Modern brands are using experiential marketing in unique ways. Explore some of the newest and most interesting event activations, immersive installations, pop-up stores, and experiences across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
At kubik, we’re always looking for examples of experiential marketing ideas that inspire us and give us insights into the newest trends in the industry today. We’re seeing major brands taking advantage of events and experiences (or creating their own) and developing sponsorship and brand activations that engage eventgoers and boost brand recognition. From sports to fashion, entertainment, and dining – every industry offers events that act as opportunities for all types of brands to showcase themselves and their product or service. By creating immersive and engaging brand activations, businesses can forge deeper connections with their target audience, enhance brand awareness, and drive customer loyalty.
Some brands are taking a different approach to the idea of experiential marketing with things like gamification, sponsored events, and mobile tours, where brands take their marketing to the road with various forms of branded vehicles, food trucks, and immersive mobile showrooms. These forms of engaging experiential marketing are becoming trendy and effective ways to connect with audiences.
Here are some big-name brand activation examples that are being showcased across Europe and North America in 2023.
US Events & Activations
The 2023 annual SXSW event in Austin, Texas, features panels with famous speakers, music and comedy showcases, film screenings, exhibitions, and more. This past March, the event had a variety of immersive experiences from brands like Tik Tok, Mastercard, HBO Max, Lush, Prime Video, Doritos, Billboard, and more.
The Audible Sound Studio was a fitting activation for Amazon’s audiobook and podcast service. This activation featured listening pods where users could become immersed in Audible panels and podcasts, and record stories of their own on vinyl. They also had a lounge space where attendees could sample parts of their exclusive audio series Words + Music.
The Cheez-It Stop is a gas station-style roadside attraction in Joshua Tree, California. This ‘cheesy,’ fully immersive brand activation features Cheez-It merch, all the Cheez-It’s flavours, and a Cheez-It pump that dispenses crackers. With fully branded bathrooms for guests, drivers can stop in for a break and explore the attraction while taking photos, which are currently being shared across the internet. This branded attraction was developed to promote their new slogan, ‘Want it, need it, Cheez-it.’
With the Barbie movie coming out in July 2023, brands from Ruggable to Pinkberry to Aldo are using the hype to promote their products. The new Malibu Barbie Cafe pop-ups in New York and Chicago take it a step further with a fully immersive Barbie-themed restaurant featuring a menu by Master Chef semi-finalist Becky Brown.
Taking Experiential Marketing to the Road
As we transition out of the global pandemic, mobile tour marketing campaigns are gaining more popularity. They offer a real-time connection with audiences by taking the brand to the consumer rather than bringing the consumer to the brand.
- The Netflix Love is Blind Tour features a mobile pod from the show where you can speed date with Cole from Season 3 of Love Is Blind and attend watch parties.
- The Augustinus Bader Skincare Mobile Pop-Up in NYC is a mobile truck pop-up shop featuring skin-benefiting smoothies, complimentary skin analysis, free samples, and a chance to win a free gift.
- The Zyrtec “Beat the Mondays” Tour in Miami offered juices, coffees, and other drinks to passersby from their Zyrtec-branded truck. The allergy medicine brand also included an astroturf loveseat lounge, games and prizes and a display of Zyrtec-branded items for the stops on their tour.
Canadian Events & Activations
Netflix took one of their biggest and most popular tv shows and created an experience out of it. The Netflix Stranger Things Experience brings fans a themed immersive experience that features 80s music, food and drinks, special merchandise, photo ops and much more. This 45-minute experience is presented by Netflix and fever and sponsored by Esprit, Chips Ahoy, and Tic Tac.
You need a big event to sponsor when you’re a brand as big as TD Bank. The TD Toronto Jazz Fest offers ten days of free outdoor concerts, food trucks, craft beer and cocktails, games, and interactive brand activations. The festival is sponsored by brands like NISSAN, Steam Whistle, and Bombay Sapphire, among others. This event is one of multiple festivals featuring an OLG Lounge where guests can stop in for a water break, games, and a place to recharge.
This summer, the women-first dating app, Bumble, is setting up an activation at the Budweiser stage as part of its brand awareness strategy. The Bumble booth promotes the newest app feature, Compliments, with merch giveaways and photo opportunities for concertgoers in their ‘compliment cubes.’
The skate and shoe brand, Vans, brings together arts and street culture for the House of Vans Montreal event. This free immersive pop-up experience lasts a full day and includes an art show, community and food market, live music performances and Vans merch. House of Vans is a recurring event where they celebrate their “Off the Wall” attitude in different cities.
The Coca-Cola Stage at the Calgary Stampede is a free outdoor live music experience featuring a lineup of popular artists spanning multiple genres, including Vance Joy, Tegan and Sara, Jessie Reyez, and more. The Coca-Cola Stage is a physical manifestation of Coca-Cola’s “Coke Studio” campaign and “Real Magic™” philosophy. The “Coke Studio” campaign brings people together through music, while their Real Magic™ brand philosophy coins the idea that magic happens when people come together and share experiences.
Europe Events & Activations
Similar to fantasy football, this game, sponsored by the watch company Tissot, creates an engaging experience for fans of the Tour de France. Players can become a manager of their own team, pick riders for a team of 8 cyclists, and gain points at each stage of the race to rank among others in the general league or their own private leagues. By gamifying the cycling event, Tissot and Tour de France have made the race even more engaging for their audience.
Top Marques Monaco is an international supercar show that takes place annually in Monaco and features luxury automobile, aircraft, boat, watches, and jewelry exhibitions. This event involves partnerships with brands like “Comte de Monte Carlo” champagne, Monte Carlo Beer, and the Bricks 4 Kidz® LEGO® workshops.
This retail pop-up store in Paris features immersive installations with a photo booth, a flower store, a handbag vending machine, a coffee shop, and a giant toaster. Jacquemus, a luxury fashion brand, uses this pop-up to interact with all kinds of customers at Galeries Lafayette. This fun, larger-than-life activation allows the high-fashion brand to interact with an audience of everyday shoppers in Paris and highlight their most iconic collections.
The Salone del Mobile.Milano, a globally acclaimed furniture exhibition, attracts over 2,000 exhibitors and welcomes an impressive crowd of over 300,000 visitors every year. The show features exhibits from popular Italian furniture brands as well as other luxury home brands like Hermès’ creations for the home. Panerai, a luxury European watch brand, was touted as the official timekeeper of the 61st edition of Salone Del Mobile.Milano. Panerai set up an 80 square meter pop-up store with a lounge bar to show off their collections. The pop-up was reminiscent of the Panerai boutiques and reflected the elegance of their watches with sleek marble, wood, and other decorative elements.
The Amazon Port interactive brand activation was created for The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to promote Amazon Ads. The festival is where creatives, marketers, brands, and businesses come together over five days to celebrate the top creative campaigns and marketing activations. The top campaigns receive a coveted Cannes Lions Awards. The activation has a Port Café serving iced coffees, a daily happy hour with a Twitch streamer playing tunes, and entertainment like podcasts, live sports, and Amazon Freevee streaming.
kubik: Creating Unforgettable Experiences
As a leading company in experiential marketing, kubik offers a range of services including brand activations, exhibit designs, retail solutions, immersive strategies, and more. Our innovative approach and expertise helps businesses create impactful and memorable experiences that connect with their target audience. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, creative design, and strategic planning, we can transform ideas into reality, delivering exceptional results and fostering brand loyalty. Let’s chat and discuss how we can assist you with your next project.