Toilet cleaner, sugar, deodorant... we all need them at some point in our lives. Those brands that are slightly less sexy - for want of a better word - have arguably the hardest job in grabbing consumer attention.
As marketers are constantly being told, no company can rely on sheer brand loyalty in the 21st century, thanks to a mass penchant for 'shopping around' and an international, ever-growing marketplace.
To add insult to injury, those brands often have the least chance to interact with potential customers. While sportswear geeks can spend hours interacting with their favourite brands in Niketown or on Adidas's football pitches, the amount of time a brand of necessity gets to spend with a customer tends not to last longer than a scan of a barcode.
There are, however, brands out there that are hell-bent on booking in more face-to-face time with consumers, by way of activations. Most shun ticketed, standalone events, instead aiming to grab attention at the likes of festivals, train stations and on busy thoroughfares.
We speak to the brand managers embracing experiential to market mayonnaise, washing machines, crackers and fabric conditioner.
Standout experience: The Mediterranean Retreat
To launch its Hellmann's with Olive Oil variety, the brand chose to highlight the product's headline ingredient with a relaxing Mediterranean chill-out zone in the heart of London's Soho. Spanish chef Jose Pizarro was brought on board to host cookery demonstrations, while hammocks, sofas and olive trees created an atmosphere of Zen for the area's creative crowd and tourists.
Kyrie Merryman, senior brand manager for Hellmann's UK and Ireland, says: "The Hellmann's Mediterranean Retreat was a huge success. An experiential approach allowed us to not only talk about the goodness of Hellmann's with Olive Oil, but to demonstrate its taste directly to consumers. This helped to directly engage and create advocates for the product. The live event also gave us the opportunity to create content that was then used on other channels.
"While we don't have any current plans to host further events in the coming months, it is certainly something we will consider in the future. As a brand we have a broad group of consumers, but our heaviest users are mums with kids. We love the fact that through all the products in our range we can meet the needs of a huge number of UK households. This as a great opportunity for us."
Product: Fabric conditioner
Standout experience: The Comfort Garden
Comfort worked with experiential agency ID to fashion a garden made from 1,846 freshly washed garments, most of which were sourced from Oxfam. The fabric flower designs included roses, foxgloves and peonies, and there was a water feature. The one-day activation was open for consumers visiting London's Covent Garden to explore, and singer Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud fame was there to officially open its doors.
Fernanda Tubini-Roberts, senior brand manager for Comfort at Unilever UK, says: "The main aim of the garden project was to get people interacting with the sensorial benefits of Comfort. People associate flowers and gardens with beautiful fragrances, and the added twist of creating flowers with clothes helped to bring the experience back to fragrance and washing in a fun and theatrical way.
"The activation was incredibly successful with consumers and we were thrilled with the turnout. Covent Garden felt like a natural fit with its flower market roots and high-footfall location. Most visitors are there for leisure purposes, which means it has a relaxed atmosphere where people have time to dwell and are open to trying new experiences. Around 6,000 visitors entered the garden over the course of the day and more than 12,500 samples were given away to drive trial among consumers.
"As a brand, we are dedicated to embracing new and exciting experiences. The challenge is to continue meeting and exceeding consumer demands with innovative product launches that are going to keep them engaged with the brand and the category."
Products: Crackers, crisps and flatbreads
Standout experience: Gourmet Snacktail Bar
Following on from 2014's pop-up ice-cream parlour, Jacob's Snacks again put a twist on the traditional notions of savoury and sweet with its Gourmet Snacktail Bar in July. The experience was designed to celebrate the launch of the brand's Cracker Crisps, so, naturally, the 'drinkable snacktails' on offer included chilli con carne served in a tin, and sparkling wine with potato vodka and peas.
Daisy Barlow, brand manager, says: "Jacob's entered the world of experiential marketing only in the past couple of years, in line with the launch of our master brand campaign. Experiential now forms a central part of our campaigns, because we know it helps bring our brand to life and delight our consumers.
"Our savoury ice-cream parlour was a great example of us showcasing our products in an innovative and fun way, bringing a fresh perspective to the brand and getting people talking about it. Our ambition with the Snacktail Bar this year was to bring this same excitement to our consumers. The success of both events means we will be including experiential as an integral part of our campaigns.
"Jacob's has a broad consumer base of people of all ages. The challenge is to keep front of mind with people at all life stages. We do this by staying true to what the Jacob's master brand stands for: wholesome products that delight consumers.
"We also target each of our sub-brands at specific eating occasions, for example Cracker Crisps for sharing with friends over a glass of wine, or Mini Cheddars as a lunchbox favourite. If we can deliver at both levels a wide market needn't be a challenge, but rather an opportunity for us to be seen as a brand that is enjoyed by people all over the UK."
Standout experience: The Indesit Family Fun Experience
Indesit partnered with Arsenal FC and Puma to host a football school for families at Camp Bestival this year. Young guests could test their skills in coaching clinics and cool down afterwards watching movies, meeting the Gunnersaurus mascot and playing Fifa 15 on a big screen.
The brand's Family Fun Experience, originally devised in 2011, was hosted alongside the Indesit Festival Laundrette, which was filled with Innex washer driers available for festival-goers to use. Ian Moverley, Indesit brand communications director, says: "Indesit is an official partner of Arsenal FC, with the values of competitiveness and strength shared by both brands. Football is the best terrain for expressing a vocation for dynamism and innovation. This year, we made the Family Fun Experience bigger and better, so more children could get involved.
"The challenge faced by a market-wide brand is ensuring we have a variety of products that offer something for everyone's lifestyle and budget. We all have different needs when it comes to appliances, and we all have different design tastes. However, this affords us the freedom to create a variety of experiential campaigns that allow us to engage with a wide audience."
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