The days of standing before a crowd as you show off your latest gadget may be behind us. Yet, we did not come to praise the humble demo but to bury it. These days audiences want to interact with a product before even considering buying it. The latest innovation that allows consumers unique and innovative methods of engagement is the experiential room.
Experiential rooms are interactive experiences that are designed to get people talking about your product – and sharing those experiences on social media.
A fun example is 29 Rooms, an art installation hosted by Refinery29 during New York Fashion Week. An 80,000 square-foot warehouse was sectioned off into 29 separate areas that were transformed by artists. Celebrities and brands sponsored many, but not all, of the rooms. For example, the Michael Kors branded room was designed to look like a West Village street. Visitors could pose on a sidewalk “runway” with Michael Kors products – and then share those pics on social media, of course.
Photo Credit: adweek.com
“Because 29Rooms is such a creative experience, and it’s interactive and socially shared, it’s something brands are excited to partner with us on,” said Piera Gelardi, co-founder and executive creative director of Refinery29. “Last year, the branded rooms were some of the public’s favorite ones. It’s not like this lame logo covered thing; it’s actually something that has the same wonder and awe to it as the other rooms do.”
Another example is the European sporting equipment company Globetrotter. Many stores feature rooms where people can put on heavy-duty Globetrotter clothing and enter a room where they are pelted with water and storm-grade winds or subjected to freezing temperatures (-22°F) and wind.
This may seem like an outlandish (even slightly dangerous) marketing stunt – until you realize it’s actually the retailer showing off the quality of its clothing. If you’re going to spend any time at -22°F, you want to know the clothes you bought are actually going to do their job and keep you warm.
A subset of the experiential room is the escape room, where a group enters and they have a set amount of time (usually up to an hour maximum) to determine how to get out. At this year’s SXSW conference, Disney had an escape experience tied to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, while HBO had a multi-room installation promoting Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley.
Yet, the biggest escape room was likely when Ford converted the 35,000 square foot Moynihan Station into a drivable game. Players had 60 minutes to enter an Escape SUV (with its driving speed capped at 5 miles per hour, for obvious reasons) and navigate from room to room. To solve the puzzles players had to use use the SUV’s features, like active park assist, 360-degree cameras, and remote start and lock.
Photo Credit: adweek.com
Cameras and RFID bracelets captured footage of each player that was then spliced into a Ford Escape commercial. Players were able to watch their commercial and encouraged to share it on (you guessed it) social media.
While your company may not be ready to convert a city block into an interactive experience, there are ways for your brand to create an experiential room that engages your desired audience.
- Make sure your experiential room ties cohesively with your brand. Inorganic experiences are destined to fall flat.
- Creativity is key. The more original the idea, the more it will engross your audience.
- Make it shareable. You can judge success by the size of your crowd or the size of your shares.
For more ideas on creating the perfect experiential room, call The Trade Group at 800-343-2005.