Archive for the ‘Experience’ tag

MKTG INC @ Cannes Lions 2015

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A team from MKTG INC recently traveled to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The festival is the annual mecca for the global marketing communications industry, with the most powerful brands, media outlets, agencies of all kinds (advertising, PR, experiential, digital, technology, data, social, mobile, creative, and many many others) – approximately 15,000 people, flocking to Cannes to network, to visit brand experiences, to close major deals, to learn, to meet a lot of people, and in many cases take home some hardware.

Sure, the setting is seriously glorious, but it is honestly a beast of a week. Think Sundance or CES…at the beach…in the South of France, in the summer. You are running, watching a panel on a rooftop in 85 degree heat, then running into a freezing cold conference room and back again, and grabbing food along the way, usually until sundown when things slow up a bit.

Luckily, my friend Julie Thompson, a 16-year Cannes Lions veteran, wrote this hugely insightful article for Adweek, that I used as gospel to make sure I made the most of my four days in Cannes. Even with Julie’s help, I still overbooked myself, but not complaining.

Between the client and press meetings at our home base, the Dentsu Aegis Beach House, panels, Q&As, creative showcases, press sit-downs, more panels from Adweek, Medialink, digiday, LinkedIn and visits to Google Beach, Facebook’s Hacker Square, and my favorite stop, The Girls Lounge, I averaged 22,000 steps a day according to my trusty companion, my FitBit.

Anyway, rather than yarn on, I figured I’d share with you some photos I snapped along the way:


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EMS 2015 Takeaways

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EMS 15

The Good (But Not Surprising) News

Experiential is bigger than ever and only going to grow in importance. More and more brands are putting experiences at or near the center of their marketing mix. It’s increasingly a driving force, making up much of campaign content. One need look no further than this year’s Grand Ex winner – Bud Light and Mosaic’s Up for Whatever – to appreciate the sheer magnitude of this intensifying shift. Some data for 2015:

– 79% of brands plan to execute more experiential programs

– Budgets are expected to increase by more than 6%

Results. We all know that experiential marketing, done well, works. But there’s rising data to back this up which is partly why so many brands are turning to what we do.

– Over 75% of brands see better than a 2:1 ROI on their investment

– After an event, 74% of participants have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted

– 87% of respondents say a live event helps them understand products or services better than a TV spot

– Experiential drives consumers to purchase: 98% of people are more inclined to purchase as a result of attending an event

– 71% of participants tell a friend or family member about their experience


Recurring Themes

In examining the vast array of work showcased and dissected at this year’s summit, there were a few marketer behaviors that generated breakthrough experiences:

– They were bold. A no-fear attitude. The thinking is big risk, big reward. Examples: Heineken and KY Jelly (yes, KY Jelly).

– They pulled at heartstrings. Direct quote: “If they’re crying, you’re doing your job.” Examples: Dove, P&G.

– They created user-triggered experiences. See bullet one – this can be dicey – but not knowing what you’re going to get can be the brilliance of it too. Examples: Visa, Old Navy.

– They used experiences to do what nothing else ever could. This sounds obvious but when you watch the floor drop away at a North Face store in South Korea, you’ll get my meaning. Examples: The North Face, Samsung

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3 Key Learnings from Digital Summit Atlanta 2015

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Digital Summit Atlanta, a gathering of some of the most forward thinkers in digital marketing, took place this week and I was proud to make it my 3rd time in attendance. Each year I have been able to discover new topics and discuss the next trends in digital marketing.

Overall, each year has followed its own theme as digital marketing as a whole evolves so quickly. In 2013, trends in how social media was changing for brands was explored in a lot of sessions. Last year it shifted to a major focus on content marketing and SEO. Now, at #DSUM15, the next stage in UX (User Experience) design seemed to be the key focus.

And with that, here are three key takeaways from the conference as it can relate to what we do in the experiential space…

1. Humanizing UX

Many of the sessions at Digital Summit really focused on UX as we were challenged to think of what was next in the field. For example, how do we run UX more lean and understand better, powered with ‘big data’, how to humanize someone’s digital experience. When we map out the consumer journey – remember that each user is an actual person with problems and needs.

When you look at bring a consumer through a brand experience for experiential this line of thinking makes a lot of sense, right? It is our expertise to bring brands to life in a way that they can interact with consumers as people and not anonymous IP addresses. However many activation designs we see in the field could do a better job from at the ideation stage to keep in mind that once launched, these are people with their own objectives who will walk through our ideas.

So when thinking through your consumer experience idea, map it out. Literally draw out each stage of the activation UX and use this tool to identify where the gaps are or more importantly, where it can be more streamlined.

2. Millennials are mobile-first…and are starting to earn a lot of money

When you hear the word “millennials” – how old of a person pops in your mind? Probably an early-20-something with new student debt maybe? Well consider that millennials are were born starting in 1980 and now are entering their mid-30s. Sure there is probably a healthy amount of debt still lingering – but this generation is now entering over a $Trillion in buying power and loves to spend.

So with all of this data we now have on the ‘Connected Generation’ – what have we learned about marketing to them? It’s a long answer but here are two quick tips from @annieg from StumbleUpon.

First, “6 is the new 60” – as in the 6” phone is more important than the 60” TV. Now that doesn’t mean the generation is consumer less video – in fact it’s more than ever. But reportedly 33% do not watch any broadcast TV.

Second, it seems obvious that millennials are connected to their mobile devices, sure, but how many experiences are being built mobile-first? When we consider social, if you stop to think why they are so effective with the connected generation it’s not just because they are social – but because the most popular experiences are mobile-first. Snapchat, Instagram, Vine…some of the most powerful platforms for the younger Millennials have excelled by being native to the 6” screen. So consider mobile-first experiences to connect and make an engagement that this group wants to use. After all, it is why the younger Millennials are now being known as Social Natives.

3. The Entrepreneur Wants to Solve a Problem

I heard a great line this year and it came during a keynote speaker Chris Brogan, whose content I highly recommend. To summarize:

Stop chasing innovation, which aims to just do something.

Be an entrepreneur, which aims to solve someone’s problem.

While this is absolutely a trap in creating the latest in digital experiences, it is also a trap in experiential marketing. Brands and agencies alike all want to innovate and create and truly great new things are activated in our space every year. But when coming up the ideas for the experience on the front end, don’t just try to chase an innovation for the sake of doing it. Instead, identify an audience’s problem and solve it. That is where the entrepreneurship mindset excels and where experiential marketing can truly make an in-person impact on someone.

If you are ever free in May, I highly recommend Digital Summit. This is only a small snipet of content from the 2-day conference. I still have to go through pages upon pages of notes but in the meantime, enjoy the learnings and feel free to find me @BradMEpstein if you want to go through my timeline where I shared some more real-time leanrings!

Bonus! PowerPoint is where data goes to die!

If you work with data (you should!) treat it as a living, breathing source. PowerPoint it becomes static and if 2015 taught me anything – is that static is kryptonite for the modern marketer. So learn new tools that keep you agile and keep your brand’s marketing velocity as fast as possible.

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JCPenney Reimagines Department Store Shopping

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It was only a year ago that Apple Retail Chief, Ron Johnson, was announced as the new CEO of JCPenney.  A year has passed and Johnson’s vision for  the fledgling department store has come under fire, specifically from its pricing structure and the removal of the word “sale” from its vocabulary.

The company’s next initiative is to create smaller shops within the store. In time for back to school season, Levi’s, Arizona and Buffalo are the first concept shops to go live.

Levi’s shops will be in all JCPenney stores by the end of the year. Shops will include mobile checkout, a denim bar, and iPads to be used as another resource for shopper and staff including additional fits and product videos.

JCPenney plans for more store-within-store concepts for brands including Izod and Liz Claiborne. The retailer will also look into creating lifestyle shops (i.e. active sports).

Can JC Penney reimagine the department store?

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July 24th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Gold Fronts: Team USA Gets Final Send-off at Nike World Basketball Festival 2012

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Photo Credit: SLAM

Photo Credit: SLAM

As their final home-cooked tune-up before heading overseas to prepare for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, the USA Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams took part in a hoops-centric celebration known as the Nike World Basketball Festival in Washington, DC.  As a follow up the 2010 celebration in New York City, MKTG INC once again had a hand in celebrating the game’s finest ballers from around the world.

The events kicked off on July 13th in front of the U.S. Capitol, where Team USA posed for an official photo shoot prior to the weekend’s festivities.  MKTG INC was responsible for finding and selecting the venue as well as overall management of the shoot.

Nearby at the D.C. Armory, Nike, MKTG INC and others were busy converting a former Military training facility into a full-fledged basketball mecca.  In addition to the hardwood, a Nike+ area was created on-site to allow consumers to trial and showcase the revolutionary Nike Hyperdunk+, while the Jordan brand offered a chance to create and share your very own Jumpman photo.

Both the Men’s and Women’s USA teams got things rolling on-court with intrasquad scrimmages on Saturday morning, with Jay Bilas providing color commentary throughout. The City Challenge was up next, which featured teams from all of the major cities in a battle for territorial bragging rights.  To cap off the night, we celebrated local talent with an amazing performance by the Howard University drumline, into a 4 song set from Wale.  In case you’re wondering, yes, he still has his Nike boots.

On Sunday the Armory played host to the Global Challenge, which featured the top high-school players from around the world on the court, and a who’s who of college coaches in the stands.  Once the champ was crowned, it was time for the Nike+ Dunk Contest on Sunday night, where this happened.

The final event day on Monday saw things come full-circle on-court with a series of youth and community skills clinics.  From Team USA to youth clinics in three days, the 2012 Nike World Basketball Festival celebrated the game for all ages in a fitting send-off for Dream Team 2.0 to try and live up to their name in London.

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July 23rd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Miami Heats Up With Nike 7-on-7 Football Tournament

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Nike7on7Photo by: Jordan Zuniga

Every year major Division 1 football programs dip into the state of Florida to recruit the best athletes in the country. South Florida in particular is said to be a hotbed of the best high school talent where many players are college ready at young ages. For this reason, Nike has made a concerted effort to become the brand of choice for these players that will eventually be suiting up on Saturdays.

MKTG INC recently assisted Nike with this years installment of the 7-on-7 football tournament in Miami featuring 32 teams in the ultimate showcase of skill and athleticism. In line with Nike’s current marketing strategy, MKTG INC brought the new Nike+ trial zone to Miami where players could compete against each other in vertical jump, foot-fire races, and jump rope drills while trialling the newest Nike footwear technology.  The event was a huge success as the athletes competed at the highest level while being exposed to everything Nike has to offer.

With the positive endorsement of the event from everyone involved, it is possible that the Nike 7-on-7 tournament will become a benchmark for players to strive for in years to come.

Written by: Drew McAvoy

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July 23rd, 2012 at 3:51 pm


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Gymkhana is not a new fitness class being offered at that place you pay for monthly but don’t actually attend. Rather it is the fifth installment of a concept created by Ken Block, owner of DC shoes. So what is Gymkhana all about?  Gymkhana is a series of sick viral videos used by DC Shoes to market the brand, the owner and select athletes they endorse (I.e. Travis Pastrana in this instance). In addition to being owner of a well known skate brand, Ken Block is also a rally car driver and a good one at that. This video showcases his talent as he rips through the streets of San Francisco in his highly branded Ford Fiesta turning the urban landscape into his own personal rally car course.

In typical Gymkhana fashion the video is well edited and I highly recommend you plug in your headphones, crank up the volume and strap yourself in for the ride. I don’t know what is most impressive. The fact that this video has only been up for almost 2 days and has over 8 million views. Or that they were able to shut down half of San Francisco to shoot this video. Either way this thing is dope.

Source: YouTube/DC Shoes

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July 12th, 2012 at 4:19 pm

MKTG INC’s Intern Max Krauss Shares Experience in AgencySpy

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MAKE THE RULESPhoto Credit: Rob Lotzko

On June 23, MKTG INC’s own summer intern, Max Krauss, attended NIKE’s “Celebration of Sport” at Pier 46 in NYC for the 40th Anniversary of Title IX.  AgencySpy picked up on this and featured Max as their very first blogger for their new column titled “A Day in the Life of a Summer Intern.”  Be sure to read all about his experience and find out the lessons learned when going behind-the-scenes of an event here.

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Pop Ups That Really Pop

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PopUp2Photo Credit: Ric Edwards

Can you imagine sitting in chair that looks like a spinning top? How about being surrounded by 30 male models dressed in designer suits while getting a complimentary shoe shine? Thanks to the Herman Miller Pop Up Shop in SoHo and the MR PORTER Pop Up Shop in Meatpacking, I was able to experience both.

The Herman Miller Pop Up Shop, which is open until July 1, features luxuriously detailed furniture vignettes throughout the 6,000 square-foot space.  Located at 68 Wooster Street (between Spring and Broome), the shop tells stories of the past and present while inspiring professional designers, consumers, and commercial users.

Through furnishings for the home, office and exterior spaces, the Herman Miller collection reintroduces familiar classics and forgotten masterpieces to a new generation of design lovers. As Design Director George Nelson envisioned in 1952, Herman Miller’s collection should be “the continuing creation of a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirement for modern living.” If you want to experience the timelessness of the collection first hand, I suggest getting out there this weekend and seeing it for yourself!

After getting dizzy in Herman Miller’s iconic Magis Spun chair, I headed over to the MR PORTER Pop Up Shop at 72 Gansevoort Street, which brought the online menswear destination to life in partnership with USA network’s show, Suits. The store, titled “Suits & Style,” closed on June 17 and had the feel of a masculine, metropolitan lounge.

MR PORTER brought their online experience to the store with large interactive touch-screen monitors that allowed you to play around and create your own looks–what’s the harm in virtually trying on $2,000 cufflinks? Just in case you were in the mood to splurge, your order could be processed right there in the store for delivery. If that wasn’t enough to spark your interest, there was personal grooming services provided by Aesop (and a free java bar!).

It’s safe to say that no matter who you are, the MR PORTER Pop Up Shop would have ‘suited’ you.

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June 28th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Charlie Horsey Gives His Expert Opinion on Gen-Yers in Fast Company

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inline-you-are-not-special-graduatesPhoto Credit: Flickr user Max Elman

If you think you’re special, think again! In today’s Fast Company, MKTG INC’s President & CEO Charlie Horsey gives his expert opinion on how Gen-Yers can (and should) improve in the “real world.”  He suggests delivering your authentic best to the workplace and truly enjoying the ride along the way.  After all, we know a phony when we see one…

Be sure to read the full article here and discover how enriching your life will ultimately make you a better employee.

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June 27th, 2012 at 5:35 pm