Experiencing the Syrian refugee crisis firsthand

One of the greatest challenges in charitable fundraising is how to create a powerful, memorable way to demonstrate the charity’s need — to reach out and touch donors’ hearts. If done effectively, not only do you raise money, you also create advocates.

Ikea, the Red Cross and the ad agency POL teamed up to raise funds for those caught in the Syrian refugee crisis. They decided to bring the emotional impact of living in a war zone home — literally — recreating, detail by detail, 25 square meters of an actual home of a real Syrian family, right in the middle of Ikea’s flagship store in Norway. This disruptive installation allowed Ikea’s customers to experience a Syrian family’s world firsthand, in stark contrast to IKEA’s picture-perfect sample rooms, and with far greater emotional impact than pictures or video could ever deliver.

It also delivered results: 80,000 visitors over two weeks and 22 million euros raised.

Would you live with your target audience for a week?

The Italian version of “Would it play in Peoria?” is ”Will this be understandable to the Voghera Housewife?” — an idea developed in the 60s to keep advertising pitches and brainstorms grounded in reality.

Starting Nov. 28, for the whole week, execs (CEO, art director, copywriter and account manager) from the agency Le Balene will live and work with Michela, an actual Voghera housewife and live stream their experiences on Facebook. They hope this immersion within an ordinary Italian family will give them valuable insights to effectively market their clients’ brands.

And their clients will get to experience the life of their target audience firsthand, too. All client meetings will be held in Michela’s home — brainstorms in the kitchen, briefing meetings in the dining room. What’s more, Michela will get the last word on all proposals.

Besides Facebook, the experience will be covered by Italian advertising websites, a blog by the main Italian newspaper and Italian mom bloggers. Check it out this week and see if Le Balene shakes up their creative process and generates some good work.

Would you give up your phone for beer?

For Meantime Brewing Company of Greenwich, London, UK, time IS their essence. In fact, they consider it the 5th ingredient of their beer — beer that takes 6 weeks to brew, taking advantage of traditional hand-crafted techniques as well as modern technologies. To dramatize this, they challenged 6 craftspeople from 6 cities across the UK to create bespoke elements for a tiny pop-up bar in just 6 weeks. In the meantime, the brewers created 6 custom beers to serve there, alongside two of their flagship brews.

The “Make Time For It” campaign created an extraordinary drinking experience that allowed only three customers at a time to enjoy their beers — for free. The catch? They had to surrender their mobile devices at the door. Why? Because the Meantime brewers believe that nothing is more important than spending quality time with friends over good beer.

Attack of the security drones

If horror movies have taught us anything, you never want to be that person who goes outside to "just check things out." (Hint: you won't be coming back.) Slasher cliche's aside, there is an insight into home security that this startup is looking to take advantage of.

Rather than alert you when a bad guy breaks a window, this system uses tech to explore things that go bump in the night. Solar powered "sunflowers" learn the routines around your property. If something's funky, a personal drone is dispatched to investigate and send you a pic of the perp.

Tech overload aside, the most interesting notion is the rethinking the CX of home security from protection to investigation. And who knows, we might start seeing "Beware of Drone" signs everywhere.

Mystery cruise to parts unknown...to you

The cruise industry is in the middle of several arms races: from most tricked out ships to most competitive prices. So it's a nice break -- dare we say a "vacation"? -- to see someone find a new way to innovate the CX of cruising.

UK-based Bolsover Cruise Club is offering a "Secret Sailaway" a 16-night luxury package that only discloses the dates and the price. Destinations and activities are kept a mystery. Take a deep breath control freaks. Once onboard, you can try to crack riddles to figure it out. Or you can just relax and go with the flow.

Our research into the cruise category showed that the anticipation of the trip was one of the most important--and motivating--parts of the travel experience. By creating suspense around this core component, they have elevated it to lido-deck levels of intensity.

Stay far, far away from this wine

In celebration of Wine Wednesday (which frankly, can be celebrated any day), here is something rare in wine packaging. And no, it's not that it doesn't have animals or landscapes on the label. It's what it does have: a concept that provokes an experience.

Lonxe from the Eloi Lorenzo Winery is all about location; but this is beyond simple terroir. The idea is all about the remoteness of the vineyard and that "far" -- the translation of the name -- can be a good thing, even magical thing, in a world of "close" and "mass production." So check out the dot pattern on the label, as you back away from it the GPS coordinates come into view. (Go ahead, step away from the screen.) It's analog interactivity creates a sense of distance and luxury. And not to mention, you show it off to everyone you uncork it with. 

McD's serves tech and trash-talk

A self-checkout kiosk is usually about tech interactions over human interactions. (Unless of course, you count the clerk having to help when you screw up royally.) But McDonald's in Canada did a great job of turning this efficiency improvement into part of the bigger brand experience.

To demonstrate the personalization of the new kiosk, Montreal Canadiens players Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk bring their competitive sides to the buns as they engage customers to order one of their signature burgers. The teammates trash-talking continues with live on-screen videos (see below) as well as in social media with competing hashtags.

Sports-star power aside, the interesting takeaway (pun intended) is that even a functional service interaction can be a platform to serve up a deeper brand experience. And some big-ass burgers.

For Disney, the medium is the magic

It's no surprise that a blog about Customer Experience is talking about Disney. Those OG CX marketers know exactly how to create magic for kids and adults alike. And how to put a pretty hefty price tag on it. (Are you with me parents?)

What's interesting here, is how Disney brings the magical moments outside the gates of the park and off the screen for this OOH / Augmented Reality / Guerrilla activation combo platter. (See the video below)

It's a great example of bringing a brand's message to life through technology that enhances--not replaces--a bigger insight. And how to turn any consumer touchpoint--in this case a lowly transit shelter--into a stage for a meaningful Mouse-filled experience.

Making old technology new again

In Sao Paulo Brazil, not everyone has a smartphone, so checking bus schedules, routes and arrival times online is not an option. In support of its Red Bull Basement Festival, "celebrating ideas that hack the city for the better," the drinks brand utilized geo-location, toll free access to the 25,000 payphones across the city and OOH advertising to offer the service free to everyone - a great example of a brand understanding its market and improving on their existing experiences in a valuable way. How do you say "Thanks Red Bull" in Portuguese?

Can YOUR clients' products help you survive in the wild?

Part of being a good creative is getting to know everything there is to know about your agency's brands - immersing yourself in their customers' experiences. But is surviving in nature using ONLY the brands you service taking it too far? Heck, I'm ready. If things got dire, I know I could signal for help with a Whelen® LibertyTM II.

Delta may make you want to check your bags.

We've all stood watching those geometric, metal panels accordion on their endless circuit of the baggage carousel, knowing that our bag was lost. You kick yourself for having expanded that little carry-on bag to fit the t-shirt you just had to have. Forced to check it, you've found yourself here. And your bag... who knows where? But now, with it's expanded Fly Delta mobile app utilizing RFID technology, Delta's addressed a major customer experience pain-point - so I can go back to packing extra underwear and checking my bag.   

Hyundai builds actual cars from kid's drawings!

Imagine a car company building an exact, working prototype vehicle from your concept drawing. Now imagine you're a little kid, it's your idea, your drawing and you can jump in and test drive YOUR car.  HOLY CRAP! That's AWESOME. This Hyundai experience most definitely provided an experience that earned the manufacturer a bunch of loyal fans - for life (and at their age, that's a long time).

Check out our new and improved recipe

Hello loyal Brand Flakes readers!  

We're back from a brief hiatus and better than ever before, as you may have noticed from our recent redesign (still in beta, or as you industry folks know, beta is code for "please forgive us if our site has a random glitch or looks a little different each day you visit it"). 

See, after several years of delivering you tasty morsels of brand goodness every morning, we’re refreshing our recipe. As the marketing world has evolved, our beliefs have evolved along with it. We believe it’s no longer what a brand says that matters most, but what a brand does.

It’s because of this belief that we look to brands that are delivering Customer Experiences (CX) in interesting, unique, crazy, and sometimes even frightening ways as inspiration.

And just like we always have with Brand Flakes for Breakfast, we aim to share that inspiration with you.

So in true Brand Flakes fashion, we’ll be serving up bite-size doses of brand examples from around the world, but now those examples are fortified with CX (part of your complete breakfast every week day).

So, get your milk, grab your spoon and starting next Monday get ready to chow down on some experience deliciousness.

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