We, as an industry, talk a lot about the ‘experience generation’ – with statistics revealing 72% of millennials plan to increase their spending with brands that provide them with a lasting impression and an opportunity to connect, it’s no wonder we’re all stepping our game up when it comes to activating in the physical world.
Here are three brands that took memorable experiences to the next level with their latest activations:
1. HBO x SXSW
To engage with fans of the hit show Westworld, HBO recreated the entire town of Sweetwater in their most sophisticated, immersive activation yet.
The network spent the past four months refurbishing a real-life ghost town in Austin, accessible only to a lucky few SXSW ticket holders.
Coaches transported guests to the top secret destination, where they were free to explore every nook and cranny at their own pace. HBO hired a cast of sixty actors, six stunt people, five bands, and six horses to bring ‘Westworld’ to life. So detailed in fact, that the script for the 90-minute experience is more than 440 pages long.
HBO aren’t the first network to take activations to the next level – ABC recently refurbished a subway carriage to recreate Roseanne’s iconic 90s living room to promote the show’s return.
2. Converse One Star Hotel
Converse opened the doors to its One Star Hotel during last month’s fashion week, revealing a number of rooms that bring together influences from sneaker and skate culture, fashion and music.
In a noisy marketplace, brand experiences can feel fake, forced or over-engineered - the One Star Hotel serves as a best-in-class case study in brands creating culturally valuable experiences for their consumers.
In-tune collaborators included Jamie Platt, a 20-year old skater from Bournemouth who created a film about London’s skate scene, Tizzy T, who hosted a mahjong tournament to tie in with Chinese New Year and A$AP Nast, who’s room featured live screen printing.
The two day event was stacked with workshops and DJ sets, and we can’t wrap up without mentioning how irresistibly Instagrammable the whole experience was.
3. Glossier Cafe
Glossier have dominated Instagram feeds once again with their latest retail experience ‘Glossier at Rhea’s Café’ – a month long takeover of Rhea’s Café in San Francisco.
Products from the beauty brand are displayed throughout the location and can be tested and bought on the premises. While the beauty products are visible, they don’t feel intrusive if you’re there to eat, offering up a sense of discovery.
The food itself can be eaten on-site but also comes in compostable takeaway packaging that was created specifically for the collaboration.
San Francisco’s reputation as ground zero for excellent food was part of the allure for Glossier when planning the pop-up. The brand says it came to San Francisco because “we wanted to engage with the large customer base we have there, and food is so central to the SF culture.”
As well as reaching out to socially-minded millennials, Glossier and Rhea’s have something more fundamental in common – they were founded with the same thinking - both entrepreneurs wanting to offer something that wasn’t already out there in the market.
With each physical activation, the beauty industry disruptor continues to set the bar in this new era of live social storytelling. In our increasingly plugged-in world, people crave unique products and experiences that engage them IRL while simultaneously fuelling content creation for their digital lives.
SEEN is compiled by LOVE’s Head of Culture, Kat Towers. Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge then get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org