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.

Usually.

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.

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