Experiential Marketing has been buzzing for almost as long as Lady Gaga has been a pop star. If you ask the old school ad men though, it’s only a new catch phrase, as marketing has always been about creating brand experiences. Are we, or are we in the business of fancy paraphrases. In theory, you can’t really refute the brand experiences argument, but the very reason “experiential” is such a rage from the mad of Manhattan to the mental of Tokyo is because maybe somewhere brand owners began to overlook simple principles of marketing in favor of fast food routines. This was fine while the world was getting richer but in grim of the current financial environment, people have begun to look at your lazy gimmicks with disdain. There are socialist governments emerging for heaven’s sake. The consumer does not want to be spoken to, she wants to be spoken with, sometimes, even spoken for.
Back in Jan, we tweeted about a 3D show organized by Volkswagen on the India gate. That must have been an experience, but was it experiential? How many people knew Volkswagen did it? On the other hand, there are these frivolous American reality shows, where teenagers get their rides pimped and their birthdays celebrated with R&B stars. Plenty brands showcase in these gigs. Experiential? More so.
Around the time Nokia dropped deadmau5 on London, we did a post on 3D projections and how they were experiences highlighting how experiential is becoming all about one moment talking, another second collapsing buildings. Now some folks are convinced that, that’s what experiential is about today. Well these people have tumbled straight into the fast food trap all over again. Experiential for instance is also Coke’s Happiness vending machine.
Close to home we haven’t heard of a top experiential campaign, and it does shock me a little bit considering so many international brands are coming to town, so many products are being unveiled etc etc. Maybe it’s because celebrity advertising (read fair and lovelies being endorsed by Jhon Abrahams) are still working wonderfully.
Having said that, recently we were in the thick of a campaign intended Le Experiential. It came from a brand we would expect being adventurous. They’re called Idea after all. This was an extension of their latest Heavenly this, that…campaign.
Not any less mundane than the other IPL ads, the first time I saw them during the IPL, I waited till the last second for Simi Garewal to pop up and deliver the punch line. Did not happen, so I’m waiting for a spoof now. Except, I wonder who that joke will be on. As is often the case with random coffee breaks, someone bust our cocky assumptions enlightening me that those ads were in fact doing very well and Idea had raced past Reliance and even Vodafone in some North Indian states. Well done. They must be in heaven, no? To share with their subscribers, some space in new found paradise, Idea conceptualized what was called The Nawab in Heaven experiential marketing campaign running during the league stages of the IPL.
It was pretty simple; Idea decided to pick a few of their subscribers and not only delight them but drive them absolutely nuts with a tonnage of good things in one living day. Subscribers were notified (when they called customer care and on 104 FM) that they could simply press 1 during an IVR and enter a Lucky Dip contest. The winners would be Delhi Daredevils’ Nawabs and would be treated like royalty. Idea had been offered enough legroom by the franchisee, so not only could they offer their winners the best seats in the house, but also plenty of other heavenly opportunities for an IPL fan. Before each of Delhi Daredevils’ home game, the winner (and 2 of his friends) were picked up from his place, escorted to the ITC Maurya where he would be able to meet some of the players. The entourage would then move to the Fever 104 FM studio.
By this time the winner had already been interviewed twice on the channel about his reactions on becoming Your Nawabness. On reaching the studio, he met the RJ who not only pronounced him winner again (bit of a stretch to be honest), but also introduced this Nawab to his angels for the evening (essentially 2 girls who’d be escorting the lads from here through the rest of the evening). Crowned and clicked the Nawab’s extended coterie departed for arena to watch the gladiators up and close. All this while, a camera crew had been following them recording every jibe amongst the Royalty. The flattery at the radio station wasn’t a fraction of what the winner was about to experience at their next destination, the home ground (Feroz Shah Kotla). At the venue there were special seats for the winners. When I say special I don’t just mean a good view etc, but even the furniture they parked their royal arses on were meant for someone with Pataudi as his last name. The Nawaab sits on a tall back throne, at a pedestal in the corporate box, not one another attendee in front of him and he’s able to watch the game in style.
For a regular joe, someone who’s interested in cricket, well it was pretty much like heaven.
So Idea did deliver on its promise, though a bit too subliminally for our liking. Being at the ground must have been so overwhelming, that if not reminded, the intoxicated (yes there was full access to the drinks and food lounge) Nawaab would be hard pressed to remember how the crown found his head and who this benefactor was.
Overall it was a well thought out experiential marketing idea by Idea. A good start entering territories that need:
2. solid execution capability
We are of course curious to know how they leveraged all the content (pictures, bytes, videos) the royal effort generated for them. Was there a social follow up? Are they going to make this a property? Will they make people earn this imperial status via contests etc. or will it continue to be who dips wins. Considering that the Nawab did seem jovial through the experience, it might be a good idea to give ideas like these more legs to run longer and with grace.