Power brands: five brand innovators

As experiential takes its seat at the top table, Event caught up with representatives from major brands who are pushing the boundaries of customer interaction.

Hyslop said the buzzword for Pernod Ricard UK at the moment was data
Hyslop said the buzzword for Pernod Ricard UK at the moment was data

Kenny Hyslop - Head of experiential marketing, Pernod Ricard UK

Standout experiential campaign?

We've just finished a campaign for Absolut called Silverpoint to launch the Absolut Andy Warhol Limited Edition bottle. It was a collaboration with immersive theatre experts Punchdrunk using an app created by Something Else. Consumers downloaded the app and played the game featuring Andy Warhol's Silverpoint artworks. When they got to level five it 'unlocked' a voucher that could be exchanged for a sample. If you got to level 11, which 500 people did, you could go to a Punchdrunk theatre experience with a pop-up Absolut bar. It was a truly digital and real-life experience that went from the virtual to the real world, then back to virtual again.

What's next?

Over the summer we are working on Havana Club Casa Mojito, a pop-up theatre that will be visiting London markets teaching people how to make their own authentic Cuban mojitos. We know the mojito is the number one cocktail in the on-trade, so we are educating people how to make them at home to boost off-trade sales. It is also Martell Cognac's 300th birthday in 2015, so we are working on a party for the end of the year, and we will be back in Ibiza for Malibu's Best Summer Ever campaign.


The buzzword for us at the moment is data and how we use it to turn our events into proper 360-degree experiences, driving people back to the on-trade or off-trade to boost sales. That is something we are spending a lot of time scratching our heads about; we're working really hard to join the dots. We're also looking at using technology such as apps in a meaningful way. Not just for the sake of having an app, but to add value to the experience for the consumer.

Stacy Elliott - Senior director brand strategy, Microsoft

Standout experiential campaign?

We set up a 'Creator's Cube' at Advertising Week Europe in March that enabled attendees to get hands-on with technology that is having an impact in our world. They could trial technology from our Microsoft Ability team that allows people to use only their eyes to type words onto a screen. We also partnered with a company from Los Angeles called The Ave that uses our Surface tablets to create custom-printed shoes and T-shirts. The impact was fantastic and it was a great way to drive interesting discussions and engage guests.

What's next?

We are very focused on showing how our technology is empowering new methods of creativity and allowing people to interact with the most innovative technology. We're currently working on our presence at Cannes Lions (21-27 June). This year we'll be taking a very different approach by opening our beach club in the afternoons to allow all festival attendees to experience Microsoft. We're also partnering with Fast Company to run workshops that allow people to contribute their time to help social causes. We think it's essential for attendees to get hands-on with us and to better understand the contributions our technology is making in the world, which will ultimately drive positive perception of our brand.

Big trends?

I think we will see more use of technology to understand how people are engaging with an experience and how they're moving within the space. As consumers become accustomed to sharing data about themselves, I think we'll see technologies expand beyond RFID and allow us to create experiences that drive a deeper value exchange, one that gives guests more in return for their time and attention within an experience.

Meriam Alnaman - Event marketing manager, Kopparberg

Standout experiential campaign?

We launched the first Kopparberg Urban Forest in Dalston last summer. It ran throughout July and was our first foray into running our own event. We have been involved in festivals as a sponsor/supplier for around seven years but felt that by launching our own event we could better meet our objectives, which are to communicate the provenance of the brand and deliver our stylish edge within the brand platform - the Kopparberg Forest.

What's next?

We've been 'replanting' the Urban Forest for 2015, this time in Hackney Wick, and have been working with local artists and performers to make it an even better and bigger event. We deliver the event ourselves in partnership with Mama Group, rather than outsourcing it to an agency. It's a lot of work but gives us much more ownership of the investment. It also means we are better placed to ensure the event benefits the local area.

What new features can consumers expect?

We're doing so much more this year in taking the event to the next level. We have an increased capacity and therefore are investing more in advertising and social media. In fact, we have brought our social media function in-house to ensure we drive consistency through both the online and offline Urban Forest experience.

We think the challenge with experiential is amplification beyond the event boundaries, so we will also be working in partnership with Spotify to deliver the spirit of the event to fans who can't attend in person.

James Young - Head of sponsorship, Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Standout experiential campaign?

Without a doubt it was the Lucozade Sport Conditions Zone. We recreated the conditions that the England Football team faced at the Fifa World Cup in Brazil last year. Our experiential agency TRO designed and produced a state-of-the-art five-a-side football experience where grassroots football players faced 32-degree heat and 76 per cent humidity - and had their performance and critical stats analysed.

Central to the experience was education about the hydration and fuelling benefits of Lucozade Sport - not always the easiest message to land with sports people. Not only was it effective from a brand and sales perspective - it brought an uplift of 12% in sales from the summer before - it also pushed the boundaries in terms of execution and experience.

What's next?

We have just begun a nine-month 'always on' campaign for Lucozade Sport. This roadshow is taking us to the heartland of our target grassroots sports participant audience. We will be supporting those grassroots activities around the UK by communicating the importance of hydration and fuelling. The roadshow will see Lucozade samples being given out at 'point of sweat' by carefully recruited sports scientists, who will also deliver a science education session.


For me the challenge and opportunity with experiential marketing is about continuing to engage face-to-face with people, building loyalty in the increasingly cynical world we live in, through authentic experiences that are based on solid insight.

Experiences need to add value to people's lives - by either educating or entertaining - and where relevant we will continue to incorporate technologies and techniques to create standout and benefit for our customers.

Kate Oyler - Brand communications manager, Vauxhall Motors

Standout event?

This year we partnered with British artist and engineer Alex Chinneck, best known for his temporary public artworks. He created an installation for us at London's Southbank Centre to support the launch of our new Corsa. We needed something to surprise everyone and encompass the fun to be had driving the model. The installation was up for a week from 19 February and looked as though a section of tarmac had been peeled back and a Corsa suspended upside down inside it. It was free to visit and generated a lot of interest. There were 165 print and online news articles, almost 2,000 social media posts and a one million-plus reach on Twitter.

What have you been working on?

The Vauxhall Car Boot Fair. On 14 June we took over the Truman Brewery car park. The event is an opportunity for the art world to let its hair down, the public to pick up artwork cheaply, and for us to get people in front of our vehicles in a very different way. We celebrated the event's tenth anniversary last year. This year we had a dog theme and worked with new artists as well as our regulars Tracey Emin, Sir Peter Blake and Gavin Turk, who sell their work from the back of Vauxhall cars.

What's next?

We have some really exciting stuff coming up in the next year in terms of what we are launching vehicle-wise and how we are communicating as a brand. We will be launching the new Vauxhall Viva soon and Astra will be a huge launch for us at the end of the year - it will be the first car with the hi-tech On Star communications system built in.

More: Research: Event's Power Brands report

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