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In the 1970s, the typical American consumer experienced around 500 advertising messages per day. Today, the number can be as high as 5,000 according to Marketing Firm Yankelovich, Jay Walker-Smith. A savvier consumer – especially those under the age of 35 – knows just how to ignore interruptive ads found on television, radio, magazines and newspaper. As a result, street marketing is gaining ground and increases in popularity year after year.
With the right creative idea, a street-level marketing program can range from a local coffee shop hiring a chalk artist to decorate the sidewalk to an architectural creative crowd-sourcing contest to build a temporary building for Coca-Cola at the Olympics.
The list of possible approaches to the street are as vast as the streets they’re found on, and new trends have upped the creative ante to surprise, entertain and inform consumers. Ambient (or experiential), interactive billboards, mobile messaging, product sampling, takeaways (freebies), wall projections, giant products, use of actors, floor graphics, wall sprays, subway marketing and nightlife marketing are seen in major metros nearly every day. These creative quests serve the needs of brands to get under the radar and reach consumers with targeted communications during the natural course of their everyday lives.
So what are the challenges that inspire brands to hit the street? We’ve found five unique programs held within the past year that provided powerful experiences for some of the most common strategic brand objectives.
Challenge #1 – Support a brand in a relevant community
Solution: Sampling – Street Team promotion in Portland, Oregon.
Premium cheese maker, Castello USA is making its mark by targeting one of the most influential markets for foodies. While park concerts, farmer’s markets and food truck corners are in full swing this summer, Castello’s street team is set on sampling some of the brand’s finest cheeses including Danish Blue, Creamy Havarti and the exclusive Alps Selection Hirten, all through a fully wrapped “kitchen on wheels” van.
Nicco Mouleart, Sr. Account Director at Vertical Marketing Network, who guides the daily street activation efforts, noted that the
engagement with consumers who sample the Catello cheese borders on emotional. “It’s really a nice engagement because we’re sometimes introducing people to their first taste of truly premium cheese and many times it’s a complete surprise to them.” The program drives awareness, education and sales with a “passport” handout given to each consu
mer containing cheese pairing tips and trial generating offers.
Challenge #2 – Gain “buzz” for the launch of a new product.
Solution: Interactive Store Frontage – Kate Spade “Saturday” Retail Window Shopping promotion
Kate Spade created an interactive “Window Shop” in four locations in New York and created some major buzz for their soon-to-be-launched premium brand for younger women. In a partnership with e-Bay, Inc., a faux-front of a building was created, featuring thirty pieces of clothing and accessories along with an interactive kiosk open 24/7 during the month of July, where potential customers can buy items to be delivered to them anywhere in Manhattan within one hour from their street-level order. An order confirmation is then sent to the customer’s phone and the courier collects payment at the point of delivery.
Challenge #3: Break the mold of traditional advertising.
Solution: Ambient Experience – Coca-Cola creates totally interactive “pavilion” at the London Olympics
Last year, Coca-Cola took the Olympics by storm, but it also wanted to make its pavilion an experience for the huge audience attending the games. Starting over a year before the event, Coke sent RFPs to 20 up-and-coming architect firms to bid on a completely unique building for the event and what was created was a totally interactive building called The Beatbox. Visitors created their own beat to the tune of a Mark Ronson and Katy B’s song, “Move to the Beat,” by touching embedded audio pads built into the building as they move up ramps to the view from the roof. The journey ends in an internal club-like room where bubbles are created via special sensors, imitating a bottle of Coke.
Challenge #4 – Stand out from competition.
Solution: Interactive Billboard – Hyundai Times Square Billboard
As one of the fastest growing car companies in the world, Hyundai Global wanted to create a street experience in the USA that would connect consumers to the brand in an exciting way. With nearly all of its competitors advertising in New York’s Times Square, Hyundai wanted their excellent billboard space to go beyond the message and interact with consumers.
Hyundai connected cameras to its main outdoor billboard at Two Times Square, capturing images of consumers as they watch their huge faces appear. The images then display in Hyundai vehicles traveling through an animated version of New York. The cameras are perched on top of the TKTS ticket booth (i.e., the famous Red Stairs) in Times Square and unlike previous wide-angle shots that capture random people, Hyundai’s cameras zoom in on a handful of people, putting their faces into the billboard temporarily – long enough to take a photo and put it on Facebook or other social media, taking the experience way beyond the millions of visitors and tourists who buy show tickets in Times Square.
Challenge #5: Company wants to gain brand awareness in a specific market
Solution: Large sizing – Social media management company, HootSuite creates a huge Owl bus at SXSW
HootSuite was looking for a way to increase awareness to their most influential audience – the online professionals that attend South by Southwest, the film, interactive and music festival held annually in Austin, Texas. Rather than simply taking to the streets, HootSuite built the equivalent of a Rose Parade float with the HootBus; an 18-seater shuttle equipped with a CO2 powered t-shirt cannon and swag. Imagine thousands of potential customers taking photos your larger-than-life imagery and Tweeting it out to their influential constituency. With a “fish where the fish are” strategy like that, it’s no wonder HootSuite is attracting 5-million unique views per month after just five years in the space.
Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.