Experiential Demand Generation: Marketing You Can Play With

January 2, 2015 | Justin Gray | No Comments |

I just spent 15 minutes killing jelly beans. Making them eat super glue. Set themselves on fire. Get hit by a train. Well, they weren’t really jelly beans. But it was fun killing them.

“Dumb Ways to Die” was an awesome experiential campaign launched by Melbourne, Australia’s Metro train system in 2012 to promote railway safety. My co-workers and I spent way too much time playing the online game, where you could click various colorful blob-like characters to see how they would die (bonus: it’s now available as an app). There was also the catchy music video we were humming for days afterwards. And thanks to this blog post, it’s now stuck in my head again.

People like games. They like to click on stuff and interact with things. They like it when brands stop throwing advertising at them and give them something more interesting to do. Like kill jelly bean blobs.

This kind of stuff has worked really well offline, and now marketers are bringing experiential marketing online to create cool, interactive (and shareable) experiences.

What’s cool about digital experiential marketing is that you get a bunch of benefits over physical experiences:

  1. Data capture – Get new leads from people you know are engaged with your brand.
  2. Social sharing – Visitors to your experience become your best marketers thanks to word-of-mouth sharing.
  3. Generally cheaper and easier – Physical experiential marketing spaces can be costly and require a lot of preparation and organization.
  4. They can live on indefinitely and be refreshed – “Dumb Ways to Die” launched two years ago and is still just as fun now as it was then. Plus, Metro has continued to expand the experience by adding a smartphone app version of the game. And you know Office Max’s “Elf Yourself” holiday song and dance videos that fill your Facebook feed every December? That first launched back in 2006 and has remained popular every year since.

These kinds of things can backfire easily though, so if you’re going to go for it, really go for it. Make it cool, make it interesting, and for Pete’s sake, make sure it works well. Otherwise all that great social shareability will work against you. See an example for yourself here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a jelly bean that needs to stick a fork in a toaster…

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