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Experiential Marketing Campaigns: Why Your Brand Needs Them

man walking through neon strands

Gen Z shoppers have been skipping digital ads since they were born. They grew up in a world where social media and technology are ubiquitous, making it harder for traditional advertisements to capture their attention.

This presents a unique challenge for brands: How can you create memorable experiences that resonate with your target audience? The answer: think outside the screen and build better experiences.

What are experiential marketing campaigns?

Experiential marketing is about creating immersive experiences that engage consumers on a deeper level. Unlike traditional advertising, which focuses on pushing products, experiential marketing seeks to pull consumers in with memorable moments. It's about establishing an emotional connection with the customer before asking for a sale.

One key aspect of experiential marketing is offering opportunities for real-world interactions. It's bringing advertising to life, appealing to more than just visual or auditory senses, as most ads do. Whether it's a pop-up event, a branded installation, or an interactive campaign, experiential marketing seeks to bring people together in the physical world, where they can touch, feel, and sense the brand in a tangible way.

These one-off events are a lot of work and can be expensive, so why should brands bother?

Why is experiential marketing so successful?

As mentioned above, the multisensory nature of brand activations and the opportunities for authentic connection they offer make them more memorable (meaning higher brand recall) than just seeing a digital ad on a screen.

Second, brands looking to capture the attention of Gen Z shoppers should know that this generation values experiences over material objects -- they would rather show off a cool place or event they attended than a room full of stuff.

Furthermore, experiential marketing can explode social media engagement. Gen Z is highly active on social media, and they love to share experiences with their friends and followers. By creating memorable experiences that are worth sharing, brands can tap into their attendees' influence and reach a wider audience.

Insider Intelligence estimates that 60.7% of US adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are expected to be social buyers in 2024, making the need for experiential marketing paired with social media increasingly important.

Finally, well-executed experiential marketing campaigns have a higher chance of getting free publicity for your brand than a standard ad. Publications like Campaign and Ad Age love to cover creative ideas that bring a brand to life.

Experiential marketing examples

The 2024 Super Bowl in Las Vegas was filled with fun, experiential activations. Ashley Furniture, for example, took over the Dawg House Saloon & Sports Book inside Resorts World casino, replacing tables and chairs with Ashley sofas and loveseats for watching the game. They placed QR codes on the coffee tables, sending visitors to the Ashley website to view inventory and specs for future consideration.


Meanwhile, Gatorade built an immersive, invite-only experience to launch its Gatorade iD membership. Upon signing up for the membership, invitees got an access card to the event, where they could use touch-screen kiosks to customize a Gatorade water bottle, answer questions to be matched with one of Gatorade’s Hydration products, or sit for a photo shoot with a robotic camera—the same technology Beyonce embedded into her Renaissance tour routine last year.

And, Exverus' own 2018 Living Wall out-of-home (OOH) activation for SUJA won an Adweek Media Plan of the Year Award! For that campaign, we partnered with NPRP Media and Humanaut to create a painted wall with real plants popping out in a trendy part of LA where Instagrammers flock.

SUJA living wall photo

Experiential marketing fulfills the need for more holistic and interactive buyer experiences.

Innovative strategies like these blur the traditional boundaries of retail, offering an experientially rich, seamless shopping journey that resonates with Gen Z's preference for novelty and convenience.

Moving forward, paid media advertisers should explore similar ways to integrate social commerce strategies into their campaigns. Even if you don't have big-game budgets to work with, we can get creative and think of ways to meet potential customers IRL.

Is your brand ready to explore experiential marketing?


This piece originally appeared in our weekly Paid Media Insights newsletter. For more tips, research, and analysis; subscribe for free here.


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