In an effort to show millennials, who aren't as excited about riding bikes as other generations, that riding isn’t so complicated, Harley-Davidson tried a new way of reaching people.
If there’s any marketing extravaganza industry leaders get hyped for, it’s South by Southwest. This year, SXSW rolled out a slew of hot experiential trends. The world’s leading conference in high-tech business, digital innovation and—of course—business promotion is back. Now, we’re here to bring you the highlights.
Neuroscience in Marketing
Yeah, it sounds ambitious. It’s surprisingly capable, however, and it was showcased as a live marketing art display. The brain-friendly experiential displays highlighted SXSW’s collection of high-tech displays, showcasing AI-powered neuroscience bots. Dubbed ‘pre-suasion,’ the event mashed up digital complexity and the average consumer’s daily wants and needs.
Sony’s Wow Factory
Above all brands, Sony’s tech display probably won. Its knock-out collection of ‘techsperiments’ revealed its global Wow brand campaign. Packed with sonic motion music entertainment, projection-mapped VR experiences and an encompassing ‘Wow Factory,’ Sony thrived in SXSW.
Amazon’s Delivery Drones
While Amazon’s high-tech delivery drone program might be old news, its live demos have been heavily anticipated. SXSW became Amazon’s platform for presentation, proving the delivery program’s existence. Until now, many have rightfully scoffed at the feasibility of such a program. Tested across the UK and Germany, Amazon’s drone fleet hasn’t seen many audiences—until now.
Consumers are knowledgeable about touchscreens, but Sony—again—surpassed all expectations. It presented the Android projector, the Xperia Touch, and let visitors test out its flat-surface projections. Useable on the wall, the floor or even on a table, the Xperia Touch promises to be one of today’s leading augmented display technologies.
Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket
The clothing brand, Levi’s, got its presentation as well. The brand has partnered with Google to make ‘smart clothes’ capable of integrating SMS, Google maps and more. Levi’s presented a live tech demo, letting users try out its Commuter Trucker Jacket. Capable of reading swipes, taps and a slew of other inputs, the Trucker Jacket was one of SXSW’s most hands-on displays.
The Fortis Exoskeleton
It’s about to get weird. While the rest of SXSW went crazy over self-driving cars, projectors and jackets, Lockheed Martin presented its Fortis exoskeleton. Strapped to the body, the exoskeleton adds skeletal support. It helps the frail walk, helps construction workers lift heavy objects and—well—exists as one of the event’s coolest pieces of technology.
Audi’s experiential marketers are on a roll, and they’re revamping the brand’s image from the ground up. From Audi’s A3 launch events to its CES exhibit floor, its high focus on consumer marketing has been batting a thousand. It’s made an appearance in Miami’s Wynwood, Alcatraz and even at a Major League Soccer sponsorship event. From head to toe, Audi has gotten a high-adrenaline makeover.
Rebuilding a Brand
Audi didn’t necessarily need a solid rebranding initiative, but its recent live engagements have revitalized the age-old mantra of, “If you can strategize it, it’ll work.” A key difference between Audi’s newest marketing maneuvers and competitive brands is its high focus on in-the-moment action.
Audi’s experiential team hasn’t pulled any punches. While it’s previously used typical auto shows to launch new vehicle reveals, it’s prioritized the consumer experience across various markets with hands-on track introductions. Closed-course programs were at the foundation of Audi’s grand scheme, powering later driving experiences with a solid history, alone.
That isn’t to say Audi’s experiential marketing is strapped for ideas, either. Rather, Audi’s senior manager of events and experiential marketing, Erin Keating, placed a high focus on property exposure, product coordination and—of course—global appeal.
Power to the Marketers: Revitalizing with Engaging Experiences
Audi’s experiential marketing department, powered by incredible minds and practical solutions, doubled its staff. Now sitting at 10 innovative leaders, it exists as a comprehensive power-house consisting of a VIP and influencer specialist, a motorsports manager, a European product delivery coordinator and more. Audi’s experiential outreach team isn’t new to the game, and they’ve put incredible detail into revamping the Audi Driving Experience.
The Audi Driving Experience, itself, is Audi’s rebranding platform—based upon comprehensive exposure campaigns, local launch events and trade shows. A big part of Audi’s experiential rebranding effort is its regional sponsorships. Already, the brand has activated two national sports entities, obtaining support from both Major League Soccer and the U.S. Ski Team.
In a surprising move, Audi recently solidified its action-packed experiential marketing campaign with a high degree of technological aestheticism. Audi’s Dome of Quattro, for example, debuted at the Denver International Airport. The high-definition, 30-foot tall techno dome featured a hospitality lounge, Audi’s sleek design, a curved bar and a massive digital screen presenting documentaries about Le mans and the U.S. Ski Team.
The technological angle is telling, because immersive tech, itself, is becoming synonymous with lifestyle and sports marketing. Free Wi-Fi goes a long way, especially when it’s sued to present a gigantic digital tunnel video. Make no mistake: Audi’s marketing tactics are rising quickly, and they’re only getting better. When equipped with a solid experiential marketing team, brands have incredible potential.