How Ford’s VR Brand Experience Changed Consumer Behavior, Why Millennials Can See Through Stereotype Marketing, & How Spirit Brands Can Gather Data During Sampling Campaigns (Elevate Connect)

Key Takeaways

  • Studies have shown that VR experiences can create empathy. Ford proved that contention during a recent brand activation surrounding cycling safety.
  • Crafting messages that resonate with Millennials is key for many brands – but be warned. They can see through insincerity, and they’ll hold it against you. .
  • Brand activation for liquor brands is often rooted in sampling. Brands are wise to add an element related to data collection to extend the campaign’s reach and improve ROI.

Ford’s VR-Led Brand Experience Influenced Positive Change on the Roadway

Sometimes the best marketing tactic is not to actively market at all. This “not marketing” approach will help brands meet the expectations of Millennials and Gen Z. Often dubbed as “ad-averse,” these generations are hyper-aware of when they are being marketed to. And they don’t appreciate the overt nature of traditional marketing. They are, instead, more receptive to brand messaging when companies offer up a unique experience that provides them with personal benefit, or to benefit a good cause.

This is the approach that Ford recently took recently in the UK. To promote empathy and road safety, the brand created an immersive VR experience that gave drivers a cyclist’s point-of-view (and vice-versa). They received first-hand experience of how distressing it is when drivers are not paying attention to the road. The Millennial-draw of the experience was the fact that it was created not as a way to market Ford cars, but to make the roads safer. Activating across five European countries as a research project, the success of this program has led to Ford to bring the campaign to North America and Asia in the future.

You Can’t Fool Millennials. They See Through Blatant Marketing Attempts

For years, marketers have put consumers into demographic buckets to help segment them into groups. Often, this demographic split meant highly-general marketing messages to wide populations. Because there is such a significant saturation of marketing messages in the modern world, younger generations are much more aware of when they are being sold to. They are seeing right through traditional advertising efforts and, as a result, are exhibiting an outright resistance to it.

The challenge of those companies that are trying to make an impact on Millennials and Gen-Z has helped the marketing industry to evolve. As this Adweek infographic illustrates, “Millennials will not be put into a box, and pandering to them will hurt your brand’s image.” Consumers are looking for brand to display authenticity and relatability. Rather than deliver canned marketing messages, instead brands are telling their stories. They are creating personal connections, proving that millennials are not ad-averse. They are averse to brands faking it and trying too hard

Why Spirit Brands Need to Use Sampling to Drive Marketing Post-Activation

Southern Comfort Activation in Infernos

Spirit brands are notorious for embracing experiential marketing. In simple form, almost every liquor brand executes sampling events, generally within bars or in-store. But, like other industries, we are seeing many raise the sampling bar by creating experiences that connect their brand to consumers. For some brands, this includes telling consumers about the history of the brand; for others its showcasing transparency and offering education by walking consumers through the brewing process.

There are many types of experiences that liquor brands can create. In fact, it could be argued that beverage brands depend on sampling the product due to the complexity of the beverage. And while the data shows that sampling is extremely effective in driving sales, it also gives brands an opportunity to do more. The article suggests that sampling is the perfect mechanism by which to gather customer information and increase campaign ROI.

Updating Back-to-School Marketing for the Modern Age

From clothing and accessories to stationary and backpacks, back-to-school boasts the second largest seasonal event spending of the year. On average, the parents of a high school student spends $1,489 for school supplies and activities.  That may be a drop from recent years, but it’s safe to say this is a lucrative time of year for brands. So, for students, summer may have just started, but for marketers, it is planning season to make the most out of getting a piece of this elevated spend.

While many parents are ready to make the investment, companies still need to work to earn their business. Most parents are looking for brands that will unite the family, a sentiment that is generally accomplished through creating an emotional connection. Because of this, we are seeing more brands combine tried-and-true outreach with modern marketing efforts, such as incorporating digital and experiential with discount offers or other methods.  This Forbes article recommends similar strategies, and gives examples as to how brands can update those traditional tactics so they are more effective and relevant in the modern world.

Benefit Cosmetics’ Interactive Experience Succeeds on Several Levels

The global beauty industry is showing record growth, with numbers increasing from $432.7 billion in 2016 to $750 billion by 2024. In looking at these numbers, it’s obvious that beauty brands are doing something right. And many would argue that the key to the industry’s success lies in putting the customer experience first. This translates both to retail customer service and using marketing methods to create conversations with and a community amongst their customers.  It is because of this beauty brands are often used as a prime example of how to create successful marketing campaigns in the current marketplace.

Some of these marketing methods that create customer inclusivity are rooted in social media and experiential marketing. Even more, some brands have been able to marry the two to reach a wide audience of consumers. One brand in particular is Benefit Cosmetics. From their drive-through brow bar to their most recent Hello Happy House, their brand activations contain interactive experiences that are both impactful and highly shareable.

Engaging Soccer Fans in 3 Countries for World Cup 2026

We are now halfway through the World Cup and on the edge of our seats to see which team comes out victorious. Meanwhile a different type of World Cup winner has already been named – the host for the 2026 World Cup. In this case the lucky location was North America, which represents the first time the games will be hosted by three countries.

Winning the title of “host” is not an easy feat. The tournament requires that the host make huge investments to even be considered. To put it into perspective, this year’s World Cup host, Russia, spent eight years and an estimated 700 billion rubles (approximately $11 billion) for the privilege.

Countries rely on tournament sponsorships to help offset some of these costs, which in the past, has been primarily in digital and print. But as this article points out, sponsors will not just want to appeal to the host cities, they will need to engage with all three countries. And this can be best accomplished through brand activations at a local level.

Snickers Escape Room Give Consumers with a Fun, Flavorful, FOMO-Filled Challenge

As we settle into the warmer weather of summer, the kids are home, vacations are in full swing, and we see more people out and about. Brands are also out in full force, executing unique brand activations to engage consumers where they live, work, and play. Some of these activation elements include photo opportunities of Jurassic proportion, while others are more active. No matter what tactic brands choose, incorporating a photo op, a social media piece, and an interactive activity is often a wise choice.

One such activation is Snicker’s recent escape room activation, the Hunger Bunker, which took place in New York City. The activation was designed to promote the release its three new limited-edition flavors. The event incorporates number of challenges related to each and ultimately ends by pairing consumers with the new flavor that would “ward off intense hunger.” The experience also created a sense of exclusivity, as there was a limited amount of space that consumers had to reserve online, which also drove social sharing by the lucky few who were able to participate.

State Farm Takes the 2018 Grand Ex Award for Putting Philanthropy First

Money can’t buy happiness. This age-old proverb has been passed down for centuries, but now more than ever, we are seeing people embody this philosophy. In fact, Millennials are thought to be the first generation that takes it seriously. And this could be yet another reason why cause marketing continues to rise in both popularity and driving results.

Yet, despite the fact that people believe that contributing to causes is important, there is still a general lack of action. This is where brands can show leadership and step in, which is exactly what State Farm did. Partnering with The Marketing Arm, State Farm created the Neighborhood of Good campaign, which created opportunities for people to volunteer to do good in their community. By the end of the program, State Farm had generated 17,000 volunteer hours and 156,000 acts of good. The project deservedly garnered attention and accolades, so much so, that it was awarded the 2018 Grand Ex Award. Check out the full details here.

Author: Elissa LiongElissa Liong is the Data and Analytics Manager at Elevate Staffing. She's a certain kind of particular, and loves thinking about all things data and insights. When she's not uncovering consumer insights and building out engagement tools that people love, she is probably at the gym or reading online spoilers about TV shows (even for episodes she hasn’t watched yet).


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