Ask any women under the age of 60 about her first Barbie doll and she will tell you what Barbie wore, what kind of car she drove around her bedroom and what the dream house of her era looked like. No doubt Barbie is big business for Mattel and she is the stuff that cements generations of women to a common experience. Only in the last two years since my own daughter has become a Barbie Girl have I realized the brilliance of the experiential marketing program Mattel has orchestrated. Wikipedia defines Experiential Marketing as the art of creating an experience where the result is an emotional connection to a person, brand, product or idea.
Every year around Labor Day there is a new Barbie movie that is released. I first became aware of this annual event in 2007 with Barbie the Island Princess. The clever Mattel marketing department then organizes in person events in cities around the country for Barbie fans young and old to meet the famous persona. In Sept 2007 I got sucked in by my own emotional connection to the brand and arranged to take both my daughter and my niece to see a screening of Barbie Island Princess at the local zoo. They got their pictures taken with the “real life” Barbie and get some exclusive goodies from the movie. I was not alone in my zest to hitch my then three year old to the Barbie marketing machine. I was joined by my best friend and her girls as well as a swarm of other moms and daughters all out there connecting to the person/brand/product that is the Barbie Girl.
As you have probably guessed Barbie has a website, a facebook page and a Twitter account. She is the plastic personification of what I learned about experience and experiential marketing at the IMS in my second session called “Usability and Consumer Experience & Experiential Marketing”. John Kottcamp, Chief Marketing Strategist at Ascentium in Seattle stressed that brands should have an integrated digital experience. This is more than a standard look, feel and color palette. The soul of the brand needs to be the same in all mediums. You must be authentic with your audience where ever they encounter your brand.
Kottcamp used the B2B example of his client Dell who had a desire to connect with young IT professionals. They signed up as a spokesperson Olivia Munn, host and actress on the G4 cable network. G4’s primary demographic was video gamers. Since many video game enthusiasts also work in the tech industry Olivia was A list celebrity to the Dell demographic. Dell then created a series of web commercials on You Tube called Olivia Munn and IT through the Decades. These campy spoofs were comedy genius showing the young IT professional as the smartest guy in the room vs his co-workers from other departments. Much like a Dilbert cartoon come to live the young IT professional is finally the vindicated in the end. Dell carried the message through by using Munn in their website as well. Kottcamp believes the goal of all marketing is to drive leads to your website thus all marketing must integrate into your web strategy.
The final presenter in the IMS session was Garrett Fuselier with T2. Garrett evangelists of using crowdsourcing and high tech multimedia events to create product buzz. One of the examples he gave that I really connected to was this video on YouTube of group of strangers at a movie theater waiting to see a new release who were turned into human joysticks for a game of human pong. You really have to watch the video to see the connection. Garrett stressed that T2 is in the business of “Xpectation, Xperience and Xtension”. And although only a handful of people actually got to be involved in the experiment the YouTube video and word of mouth made it something much bigger than the handful of events actually staged.
I think the Social Pong as the event was called is a great example of something a B2B company could do at a tradeshow to drive crowds to their booth. In the case of the event at the movie theater the sponsor was MSNBC and with every brick hit there were news headlines released but why not use something similar to reveal product information in your booth. Put in some hidden prizes behind a few bricks and you could keep traffic going the whole show.
Do our Savvy readers have any good consumer experience examples of how they have staged events like these by Dell and MSNBC to engage customers and prospects?