A breathing billboard...really

To promote it's new original series, Altered Carbon, Netflix recently installed a breathing billboard in LA on Santa Monica Boulevard. The billboard replicated a life-size, nude, strategically-placed man in a large plastic-blag hooked up to a breathing apparatus. The "billboard" looked real, felt real and even replicated a real breathing man.

 While the stunt came across as creepy, gross or disgusting to some, it did meet the experiential marketing stunt goal of getting people talking on the same day as the show launched on Netflix. And while the stunt itself doesn't tell you much, if anything about the show, it does plenty to spark intrigue.

Fried chicken is for lovers

Who doesn't love fried chicken? Well, besides those that are health conscious and vegetarians. At any rate, with Valentine's Day now safely a day behind us, we can admire the unique customer experience KFC had to offer.

With your purchase of the romantic $10 Chicken Share meal for two you also received a scratch-n-sniff valentine that smelled like fried chicken. The valentines featured none other than Colonel Sanders and included a food pun, such as "I fell in love the first moment I slaw you." While you may have missed your opportunity to get the perfect card for that special someone in your life this year, we now have 364 days to see what KFC will offer next.

The real store disguising as a knock-off...wait, what?

Canal Street in New York, known by many to be the best place in the world to buy knock-off wares, was actually the home to an official Diesel pop-up store. Those brave enough to buy items with blatantly wrong logos (it was misspelled!) were actually buying one-of-a-kind, specialty items.

 The brand took things one step further than their campaign last year that celebrated flaws. This campaign, from Publicis NY featuring high-quality Diesel products (with flaws) fits into that theme like a pair of designer jeans. But before you get your hopes up on scoring a new pair of jeans for knock-off prices, the store is officially sold-out.

Everyone is a foodie

PSFK recently did an interview with chef and restaurateur Nicholas Morgenstern on the ever-changing landscape on how consumers interact with food. Morgenstern credits companies like Blue Apron (though he is NOT a fan) with making consumers much more comfortable cooking at home and even inviting guests over for a home-cooked meal. While he doesn't like the subscription box genre as he finds the packaging wasteful, he does also see the trend of people having basics delivered to their door and only going out to pick up specialty items. This, coupled with people getting more comfortable with gadgets makes for an elevated dinner party experience.

Morgenstern, who opened a different twist on the traditional ice cream parlor, still believes people will go out for the specialized experiences they can't recreate at home. Here's to hoping for his sake that is true.

The 'Miracle on Ice' team really wasn't a team of Americans?

Oh, the Olympics is upon us and in full swing. One of the most iconic Olympic underdog-turns-unlikely-champion stories belongs to the 1980 U.S. men's hockey team and their gold medal win over the Soviet Union.

In a clever move, ancestry.com took 5 members from the now infamous team and tested their origins. Turns out these hockey players aren't American at all, they have roots in Italy, the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, and...you guessed it - even Russia.

 The moral of the story is unity, embracing our differences and of course determining your own roots through the ancestry.com experience.

Backseat Drivel

Imagine if you will... a typical Uber scene in the backseat of a 2007 Camry at 2am on a Saturday morning in downtown Nashville, driven by a very tired Todd. Behind him, three bearded and bespectacled Gen X-ers, smelling a bit of cheap craft beer, pretension and dashed hopes.
Drunk 1: Dude, she was totally into you. WTF?
Drunk 3: Murmurs incoherently.
Drunk 1: Dude, I think I’m going to puke.
Not an atypical ride, and yet nowhere in this scenario do any of our regal passengers exclaim, “Say, let’s see how Luxembourg is doing in the decathlon!” Hmm.

Beginning Wednesday, February 7, NBC will be offering unique, unprecedented access to the Winter Olympics for Uber riders. “Unprecedented” because, well, they simply haven’t done it before. That’s pretty much what “unprecedented” means. And “unique” because, well, riders won’t actually get to watch Olympic events. What they’ll have access to, through the Uber app, are interviews between U.S. athletes and broadcast announcers while they’re in transit between competition venues. That's right. To be clear, this "experience" consists of riding in a car, watching other people riding in a car. 

I’ve crawled up onto this particular soapbox before: I’m a superdelegate for the value of experience marketing. Done right, it’s a beautiful - and effective - thingy. Done poorly, it’s just not. Activations like this that are weak and disconnected benefit neither brand.


Warning: not for those afraid of heights

Picture virtual reality.

What comes to mind?

Mostly likely the image of a disoriented person wearing goggles, groping blindly in mid-air at invisible objects. Let's be honest—it's a little dull. But not the virtual reality slide at The View at The Shard in London.

Strapped into a wobbly seat with a headset, people can immerse themselves in the thrilling (or terrifying) 360-degree experience of sliding down the tallest building in Western Europe. 1,016 feet off the ground. At 100 miles per hour. Talk about experiential.

As a brilliant bonus, it's super fun to watch people freak out on the ride. Almost makes you want to try it.

How does this ad sound?

Facebook video ads can be frustrating for marketers. Many users browse their news feeds with their audio off, limiting at least half the watching experience, relying on the user to be interested enough in the visuals to read the captions to get the full story – if there are captions. However, these ads for Bekol, an Israeli non-profit for hearing loss, are leveraging the in-video text in a clever way that is likely to catch a user’s attention and engage with their ads.

A video clip with text invites viewers to pass the ad's "listening test". How? By listening to it, of course. The audio that goes with the video visuals are jarringly mismatched. Being able to detect the dissonance would diagnose those with adequate hearing as readily as those without. The ads also bring to life the experience of not being able to hear adequately to those that can and illustrate how sound impacts how things are perceived.

It's a great example of how experience-based observations (knowing users have their sound off) can amplify creative. It also goes to show that user behaviors don't have to be seen as obstacles!

Inspecting the speculum

Speculums aren't exactly "everyday" objects (unless you're in obstetrics), but good CX is as important at the gynecologist office as it is anywhere else.

Take the horrible, loud, clicking noise of cold metal being ratcheted open - the sound that pre-empts every routine pelvic exam. It's no surprise that these doctors' visits are profoundly uncomfortable for many women.

Prompted by this insight, the design and engineering team at frog have created Yona, a modern redesign of the speculum. By identifying specific shortcomings of the patient experience, they work to exchange the use of a scary, metal object for a product focused on patients' comfort, modesty, and ease in their environment. 

While this doesn't necessarily make visits more fun, it certainly makes them less un-fun.

Skip the lemon water, throw me a Snickers

As a stalwart Brandflakes journalissimo, I have a civic and professional responsibility to report the news of experience marketing wherever I find it. We champion experience because it is the new economy of marketing, of consumerism, of life. We embrace the brands that have internalized it, taken chances with it, and have seen the wisdom of it.


This week, the Mars Wrigley Confectionery company – purveyors of such sweet classics as Snickers, M&Ms, Twix, and Skittles – announced the opening of a pop-up shop they're calling Sweet Retreat, with an emphasis on treat. And that's great! Bring the people in! Rejoice in the sugary indulgence! Celebrate what you are! Right? Right?

Um... not exactly.

Because Sweet Retreat is a spa-like object. It's about indulgences, yes, and it's about treating onesself, as it should be. But instead of a Skittles ball pit or a Snickers-eating contest, it's all mani-pedis and blowouts and massage and meditation. Want your toenails done in Skittles colors? No problem. Dove dark chocolate eye shadow? Step this way, ma'am.

The mission of experience is to bring your brand, your product, to your consumer in as authentic a way as possible. Anything else is a different experience... it's somebody else's brand. So while we celebrate experience marketing in nearly every corner we find it, we don't do it wholesale. We applaud Mars Wrigley's foray into this semi-charted wilderness, but this particular Jimmy Olsen just can't help but think that it went a little sideways.
Now your brand news diet is chockfull of tasty tales of Customer Experiences (CX). Served-fresh every morning for your daily recommended dose of marketing inspirations. Never sugar coated. May contain nuts. Archives | Look back at these past bites