This is the first of three blog posts from Mark Duval’s interview with Max Lenderman, CEO & Founder of School. This part primarily focuses on experiential marketing and how it has changed over the past decade.
Mark: Since you wrote your book Experience is the Message: How Experiential Marketing is Changing the Brand World back in 2006, what are some of the more significant ways you’ve seen experiential marketing evolve? Over the past 12 years I’m sure there’s been quite a bit of a change.
Max: There has been. So I think two huge things have occurred since then. The first is just the explosion of social and the ability to amplify and share individual experiences. When I wrote the book Experiential, typically the more successful experiential campaigns were large-scale, event-based, mass audience-based experience campaigns. Big NASCAR race takeovers or Bonnaroo villages and millions of samples type of stuff. That was because you really needed to go to a mass audience perspective in order to get that reach.
With the advent of social media you can do really interesting experiential in one location and have it be basically broadcast out to the world. I mean a great example of that is “Fearless Girl,” right? It’s a tiny four-foot statue that is probably the most famous campaign on the planet right now. So the advent of social has definitely changed how we perceive experiential in that regard.
The second biggest change is that experiential, when I wrote the book, was considered almost like an ancillary tactic. Like the way people would say it is “bring the brand to life,” or “support the brand campaign,” where now, it could be the entire campaign itself. So more and more great ideas that are being rewarded at Cannes and at the 4A’s and whatever, the Clios, they are experiential in nature.
So when I wrote the book, you would basically get a brief about a great campaign that’s going to run on TV and they would say, “okay, how do you bring that idea to life in the real world?” These days the briefs are that we need to bring this idea to life in the real world, so how do we amplify it with content that could or could not run on TV, so it’s kind of flipped in that regard. So really it moves experiential from a tactic to almost like a must-have, for any modern marketing mix.