Welcome To Experiential's Golden Age
By Jonathan Emmins| Campaign
First published in Campaign, 28 September 2017
Once dismissed as above-the-line marketing's poor relation, the industry appears to be finding a renewed respect for experiential and agencies have been falling over themselves to get a slice of the brand-experience pie, says Amplify's founder...
Earlier in September, Accenture Interactive took time out of its spending spree to put a stake in the ground, saying it wants to be the world’s biggest ‘experience agency of record’. This follows last month’s Exterion news, when the agency announced it will sell experiential space in the same way as ATL media. Publishers are getting in on the act, with Hearst UK investing in a 30% expansion of its events team after recognising that consumers want to get involved with brands, rather than being interrupted by advertising.
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And, of course, there was a significant move made by this fine magazine itself. When Campaign decided to kick off the mass post-holiday return-to-work with the launch of a dedicated brand experience channel, it was yet another sure sign that experiential had finally been given its rightful seat at the marketing table.
But why the sudden zeal for all things experiential? Why has it taken this long for industry insiders to wake up and smell the coffee by recognising that brand experiences go way beyond low-rent Nescafé sampling campaigns at the local supermarket? Why are people now starting to appreciate the strategic and creative smarts that go into today’s new breed of more effective and grown-up experiential marketing?
The answer is relatively simple: it’s all thanks to the ‘experience economy’.
This is already a buzz term in marketing circles. But, as so often happens with the latest sound bite, its meaning can get lost in a fug of industry hype. So let’s break it down.
The experience economy heralds a new era; one that is driven by the first people to grow up alongside smartphones and social media. This was the generation that realised the bragging rights from experiences gave them more precious social-media currency than the materialistic ownership that defined their parents.