Experiential marketing has been one of the most impacted channels by the pandemic. However, there are signs that this important marketing tactic is beginning to come back in new and exciting ways. Recently 2,500 fans gathered at a new venue called the Virgin Money Unity Area in what is being called the first socially distanced concert. 500 raised metal platforms are spread throughout the arena that allow groups up to five to watch safely. Helen Page, group brand and marketing director at Virgin Money said, “This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans”. Since the start of the pandemic we have seen many drive-in raves, but brands have found other innovative ways to overcome social distancing.
One of my favorite recent examples is the ability for Chaco Footwear (See Here) to adjust its plan to help those in need. 2020 was going to be an epic year for the brand launching new products and two experiential tours. Even early on when the cancel culture was dominating, Chaco found a way to quickly retrofit its factory on wheels that was supposed to tour the country and offer “rolling repairs” to produce face masks and explore specs for other protective equipment for front line workers. Furthermore, the brands ChillOut program that was designed to provide a relaxing experience and promote their new after sport product the Chills slides, was adjusted to a purely digital experience. Instead of experiencing this in person, consumers shared Instagram Stories for tips to reduce stress. A much-needed experience during the pandemic. For brands looking build relationships in these unprecedented times, they must not forget that experience is everything. A more holistic treatment needs to be taken in experiential to uncover its full potential.