Were Our 2017 Experiential Predictions Correct?

Posted by Samantha Stallard on December 6, 2017
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In January of this year, we made some bold predictions on where we thought the experiential industry was headed. We envisioned a world with big budgets (hey, an agency can dream can't it?), crazy technology, and social media integration at every step. Were we right? Were we completely wrong? Should we just pack up and go home? Check out our original predictions, our thoughts on them now, and what we could have never seen coming...
1. AR and VR - Correct

katy_perry_3_-_embed_2017.jpgPhoto courtesy: Steven Klein

Augmented reality (AR) technology enhances the physical environment you see by overlaying virtual elements, such as information or images over it, either through displays such as Google Glass or through the camera view on your smartphone. Virtual reality (VR) marketing creates a narrative that drives results, engaging and raising awareness with:

  • Immersion: Users are immersed in the content - fewer distractions and more attention on the message
  • Impact: The intensity of a VR experience generates strong emotions in its users
  • Memories: Our brains remember events linked to locations, VR has a longer trace in memory
  • Novelty: Early adopters can benefit from favorable media exposure
Who did it best in 2017?
  • W magazineThanks to The Mill, a New York-based company that specializes in VFX and augmented reality projects, September issue cover girl, Katy Perry, comes to life at the readers' fingertips. Users downloaded W magazine's Beyond the Page app to whichever device on which they wish to experience the content. Then, they scanned the pages of the magazien to unlock the interactive world
  • NetflixThe “Stranger Things VR Experience” at this summer's Comic-Con in San Diego showed a Vive-optimized version of the experience for the first time. There’s no word yet on if and when this version might get released for Vive owners to try at home.

2. Owned activations - Correct

teenvogue_summit.jpgPhoto courtesy: BizBash

Event marketing can go from an expense line item to a revenue line item by charging consumers for the experience and, brands that produce their own events, can generate revenue and offset marketing costs. Owned activations will require a different kind of event expertise that's melded with a brand’s marketing strategy. As your event's sole owner, you can supplement your experiential marketing budgets as an insurance policy as the event is developed (and grows) over multiple years. Plus, if there is a revenue shortfall in the first one or two years, there is a budget to make ends meet until the event becomes profitable. Once the event is established, it becomes its own profit center, achieving the brands exact marketing goals while making money.

Who did it best in 2017?
  • Comedy Central: During the inaugural Colossal Clusterfest in downtown San Francisco Comedy Central teamed up with Superfly, the company that runs Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, to bring Clusterfest to life. The three-day festival offered five comedy and music stages packed with comedians and musicians, along with local food and recreations of sitcom sets
  • Teen VogueHosted by Teen Vogue editor in chief Elaine Welteroth, credited with the publication’s prominent and celebrated political and activist-centric voice, the summit speakers included actress Rowan Blanchard, actress, scholar and activist Yara Shahidi, founder and CEO of Girlboss media Sophia Amoruso, and former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

3. Going live - Correct

E-News-Facebook-Live-Ulta-Beauty-Alternate.jpgPhoto courtesy: Digiday

"Homeless media” is the future of content publishing because it doesn’t require a homepage or an application and syndicates content through social media channels that your audience is already on. Viewers can send notifications to friends to watch the experience with them, making streaming more shareable. Live videos are similar to watching live TV where the influencers are the actors. Marketers have the opportunity to impart their messaging via native sponsorship of influencers’ channels through event promotion such as hashtag, photo, and video sharing on location, offering a great way to join the conversation beyond the footprint of the event.

Who did it best in 2017?
  • Comic-Con: Twitter expanded its partnership with IGN Entertainment to serve as the official live-streaming platform for the video-game news and entertainment publisher’s coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-ConThe ad-supported Comic-Con live stream was available July 19-22 worldwide, with a total of about 13 hours of coverage
  • E! NetworkE! News launched a new live video series on Facebook called “Freestyle.” Hosted by E! News correspondent Zuri Hall and E! News senior beauty editor Cinya Burton, the show focuses on beauty and fashion, with each episode highlighting different guest experts, products and trends within themes like “hair hacks,” “holiday must-haves” and “lip trends.” Spanning eight 30-minute episodes, the show has helped E! News grow to almost 10 million Facebook followers

4. Social share-ability - Correct


These brand experiences give equal weight to IRL participants and the social shelf life of their content. Social media propels experiential marketing beyond the present by hyping attendees in the days and weeks leading up to the activation and allowing them to relive the good times once they've passed. Smart brands are combining the power of social media posting with real world experiences to launch their branded events in front of new audiences. Even smarter brands know which platforms to post on and which aren't so experiential-friendly. The most successful, social sharing experiences activate with photo and video opportunities in mind. Then, when event attendees post live photos from these activations, the brand is able to track those pieces of content with embedded branding (custom hashtags, photos opps, product offers for social shares)

Who did it best in 2017?
  • 29RoomsThis year marked the third year of Refinery 29's pop-up installation space, 29Rooms, in New York. The exhibit will make its way to Los Angeles this winter; tickets, ranging from $19 to $85, have already sold out.) The exhibit features things like a human snow globe and a "cloud pool" made from blocks of blue foam, spread throughout 29 themed rooms.
  • Color Factory: This 12,000-square foot space contains 15 interactive color “experiences.” In one room, a menagerie of cheese puffs, goldfish, and measuring levels create an orange tableau. In another, a bright yellow ball pit invites visitors to jump in and play. Perhaps most iconic, there’s the confetti room, where tiny squares of colorful paper blanket the room like fresh snow.

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Topics: brand experiences, experiential marketing, marketing trends

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