A top flight-in-flight VR experience

Anyone who has flown a budget airline knows the flight is often an experience to be endured rather than enjoyed. Straight-jacket seats, non-existent leg room, extra fees for carry-on luggage, minimal entertainment — and don’t even think about food.

Enter KLM’s Flight Upgrader, a virtual reality experience that allows the budget traveler to enjoy the comforts of a KLM flight — without the cost. The free VR headsets were distributed to people waiting for budget flights at JFK airport. By downloading the app, they had a chance to (virtually) experience what they were missing:  leg room, in-flight entertainment and a caring KLM flight crew serving an appetizing meal.

Only one hitch with this promotion: its target audience was the price-conscious traveler who chose not to spend significantly more money for a more premium flight. Still, the idea of creating “flight envy” by contrasting a great (virtual) experience with an underwhelming actual experience is clever. And free in-flight entertainment is always welcome.

Oxymoron: Legal letter = good brand experience

Imagine it — a corporate lawyer’s cease-and-desist letter getting rave reviews — from marketers, no less! Netflix was recently put in an awkward spot when a pop-up bar with a “Stranger Things” theme became a huge hit with fans in Chicago. The trouble was the operators of the bar never got permission to use Netflix’s hit show so creatively. Rather than firing off the typical stern and aggressive legal letter, Netflix sent its complaint in the voice of the “Stranger Things” show. This brilliant move recognized that even letters from lawyers are part of a brand’s experience. Using humor and expressing love for their fans, Netflix still got the “cease and desist” part of the job done — and created even more great buzz for “Stranger Things.”

A more visual recipe experience

It’s a time-honored sales tactic to move food and kitchenware off the shelves: give consumers recipes that use the products.

For an in-store promotion in Canada, IKEA transformed this old tactic to an entirely new experience. Recipes were printed with food-safe ink onto poster-sized cooking parchment with actual-size drawings illustrating ingredients and quantities. Following step-by-step instructions, customers placed the prepped ingredients onto the actual food pictures, rolled up the parchment and baked the entire package. Much like their simple, visually based (in)famous furniture instructions, but, you know, only easier and followed by less cursing. 

The IKEA “Cook This Page” campaign presented a fun, simple, surprising and delicious cooking experience, answering the age-old question, “What’s for dinner tonight?” Judging by the fact customers snatched up all 12,500 posters within hours as they purchased IKEA kitchenware and food, this creative use of print was wildly successful. And the Grand Prix Award it earned at the Clios was just icing on the (IKEA Princess) cake.

Experience print in a new light

To dramatize its new “Be an Outsider” theme, outdoorsy retailer L.L Bean used a traditional full-page ad in The New York Times — but with an unconventional twist that turned a typically flat advertising channel into an experience. The page appeared to be blank, except for the “Be an Outsider” tagline and a cryptic call to action: “Just bring this outside. No, seriously. Take this outside.” When the reader followed directions, the full new L.L. Bean manifesto appeared, printed in photochromatic ink, visible only when exposed to ultraviolet light. By literally turning insiders into outsiders experiencing the great outdoors, this clever use of print beautifully fulfills L.L. Bean’s brand promise.

Burger King is Loving "IT" and Hating McD's

According to an article in The Drum, Burger King just got saltier than their fries in this stunt against McDonald's.

During the premiere weekend of Stephen King's "IT" in Germany, the brand hijacked the hype to take a swipe at the other clown in culture. During the ending credits of the movie, a confederate in the audience projected the following message on the screen: "The Moral is: Never Trust a Clown...Burger King." The video of the stunt and the reactions was captured on hidden cameras and quickly posted on social media channels.

This a great example of both newsjacking and prankvertising.

Love it or hate it, you have to applaud that it's a great example of brand being nimble, opportunistic, and focused using social to amplify experiences.

And, all of this coming the QSR brand that invented creepy.


For Shaw, The Proof is in the Pre-Roll

The Canadian publication, Strategy, reported on an interesting way that Shaw cable was able to make pre-roll experiential. The bane of every online video viewer became the star of this simple demonstration of the brand's benefit.

To show what it means to have fast, cheap and unlimited data, they produced a hour-long pre-roll ad for YouTube -- that's right a full 60 seconds. This production is mundane, low-budget, boring and completely on strategy. It remakes the skippable six-minute interruption into a demonstration of the product benefits...complete with headbands.

A Superhero-worthy Drone Light Show for Wonder Woman

Forget the invisible jet! Wonder Woman is bringing even cooler toys to the sky.

To celebrate the DVD release of Wonder Woman, Warner Bros and Intel collaborated to light up -- and brand up -- the skies over LA with a stunning light show courtesy of a 300 drones all synced with live instrumentation.

This technology has been used in other collaborations with Disney and HP at Coachchella too.

Whether this is the tech-effect flavor of the month or a whole new canvas for decades remains to be seen. But regardless, it's a great inspirational example of the intersection of tech, art and marketing all combining their super powers.

From Pledge Drives to Pinot Bottles

Just a few weeks ago the news broke that NPR has launched their own wine subscription service. The the "subscription economy" is in full swing, it's not a huge surprise that NPR would join the likes of the Wall Street Journal in creating a recurring commerce model.

What's interesting is how the NPR experience and POV will translate into how they create and curate the selections. The hushed tones, the tote bag toting pledge drives, the nerdy quiz shows...how can all of these elements turn into an experience you sip -- not just listen to?

Test Drive High Dive

Skoda,Czech car manufacturer, needed to get young drivers who didn't seem to care much for the brand. Or for any of its technical details.

But by rethinking their strategy, they were able to exaggerate and amplify the experience of their new crash avoidance feature in an unexpected way: they used a bungee jump at music festivals to simulate it. 

While they didn't likely sell many cars directly to post-jump partygoers, they clearly connected and created quite an impression. And, thankfully, no impact. 

Keys in a confection

We’ve all gotten those Presidents’ Day direct mail offers from our local car dealerships. But Cadillac Canada did it right. Like WAY right, with an indulgent and luxurious offering that was befitting the brand.

They partnered with a renowned chocolate maker, Brandon Olsen, to deliver his iconic chocolate egg to Cadillac customers whose leases were about to expire. Inside the chocolate delight were a set of keys to their latest CT6 Sedan model which just so happened to be parked outside the recipient's home. Once the car was started, the GPS greeted them and navigated them to Olsen's restaurant for a free dinner for two!

Talk about an impactful experience. Way to go Cadillac.

“They Get Me! They Really Get Me!”

A big part of a consumer’s connection to a brand is through their knowing that the brand “gets” them. Every brand interaction with its loyalists should be reaffirming. In its new campaign, the trade school Wyotech is making it abundantly clear to prospective students that it does just that. As a gearhead, I can tell you the campaign resonates. Dang! Why’d I get that STUPID masters degree in art?!

Tech in the tag

Donning a pro team jersey has always been a way for fans to show and feel a connection to their favorite teams and players. Well now NBA jerseys are giving back. By tapping a smartphone to the tag on their licensed jersey, fans can instantly get the latest news on their hometown heroes and even buy tickets to the game. Wow... a product that offers a 24/7 relevant experience – so long as you do your laundry? That's the future of all product development in our minds!

Explore Jalisco, Mexico on any flat surface!

In support of its new flavor, Extra Añejo, Patrón has created an AR experience that educates and entertains consumers by inviting them to visit a virtual hacienda, complete with your own virtual bartender. The app even interacts with the bottle with a little tap. What fan of the premium tequila brand wouldn’t appreciate a personal tour of their flagship distillery without ever having to leave their home – or bar stool – or... wherever you're currently enjoying your adult beverage?

GPS directions on a cassette tape?

Absurd you say? Well, yes. But, KFC has brought back Colonel Sanders (kind of) and has cultivated a quirky new brand voice to go right along with him. This “tape,” that can be enjoyed on YouTube, delivers a virtual KFC experience in the comfort of your car, with directions taking you from its headquarters in Kentucky to its Big Chicken Franchise in Georgia, all while poking fun at itself and its spokesperson at the same time. The only thing better is if it delivered a bucket right to your car. Someday. Sooommmmeday. 
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