Across the Pond: Steal-Worthy Experiential Strategies from Abroad
From New York City to Los Angeles to Chicago and beyond, the U.S. continues to see some pretty exceptional experiential marketing activations. And while the industry is booming in the States, it’s blossoming in many other countries, too. Indeed, there’s a whole other exciting world of live experiences across the pond, and it’s well worth exploring. Check out five steal-worthy international experiential strategies.
Wimbledon remains one of the very few major UK sporting events where you can still buy premium tickets on the day of play. Tickets are sold strictly cash only. A limited number of tickets are available daily for Centre Court, No.1 Court and No.2 Court. Several thousand Grounds Passes are available each day entitling use of unreserved seating and standing room on Courts No. 3-18. Hardcore fans “camp” on the queue the night before in hopes of being lucky spectators—and find creative ways to pass the time. For a fantastic international experiential experience, look no further than the Twitter Wimbledon Queue.
The Twitter Wimbledon Queue digital experience engages attendees waiting in the long queue at The Championships at #Wimbledon. The custom interactive is a multi-node design that pulls social content and data from around the globe then displays it on an outdoor LED installation consumed by spectators, athletes and media personalities at the Wimbledon Championships.
Custom outdoor LED kiosks along the queue display real-time social content from the grounds and from around the globe for viewing and engagement by spectators, athletes and media personalities. The international experiential experience boasts 48,000 live engagements, 3,000 tablet interactions, 5,000 whitelisted VITs, 2,000 photos and vines, and 5,500 geo-tagged tweets.
From the Great Wall of China to a floating house on the River Thames in England, Airbnb’s “Night At” sleepover experiences allow consumers to stay the night at historic locations around the world—and its Paris-based slumber party may just be the best one yet. Enter: A Night At The Louvre. An international experiential experience extraordinaire! To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the museum’s iconic Pyramid, Airbnb provides two 20-something contest winners with an opportunity to sleep amongst some of the world’s most famous artworks. The experience includes a VIP after-hours tour of the institution, dinner beside the Venus de Milo (complete with a personal chef), an intimate acoustic concert in the Napoleon III Apartments, aperitifs beside the Mona Lisa and a replica pyramid that serves as the couple’s sleeping quarters. C’est magnifique.
Its name may include “American,” but the financial services giant brings its brand overseas to deliver a pop-up experience at London Fashion Week that extends its Platinum House event platform. The first-ever international experiential Platinum House experience pays homage to British designers and the event at large via bold color and design elements. To further tailor the experience to a London audience, American Express enlists British singer-songwriter James Blake to perform on opening night, along with artists SG Lewis and Kungs.
“The design of the London Platinum House [is] largely inspired by rebellion and deconstruction in a way that shifts your perspective, paying homage to the incredible talent that have walked the halls of Central Saint Martins, including Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, and John Galliano,” says Amy Marino, vp-experiential marketing and talent management at American Express. “Fragmented mirrors, neon lighting, and a variety of geometric shapes [create] a visual tension between the traditional architecture of the building and the more contemporary design trends that were launched by its alumni and on the runways at London Fashion Week.
Additional activation elements include an installation called “Hidden London,” which highlights hidden gem experiences and locations in the city, an after-party featuring a retail pop-up with host Alexa Chung, Equinox fitness classes and a live art installation by luggage brand Away. Truly an international experiential activation done right!
Taco Bell is known for creating quirky activations for its loyal millennial and Gen Z fan base and a recent stunt outside Toronto helps the brand maintain its reputation, Canada-style. To celebrate the Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider’s return to the country, the fast food titan swaps a Drive-Thru for a “Slide-Thru” window at the bottom of a snow-tubing run at Horseshoe Resort. Talk about a one-of-a-kind international experiential strategy! The one-day activation begins at the top of the hill, where hungry tubers select from one of three Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider flavors. Behind the scenes, cooks in a nearby pop-up kitchen prepare the order, and a snowmobile then rushes the food to the Slide-Thru window at the bottom of the hill.
When the order is ready for pickup, the Slide-Thru attendant signals to the tuber to glide on down in an orange, Taco Bell-branded tube to grab their food from the window at the base of the mountain. Cruising by an outstretched hand, participants snatch up their paper bag and continue on over to a lounge area to enjoy their meal. Oh, Canada.
England’s Manchester United soccer (ahem, fútbol) team boasts one of the most passionate fan bases in the world. Unfortunately, most of its supporters never make it to the stadium to watch the squad play IRL. To flip the script for Man Utd’s fans in Bengaluru, India, Uber, the official ride-sharing partner of the team, models an immersive fan experience off of Old Trafford, Man Utd’s renowned stadium. A winning international experiential activation follows suit.
Leveraging Bengaluru’s Orion Mall, Uber India uses social media to draw in attendees, who ultimately arrive all decked out in jerseys and face paint. Local Man Utd supporter clubs also attend and sing popular team chants. The first activation touchpoint is a re-creation of the famous red tunnel at Old Trafford. Fans can walk through the structure and onto a turf area with a wall covered in an oversized, high-res photo of the Man Utd pitch. Next comes an immersive match day soundscape (think: cheers, chants, player intros) that reverberate throughout the space.
The activation additionally includes an Uber Destination United museum featuring a collection of historical Man Utd memorabilia, like David Beckham’s boots, curated by Jason Leach, the team’s museum curator. During the three-day activation, Leach also hosts Q&As in the space with Man Utd legend Wes Brown, a former team member who currently plays in India.
If your event inspiration is running a bit dry, worry not. International experiential strategies offer event marketers in the U.S. the fresh perspective required to continue excelling in this ever-growing industry. And who knows, inspiration from across the pond just might give your events the extra je ne sais quoi you never knew they needed.