software features, Bumble Hive goers took part in speed mentoring and attended breakout sessions focused on friendship, dating, and business networking.

*Blog photo by Laura Delacruz

Google Assistant Ride
CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is the world’s largest consumer facing technology show, with nearly 200,000 attendees each year, making it a hot zone for big brand experiential marketing activations. Google, one of the most recognizable brands in the world, wanted to create an experience that stood out from the rest for the newly released voice assistants. As discussed with the Sonos activation, personal assistants are being incorporated into our daily lives more and more. Google’s AI-powered voice assistant is a leap in technological advancement in this field. This year they decided to rent out a warehouse and build a roller coaster ride at the event. Riders experienced a day in the life of a fictional character with access to the Google Assistant and learned all the ways their new digital helper could assist them throughout the day. Current trends in the market might have told you to strap the consumer into a headset and give them a VR experience, which Google could have easily done, but decided to go with a more physical approach by designing and using animatronics throughout the ride. It is very impressive that Google took a product that is completely digital and expressed it in a completely physical way.

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