Enter the alien ship from Oscar nominated Arrival. If you dare...

So you’re looking at a big movie buff here. One that appreciates the casting, set design, special effects, music and even knowing who the Assistant Location Scout is in the end credits. While you may or may not be like that, you might find this interesting enough.

My interest was piqued upon seeing a 360° film experience created for Oscar nominated film, Arrival. One can simply utilize their mobile phone and YouTube’s 360° platform to view one of the alien ships made famous from this movie. It is a joint effort between ReelFX and the film’s set and production leads.

This is a highly interactive example of creating useful engagement while anticipating the Academy Awards and release of the Blu-ray. It’s experiences like these that work harder to put consumers into the right mindset that leads to a desire or need to buy the movie. It’s about time more brands, studios and artists create demand at the right times beyond the standard TV spots.

Audi brings virtual reality to the sandbox.

I’m not looking to buy a car this week, but when I do, Audi has thrown their hat into the mix. Whether it’s a house, the latest 60in 4K smart TV or new car, that BIG purchase may be far off. Yet that never stopped someone like me from geeking out over a purchase I’d consider, months or even years out.

Audi Norway aims to be top of mind with their Enter the Sandbox Experience. If you haven’t tried virtual reality, I suggest you do. It’s beyond immersive and it may surprise you. Audi takes it a step further in a partnership with MediaMonks—allowing participants to get creative and customize race tracks in a real sandbox. Their sandbox creation is later scanned via infrared to create the virtual world. The lucky tester takes a seat behind the carefully designed wheel, VR headset and pedals to mimic the realistic feeling of driving through the sand.

There are so many car manufacturers and styles to choose from. Audi shows that they’re in tune with drivers who value more than going from point A to point B. Someone like me. Taking a spin with that big an investment should also be enjoyable. While I don’t know what their new Audi Q5 truly feels like in person, I for one won’t hesitate to take it for a spin after seeing this.

Pop-Tarts creates unique offerings in its NYC pop-up

Millennials and Gen-Z (aka Gen-zennials) embrace experiences and passion points, it's how they define themselves. Music, athletics, art, and food are just a few of the common passion points Gen-zennials are drawn to. 

When it comes to food, cooking and eating are two sharable experiences that Gen-zennials take pride in. If Pinterest was made for collecting recipes you want to make, Instagram was made for showing off food your about to eat! 

Pop-Tarts is capitalizing on Gen-zennials love of food photography and their enthusiastic youthfulness by partnering with a chef to create one of a kind menu with Pop-Tarts as the star in every dish. 

Yeti's first store is a permanent activation

There is a difference between seeing a shirt in a store window and seeing a shirt in an display window that inspires a shopper. If a shopper can see themselves wear the shirt, the chances they buy the shirt are much higher.

Or if a brand is in the center of a great experience (big or small), a brand can forever be tied to an emotional experience. The classic example is a song that brings a smile to your face by the memory it invokes. You are more likely to purchase that song than a song with no emotional connection.

Yeti is opening it's first flagship store where they say sales is secondary to creating an immersive experience for consumers. If they inspire shoppers to create their own experiences, and bring Yeti along for the ride, they'll win more than just sales.

Know your audience is rule number one, in life and in marketing/advertising. We have our millennials, our DINKs, our working mothers, our care takers, the list goes on and on. But each audience is unique and the way brands speak to them must be just as unique.  I wear the same brand of jeans as my mother, but the styles we wear are different, just as the ads should be.

You see this customized targeting all the time from regionalized ads on TV to featuring a different moisturizer in fashion magazines based on readership age.

Argentina's tourism team has begun targeting potential visitors by highlighting all the country has to offer for people at different life stages. Their first two humerous ads focus on a young couple first starting out and an older couple enjoying life.

Whole Foods puts the focus back on basket rings

By looking at each shopper's purchase history and creating individualized offers or suggestions, consumers are made to feel important and valued.

We see CPG brands do this all the time. By using shopper data, consumer trends, and a plethora of other studies and learnings, a marketer's job is to get just one more unit into a consumer's basket.

And one more item in the basket means higher basket rings for retailers. So if a retailer can offer customized shopper data to CPG brands, there this an opportunity to create not only brand loyalty, but store loyalty.

Whole Foods is jumping feet first into the Shopper Analytics game with a new deal with Dunnhumby. This deal could help establish a loyalty program where none existed before and gain insights on a coveted group of shoppers.

Ikea does video hacks

My Facebook feed is filled with videos showing people preparing simple a meals or a new way to prepare/cut/cook a food. Apparently there is a right way to cut a mango and I've all been doing it all wrong! But I tired this new way, and it worked!

These visual hack videos have become a go-to resource for recipes and tips. It's easy to see how food brands have embraced this solution-based trend. But how does a furniture store get into the video-hack game? By addressing a common problem faced by apartment dwelling millennials...space.

Ikea created multiple 2-3 minute videos that share how small living spaces can be maximized for optimal use. These minimally branded videos offer tips on how to design a space and inspire viewers, while at the same time do a great job of highlighting the solutions available from Ikea.

Sing me that burger, maestro

Do you have a constant soundtrack running in your mind?  Do you imagine even your more monotonous, everyday actions and experiences against the melody of a perfectly pitched soprano behind the power of a full orchestra?  Well, McDonald's Netherlands masterfully brings that notion to life in their Maestro Burger serenade activation.  Dramatizing the consumer's direct experience with the Maestro Burger is wonderfully entertaining and memorable content.  A notable example of customer experience activation being brought to life and amplified with excellence.  Hoping the burger is as satisfying.  Bon Appetite!  

Creating brighter lives

Expecting to get something in return for our money is cultural conditioning, and it is a fundraising dilemma for non-profits.  How can you show the impact of a fundraising contribution?  How do you reward increased giving?  Enter the sweet and clever interactive content benefiting those suffering from congenital heart disease.  The digital experience leverages technology to both illustrate the positive influence a donation makes as well as provides the donor with immediate gratification for their contribution, all while incentivizing increased giving.

Little Mended Heart's website Give a Fuller Life shows the story of Max, a boy who lives in an empty, colorless world.  As the user increases their donation, Max's world gets fuller and brighter before their eyes!  It is a lovely metaphor that provides the user with a unique and fulfilling experience.  A wonderful evolution for a non-profit to understand the the psychology of giving to motivate direct donor interaction to influence positive change. A bright and colorful step in a positive direction, at least for Max and congenital heart disease.

Love has no labels

Don't you just love, love?!  Emotions are contagious and even passively, we seem to take comfort in other's happiness.  It is no surprise why fans throughout the world will stop everything, even amidst the most aggressive competition, to focus on their stadium's jumbo-tron with empathetic eyes, applauding public displays of love.  The NFL partnered with the Ad Council in this latest iteration of "Love Has No Labels." And, again, we get the thrill of experiencing someone else's love first hand.  And while this concept may not be new, the illustration of the democratization of love on this grand scale is.  And what better time for us to come together with acceptance and expand our culture's definition of love?

But, why is this activation so powerful?  Perhaps the closer we feel to the action, the more we allow ourselves to experience the purity of the moment ourselves.  The closer we get to understanding what makes interactions more powerful, the more meaningful our actions will be, as brands, cultures, ethnicities, genders, or otherwise.

Whoppers with love

Burger King is taking great strides in helping to ensure adult customers have a memorable Valentine's Day. After 6pm on Valentine's day only, BK is offering a very happy Valentine's Day Adult Meal. It is complete with 2 Whoppers, 2 Fries, 2 Beers and a toy...an adult toy, for adults. Curious? Well, you will have to make your way to Israel to participate in this promotion.

Albeit a less traditional approach to romance, BK is unapologetically making themselves a destination to help celebrate this special day of love, and why not? This unexpected initiative is a playful, disruptive approach that meets consumers needs while creating memorable experiences for their customers. A new take on relationship marketing? Or, more appropriately, a value meal novelty through novelty.

Bud Light: Success with old dogs

Bud Light scored big at this year’s Super Bowl, bringing back two classic campaigns reinvigorated with timely, relevant insights, and employing channels that facilitate direct interaction with new consumers.  The result?  Generations successfully coming together over America’s favorite beer! 

After the untimely death of iconic spokesdog Spuds MacKenzie, (timely for the dog, just not the character…) almost 30 years ago, our old friend and party animal is back, inspiring new generations from the dead!  Reminding us that we have an irreplaceable role in our social circles, and successfully capitalizing on millennials’ anxiety of FoMo (“fear of missing out”- for us older folks). As the beer drinking landscape has shifted dramatically over the past few decades, Spuds's party wisdom may have come back at the perfect time. 

But, even more impressive, is the resurrection and evolution of Bud Bowl. Taking new form as an interactive Snapchat game that brings that old-school bud experience to life in a way relevant to the Snapchat audience. For much of that audience, this is the first experience with the classic Bud Bowl, and it is a hit! The game ran in Snapchat’s NFL content including other Discover Channels.  Its success forces us to once again ponder the age-old question: Bud or Bud Light?!

The point?  Well, for this old dog, it is encouraging to see an iconic brand such as Bud Light, successfully driving new relevance, engagement and application with classic campaigns.  No doubt, we should look forward to seeing how Bud Light will continue to drive more direct interactions with emerging generations, creating brand preference that will continue to stand the test of time.

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