Up & Go
Established: 2015 in the UK, 1999 in Australia
Breakfast drinks company Up & Go landed on the UK scene this year, with no reservations about showcasing its Australian roots.
Alongside a traditional marketing campaign that featured the provocative slogan 'Aussies Suck', the brand worked with agency The Red Brick Road to create a giant bouncy-castle obstacle course in the shape of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The activation toured the UK this spring and featured hurdles, tunnels, punch bags, a trampoline bridge and ball pit. Sampling activity was part of the experience.
Event says: Up & Go is clearly a brand happy not to take itself too seriously.
Up & Go's marketing director, Rosie Foster-Carter, says: "We want to create a brand that resonates with people and not just as a breakfast product. We have created experiential campaigns to form that connection.
"We are not just a new brand, we are a new category of brand, so we want to educate consumers about who we are and give them the opportunity to try the product.
"The Bounce Off campaign was about scale sampling, driving talkability and creating shareable content."
The Saucy Fish Co.
This year saw The Saucy Fish Co. break out onto the experiential market with a one-day pop-up dining experience. The brand took over Stephen St Kitchen near London's Oxford Street and served up more than 150 fish dishes, prepared and served by kids aged six to eight.
The stunt was not just a great photo opportunity; it was also designed to highlight the nutritional value of fish, as well as The Saucy Fish Co.'s easy-cook USP. Yet the heartmelting pictures of miniature chefs in the brand's signature black also created shareable, iconic content that was subsequently shared with the media and on various channels online.
Consumer shows are also still important to the brand, which has visited the likes of BBC Good Food Show and Be:Fit since its launch five years ago. For these, the brand has created a distinctive stand with a hob, fridges and a TV screen, allowing audience immersion in the demo experience.
Event says: The Saucy Fish Co. makes sure its branding, and not just its brand, is spot-on for every activation.
Amanda Webb, marketing director of The Saucy Fish Co., says: "Experiential marketing lets us interact with consumers.
"Whether we're establishing new relationships or strengthening existing customer loyalty, we can build a stronger relationship with our customers. The Saucy Fish Co. has a distinctive personality and tone of voice, so it's important that our event staff embody our brand. We are friendly, inviting and cheeky - like when our staff wear our aprons with 'Get Saucy in the Kitchen!' printed on them.
"The Saucy Fish Co. will turn five this year, so we're looking into exciting ways to celebrate one of the brand's first notable milestones. We'll probably consider experiential marketing for this. As a pioneering brand, The Saucy Fish Co. will continue to be experimental in its approach to marketing and, as we diversify, our approach to experiential marketing will too."
A brand whose initial marketing campaign focused on guerrilla, grassroots activity, Propercorn is often held up as an entrepreneurial success story. The brand has grown its student ambassador scheme to make sure millennials are sampling the product as much as possible at design, fashion and food events, but in 2014 it began to curate its own activity to ensure a truly valuable experience for fans.
Last summer it hosted an installation in Golden Square, Soho, for its Pop Up Summer event. It was the brand's biggest activity to date, with four days of live music and large play structures. Almost 40,000 people visited, sampling 18,000 packs of Propercorn.
This success led the brand to collaborate with retail marketplace Appear Here for a pop-up at the beginning of 2015 in London's Old Street Tube station. The marketing team made sure Propercorn's colourful packaging featured heavily to brighten up the subway and communicate the brand's energetic personality. Sampling has also been conducted at that most stylish of events, London Fashion Week, for the past eight seasons.
On 18 June, the brand unveiled a series of interactive installations created by art director Rachel Thomas. Located around London for one month, the sites aimed to transform the urban spaces into colourful hubs of social activity, where passers-by were able to enjoy food, drink and entertainment.
Event says: Propercorn has proved that sampling activity is still relevant in experiential.
Alex Petrides, head of marketing at Propercorn, says: "We're trying to create an ethos that transcends snacking. With people spending more free time exploring experiences, it's crucial that we are part of the cultural dialogue. If not, we risk becoming boring, or worse, bored."
UKTV does what it knows best: elaborate stunts that capture the imagination of both the online and offline community.
Back in 2005, the broadcaster made headlines when it designed a series of garden gnomes and placed them outside parliament ahead of the General Election.
The stunt was created to promote the launch of its Drama channel on the on-demand service UKTV Play.
The brand divides its in-house experiential creative between its communications and marketing divisions in order to make sure its campaigns target both the media and a live audience to the most perfect degree.
And its initiatives often manage to hit both markets. For the launch of Watch TV show Almost Human in 2014, the brand developed a Twitter-powered holographic android to draw the crowds in London's Soho; a video of the event later went viral and was nominated for a Webby award.
Event says: Big marketing stunts are all about the timing and knowing what an audience wants - UKTV seems to get it right every time.
Simon Michaelides, marketing director of UKTV, says: "Experiential marketing gives our brands an opportunity to live beyond the screen. The challenge we face is that our product changes every 30 to 60 minutes and new products are launched every quarter."
Zoe Clapp, communications director at UKTV, says: "UKTV has a strong challenger brand mentality - our competition always had such enormous resources so we had to do things differently, creating absolutely extraordinary PR campaigns that were always bright and bold.
"We are perpetually learning with the influx of different technologies, which is very exciting. We're quite restless, we look to do something new and like to be the trailblazers. We have some really exciting stuff coming up, which will be classic UKTV."
The One to Watch - Valspar Paint
Established: 1882 in the USA, 2015 in the UK
US paint brand Valspar has been operating in the USA for more than 200 years, yet has only just entered the European consumer paint market. For its UK launch in March this year, Valspar enlisted community artist Nina Camplin and a team of artists to create a 3D mural on the side of a building on London's Clerkenwell Road.
Yet the activation became more than just a painting - the mural took 160 hours to create using the trompe-l'oeil technique, which meant that it became a spectacle in itself, with passers-by photographing and sharing the artwork on social media. The process was filmed and photo content was shared on the web and to the press once the painting was complete.
Event says: We cannot wait to see what Valspar has in store for its UK audience next, having launched with a small but powerful activation.
Jonathan Greeno, brand manager at Valspar Consumer, says: "Our approach to paint and colours is slightly different - we can tint our paint from 2.2 million colours in-store, which is a retail experience in itself.
"Our brand is very hands-on and we wanted to give people a chance to touch and interact with it. The mural was painted with some crazy, wonderful colours that were chosen by bloggers and the online community. It gave people a great opportunity to interact with us either on the spot or online.
"For any of our future campaigns, our emphasis will be on colour, as it's at the heart of everything we do. We are currently in the planning stages of an exciting, creative brief that needs a touchy-feely side to the campaign. I'd be very surprised if experiential wasn't a part of that."
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