Focusing on fun experiences

The gaming industry is filled with companies just looking to make a quick buck off of loot boxes, crates, or whatever else you want to throw behind a micro-transaction slot machine. Except for Nintendo. In the last year Nintendo has been firing on all cylinders putting out critically acclaimed video games for the Switch, and which the rest of the industry is focused on trying to push graphics, teraflops and VR Nintendo ignores them all and drops the Labo.

If you aren't aware, Nintendo has released a new way to play on the Switch made of cardboard. Instead of strapping a VR headset on, Nintendo is urging you to put a cardboard robot visor on your face with a JoyCon controller shoved in it. They are pulling together the idea of turning yourself into a robot made of cardboard as a kid with the technology behind the Switch and have created an experience for the consumer that is just fun. And it is for that reason that they continue to show that they are leading the gaming space.

A monumental reason to visit Brussels

Iconic attractions, locations, and monuments often define a city and are draws for tourism. "Hey look kids, it's Big Ben!" But what if your city has lesser known attractions to compete with the big league likes of Paris, London, Tokyo, New York City? Go beyond the big attractions to show what else your city, and country, have to offer.

Thalys, the rail company in Belgium, wanted to draw attention of tourists to Brussels, and give travellers a reason to visit by 'creating' its own new monument - its people. They wanted to promote the warm, friendly people of its city as the heart and reason to visit, and put them on a pedestal - literally. Through a holographic booth, people of the city could pose like a statue, then see themselves as a monumental digital version of themselves that celebrates them and their unique contribution to the city.

Awww. And for people who want more of a cultural experience than just sightseeing while traveling, it's a pretty compelling reason to go.

See a video of the activation here.

Pandora put the "charm" in bee charmer

When you think of PANDORA jewelry, you don't necessarily think of bees, but bees are the inspiration for it's latest collection, PANDORA Shine. Their rich golden color inspired the gold plated collection, and bees adorn various rings, bracelets and more in the collection. More here on the inspiration.

For the launch of the collection, the brand created a giant honeycomb 'hive' installation in Sydney, Australia which captured the attention of consumers. The brilliant, shining 'hive' stands out and is a beautify, eye-catching object that pique's people's interest and take pictures with (think: the Bean in Chicago) to share on social media. But step into it, and consumers are immersed into a full sensory experience, with continued gold sparkling surroundings, smells, sounds and even food (gold-tipped ice cream) to bring the connection to the world of bees to the consumer. What's more, cars driving around town with giant, golden bees on top helped drive awareness of the hive, driving drones people to the core activation to witness it themselves.

This activation is truly buzzworthy. See a video of it here.

Experience the bad weather at home while on vacation

Denmark has pretty cold weather year-round, so Danes tend to travel a lot, and to tropical destinations. And let's be honest, how many of us on vacation check the weather back at home to see how good we have it where were are?

Spies, a travel company, worked with its ad agency to create an interactive outdoor campaign where Danes on vacation could step into a weather booth and experience the awful cold weather they were missing at home - to not only appreciate where they were, but possibly to inspire them to go ahead and book their next vacation. From a consumer standpoint, however, it seems the reverse would be a bit more motivating to take the next step to booking travel, but it's an interesting take on creating a visceral, physical experience to motivate purchase.

See the booth in action here.

Next stop: Ziggy Stardust station

If people at the Broadway-Lafayette subway station in NYC notice changes - it's the interactive David Bowie experience created by Spotify. It's partially intended to generate awareness of the "David Bowie is" exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, but it's also a way to connect commuters to David Bowie, his work, and his history with that neighborhood.

Pieces around the station have ways to further engage with it, including links to his work through the Spotify app so people can immerse themselves and let the Starman blow their minds.

It's high time for high tea parties

With new markets emerging, the cannabis industry is growing and it seems to offer great business opportunities (as long as state governments continue to open the doors for legalization). With legalization has also come the acknowledgement of how diverse consumers of cannabis actually are, and new companies and brands are slowly starting to service varying types of consumers and their potential needs.

Take Kikoko tea, which is cannabis-infused tea that is targeting a higher end woman with their blends of teas that offer various benefits, including selling points like "precision-dosed so you are in control" and "fat-free with no weedy taste." They are also reinventing the notion of 'high tea' by helping women host a new kind of tea party and create experiences to imbibe with friends in a way that feels approachable and acceptable, since stigmas can still exist even if it's legal.  Complete with cucumber tea sandwiches and "discreet, artisanal edibles." Simply scrumptious.

Cheers to Bacardi-branded live theater

Immersive theater isn't exactly a go-to strategy for most brands, but it can be effective if done right, is authentic and if there is a good story to tell. Bacardi used immersive theater to connect with a specific audience of tastemakers and bartenders to bring its history to life beyond featured copy in their website's "Heritage" section.

This audience was invited to an exclusive event that, well, felt exclusive with a speak-easy vibe complete with skeleton keys to access it. In a show called "Amparo," actors, who themselves had experiences with being exiled from Cuba, gave powerful performances in the telling of the brand's story dating back to 1862, to its revival in 1994 when the family was exiled from Cuba itself, and all the drama in between. Their hopes are to form a deeper, emotional connection with people who are on the front lines in terms of recommending a brand to consumers, and help bring it to life beyond just being a logo or alcohol in their mojito. And Bacardi hopes to bring the live show to consumers in the future to tell it to them directly.

See pictures and more details about the experience here.

Save your skin and get a cheaper Whopper

Burger King wants young adults to eat a burger this summer instead of sizzling in the sun and burning. In Portugal, BK created a sticker for Instagram stories that will feature the current temperature and price of a Whopper, and in a stock market-y approach, the higher the temperature is, the lower the price goes. Use the sticker in a story, and that low price for a Whopper is yours when you show it at check out.

Burger King - saving the your skin (but not necessarily your waistline). It is, however, a clever way to reach a younger audience in a relevant way to drive them to store.

See a video about the activation here.

The 2018 margarita of the year is . . .

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, and this has us thinking about one of our all-time favorite beverages, the venerable margarita.

The core of the margarita that Jimmy Buffet memorialized in 1977 is based on a combination of tequila, lime, and orange liqueur. But evolution has been kind to the margarita, and since that time the drink has benefited tremendously from the advent of premium tequilas and craft liqueurs, as well as the tireless creativity of mixologists around the globe.

Which brings us to Tequila Patron. This premium tequila maker has traveled the world to assemble a collection of refined margarita recipes that showcase the many regional variations of the modern margarita. Patron has culled this list to seven distinct recipes inspired by cocktail makers from cities that include Los Angeles, Barcelona, Osaka, and of course, Mexico City.

If you love margaritas like we do, try out some of the recipes on the list and then cast your vote to help select 2018’s margarita of the year. Its a brand activation exercise you won't regret. 

The rocket ride continues

Financial products and services are boring. That’s why marketers use tactics like talking lizards to capture consumers attention, hoping to use humor and distraction to make an indirect brand value connection.

Quicken Loans has pioneered a unique combination of tactics to market financial service to millennials via its Rocket Mortgage offshoot. The strategy:

  • Remove the complexity
  • Make it mobile and simple to use
  • Associate the brand with something fast and explosive
  • Activate the brand by embedding it in high energy, high profile events

Rocket Mortgage’s latest brand alignment adventure involves the next installment of Marvel’s Avenger series: Avengers, Infinity Wars. The company has already released a co-branded video ad, and when the movie comes out this spring, look for a Rocket Mortgage product placement nestled in the explosive opening scenes. 

Unboxing a superior customer experience

From its earliest days, Amazon’s success was driven by two things: offering lower prices than brick and mortar competitors, and providing an exceptional online experience. It’s a simple yet formidable business model that many retailers have yet to catch up with.

But niche retailers like Boxed might have found a way to chip into Amazon’s e-com dominance by hyper focusing on a specific category and then matching and in some ways exceeding Amazon’s consumer experience.

Boxed’s business model is simple and focused: “Boxed delivers the products you love in bulk, for the best prices.” But what sets Boxed apart is how it has wrapped this model in a custom fit consumer experience.

  • Fast, free shipping on most orders? Check.
  • No membership fees? Check.
  • Cash rewards on every purchase? Check.
  • A slick app that lets you easily replenish your household? Check.
  • Weekly deals and promotions? Check.
  • Reviewed, curated products to ensure quality? Check
  • Prepaid return labels? Check.
By developing a consumer experience detailed to a simple, focused business model, Boxed has addressed specific weaknesses in Amazon’s consumer experience, specifically the lack of curated, tested products, and the absence of weekly discounts and specials that many consumers love.

In our view, Boxed’s brand proposition is really based on delivering a superior consumer experience, which ultimately is what will allow Boxed and other niche retailers to win against Amazon.  

Alexa, how is the roll out going?

Image result for amazon alexa

There are now more than 33 million Amazon Echo units in consumer homes, and Amazon has thus far captured approximately 69% of the virtual assistant market. What was nascent technology just a few years ago is rapidly becoming common place in consumers' lives. 

So we thought we’d do a quick check-in to see how some brands are using Alexa to create in-home consumer engagement experiences that are fun, informative, and practical.

  • Ally Bank enables customers to use voice commands to check account balance, list recent transactions, and conduct basic money transfers.
  • Ask Stubb provides virtual grilling advice in the form of archived recordings from legendary Stubb Bar-B-Q founder C.B Stubblefield.
  • The American Heart Association provides virtual instruction on performing CPR, as well information on the warning signs of heart attack and stroke.
  • Tide’s Stain Remover provides timely, hands free instruction on how to tackle nearly any type of stain.
  • Zyrtec offers a Daily Allergy Cast forecast that provides localized weather, pollen count, and dominant allergen warnings. It also compiles this information into an overall daily allergy impact score.
  • And finally, our personal favorite, Patron Tequila offers an AI bartender that provides cocktail recommendations based on available ingredients, desired flavor, and occasion. 

What's for dinner? Let the AI decide.

Image result for TGI Fridays

Millennials eat out – a lot. Research shows that up to 53% of millennials eat out at least once per week, compared to 43% for the general population.

As millenials enter their peak “dining out” years, TGI Fridays plans to leverage data and technology to help change its brand trajectory within this key consumer cohort. TGIF has been developing a dining AI it believes will create a highly relevant and connected experience with customers based on tastes as well as lifestyle.

According to Sherif Mityas, Chief Experience offer at TGI Fridays, the objective is to use a dining AI to anticipate customers’ needs and proactively push pre-configured meal options with one click ordering through its mobile app. The goal isn’t to simply make recommendations based on food preferences, but to anticipate appropriate ordering times, like on the way home after a busy day spent running kids to weekend sports activities.

TGI Fridays is also testing similar technology to power an AI bartender that makes drink recommendations after consumers use an Ipad to answer questions about mood and personal preferences. This innovation also capitalizes on the growth in craft spirit brands by helping consumers discover new and innovative drink possibilities. Now this is a convergence of brand trends we can definitely get behind!

You 'donut' want to miss these Dunkin' sneakers

Terrible headline, but cool brand activation. While America runs on, and loves, Dunkin' Donuts, Boston has special affinity for the chain since that is where it started. (Cue the ridiculous Casey Affleck SNL skit - not totally SFW but worth a watch.) The Boston Marathon is also a big, celebrated event in Boston.

Dunkin' saw an opportunity to authentically combine two things Bostonians love as well as bring its iconic tagline to life by creating a limited edition sneaker with Saucony for the event. No surprise - it quickly sold out. The sneakers give fans something fun and kitschy to own and flaunt, while it actualizes the benefits DD is promoting through its campaigns.

Bud Light takes on the Masters

For whatever reason, Bud Light's "Dilly Dilly" campaign has really caught on among consumers. It's sort of like the "Whaasssuuuup" of this era. So much so that during the Masters this week in Georgia, spectators were yelling "Dilly Dilly" after golfers tee off. Fans are known to shout somewhat ridiculous phrases at golfing events (mashed potatoes, anyone?), but Augusta National is fighting back to keep some decorum, and is banning people from yelling such phrases, including "Dilly Dilly." And they will get thrown out by security if they do. Savage.

Bud Light has its consumers' backs, though, and, staying in character of the campaign, issued a decree that stated it would send 1,000 "Dilly Dilly" shirts to people attending the Masters so they could at least wear the phrase if they can't shout it. Whether or not they'll follow through on that promise and deliver the shirts is to be seen, but it's an excellent real-time response in support of its consumers that are showing support for the brand, and turning a semi-negative experience into a positive one.
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