5 of our favourite experiential activations that have us excited for summer
Our top 5 northern hemisphere experiential campaigns to inspire us ahead of summer in the south.
Longer days. Muggy night air. Warmer months are on the horizon South of the equator. “Whoop! Whoop!” I hear coming out of our ANZ and SA offices. Sitting in AUS, it’s been awesome seeing how brands in the northern hemisphere have used their summer as an opportunity to create some incredible experiential activations.
I believe brand experience has the power to make life more memorable, exciting, and just more fun. And when it does, it helps people and brands make real connections in this increasingly digital world. Here are five campaigns that I think did just that. Ready to be inspired by some heavy-hitters? Let’s go…
1. HENDRICK'S NEPTUNIA GIN - KALEIDOSCOPE LIGHTHOUSE
Inspired by a freeing walk with her dog along the coast, master distiller, Ms. Lesley Gracie, wanted to ‘bottle’ the experience. And so Hendrick’s Neptunia Gin was born. For the launch, Hendrick’s collaborated with contemporary British artist, Claire Luxton, to create eye-catching artistic murals that were projected onto three iconic lighthouses across the UK.
Kaleidoscope artworks pay homage to the magic of the sea that inspired the gin, transforming everyday lighthouses into shining experiential beacons for the brand.
We love the use of lighting, displays, and projection mapping. When it comes to creating impactful activations that dazzle, it’s a testament to the continued relevance they hold within the experiential toolkit.
Closer to home, the activation was localised for Sydney’s Vivid Festival. By taking over one of Sydney's most iconic pubs, the brand drove away the winter blues with a riot of light and invited gin lovers for an experience like no other.
Luxury brands walk an interesting tightrope. They can only be enjoyed by the ultra wealthy, but still want to appeal to those who can’t afford their products and will likely never experience them. Until now that is.
Partnering with Snap (the parent company of Snapchat), Tiffany & Co. brought its exhibition at this year’s Saatchi Gallery in London to life with augmented reality. Built on a white-label version of Snapchat, the tech uses two filters that gave anyone with a smartphone the opportunity to experience the brand.
The activation allows you to transform the exterior of the exhibition venue, adorning it in larger-than-life jewellery. And, as a more personal experience, allows you to try on some of the brand’s most iconic and exclusive jewellery pieces.
Snap’s investing heavily into expanding its AR capabilities. With more than 330 million active users around the globe, reaching more than 90% of age groups 13 to 24, and 75% of age groups 13 to 34, the potential is massive. And when we think of our own experience in using AR for Virtual Asset tokens (VATs), we can clearly see how it could be used to help brands deliver everything from discount vouchers and free samples, to event access.
3. STRANGER THINGS - "SURFER BOY" PIZZA POP-UP
To create some hype ahead of its much-anticipated fourth season, Stranger Things served up the spooky with a sensational global experiential campaign.
Show fans will be no stranger to this season’s fictional ‘Surfer Boy Pizza’ fast-food chain. So, starting off in London, posters advertising fictional Hawkins products led fans on a scavenger hunt, with clues leading people to a ‘rift’ - a portal between the ordinary world, and the show’s fictional ‘upside down’.
Follow the clues and find the location and you get to enter through a portal that takes you into an otherworldly experience, culminating in a Surfer Boy pizza pop-up restaurant that served up limited-edition Demogorgan (the monsters that occupy the upside down) pizzas.
But Netflix didn’t stop there. The elaborate global experiential campaign spread its tentacles to New York, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur and Australia.
Down under, a ‘rift’ portal appeared on Bondi Beach. And to give it local flavour, characters of the Aussie hit show, Bondi Rescue were first to respond, posting to social and garnering extensive news coverage. It’s the perfect example of a scalable activation experience with universal appeal.
4. HENNESSY - COURTS BEYOND LIMITS
Cognac brand Hennessy teamed up with the National Basketball Association to celebrate the NBA’s 75th anniversary season. As part of their “Courts Beyond Limits” series, they launched a global world-first experiential activation – floating basketball courts.
London’s Thames played host to one of the first. An opening ceremony with a performance by rapper AJ Tracey paid homage to the cultural links between basketball and hip-hop (with which Hennessy is also closely tied). Then, the floating court embarked on a three-day journey from Woolwich to Westminster, hosting a tournament dubbed “London’s Got Game”. And, finally, culminating in an open day where adults could board the court to play and experience it for themselves.
We love the simplicity of the idea. Especially how it illuminated the sport as an experience in a completely new light. Also, it’s super scalable. In addition to other pop-up courts across the globe, a Hennessy/NBA floating court has also launched in Sydney Harbour, cementing the brand as “The Official Spirit of the NBA”.
5. AMERICAN EXPRESS - WIMBLEDON. ACED. #WITHAMEX
Sports marketing and event sponsorships need no introduction. They’re a tried-and-tested way of engaging an emotionally invested captive audience. And with the right experiential activation, they can truly turn spectators into connected fans.
American Express proved just that at Wimbledon 2022. Cardholders got access to the Amex Tennis Fan Experience, which included a private recharge lounge, a centre court challenge featuring Andrew Murray, complimentary trainer cleaning, Wimbledon-themed nail art and more.
We always love a good old experiential brand experience done right. And when it comes to sport (or any other sponsorship), we can’t help but imagine the massive potential of incorporating VATs into campaigns. It’s a massively effective way to engage modern audiences who are looking to experience events both physically and digitally. And down south, with Australia and New Zealand both having huge sports cultures, it’s a no-brainer.
wRAPPING THINGS UP...
Visceral, immersive, engaging. Experiential is what gets our pulses racing, whether physical, virtual, or both. So, when looking to elevate your campaigns this summer, ask yourself: how can this activation become even more impressive? Stuck for an answer? Look no further than immersive, creative tech, something we know a thing or two about.
If you’re based in the southern hemisphere, summer is coming. We hope these great experiential campaigns will help you get those creative juices flowing so your brand can capitalize on the lush long days and warm nights. Ready? Steady? Get creating!
A proud Kiwi, living in Sydney with my English husband and two Aussie kids. An avid fan of music festivals, and keen ocean swimmer; I relish connecting talented people, and seeing the magical results they create for clients.