... Not if we keep experiential in our heart! Account Director Matt Lawrenson tells us what he got up this Valentine's Day, and why it wasn't that dissimilar to an experiential marketing campaign!
I was queuing to pay for petrol at a Tesco garage the night before Valentine’s Day with 15 other guys all clutching £10 bunches of near dead roses. It left me thinking two things: one I wish they would open more tills and two thank God I work at an experiential marketing agency and have a plan in place to make Valentine’s day a unique experience!
I couldn’t bear the thought of being in a restaurant sandwiched between 30 other couples all eating from the same set menu wondering if the girl to my right has just drunk my water. Unlike the men in the petrol station, I didn’t pay over the odds for roses that would be dead before the week was out and I wasn’t attempting to cook a romantic meal which would no doubt be a little crispy around the edges
So what did I do?... I did what I do at work, I planned ahead, I wrote myself a brief (in my head anyway), set myself a budget and then started researching what was happening in London on the night. Unsurprisingly there was a fair bit going on so I filtered through thinking back to my brief and budget before deciding on a night at the London Museum. On the face of it not that romantic but on the 14th February they were hosting a one off 20's themed Valentine's night - I couldn’t go wrong.
We arrived and were greeted by hosts in flapper dresses who directed us to the cocktail bar (I’ll say this they knew how to make a drink back then!). We watched some live performances relevant to the era and had a couple more cocktails while we engaged with actors who helped to immerse us into the 1920’s spirit. Then to top it off we visited a host of one off exhibitions at the museum including the original Selfridges store (minus Jeremy Pivin!) before heading downstairs for the highlight of the evening; learning the steps to the Charleston! With my two left feet this was not the easiest thing in the world but fun nonetheless, and I have to say after about 30 minutes we could hold our own. I don’t think I’ll be getting 7’s from Len Goodman anytime soon but we had a laugh and are thinking of going back for some more lessons.
The experience worked because it was fully immersive, from the moment we arrived to the moment we left the 1920’s era was stamped indelibly on every touch point throughout the evening. This is something else we do at work when planning and implementing an experiential campaign for our clients. We make sure the client’s key messages are central to the activation while providing an engaging experience that will touch consumers at several points throughout their interaction with our brand ambassadors - we call it the consumer journey.
So then to evaluate my Valentine’s experience: Did it fulfill my brief to be romantic and a surprise while also teaching us something new? The answer to all was yes. Did I stay within budget? Of course! Then I’d say that was a successful experience - Thanks London Museum!
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Related link: Valentine's at Musuem of London