Adland's move into branded experiences

As branded experiences become an increasingly popular option for marketers, ad agencies are also realising the potential to include this specialism in their credentials pitch.

Calm: Adam & Eve/DDB and ITV partnership
Calm: Adam & Eve/DDB and ITV partnership

Above-the-line agencies have organised some of the most creative live campaigns of the past 12 months. Adam & Eve/DDB was behind the striking Campaign Against Living Miserably work that, in partnership with ITV, installed 84 hooded figures on top of The London Studios on London’s South Bank to publicise the issue of male suicide.

VCCP was the creative brain behind some of easyJet’s activations, while for Ikea’s store launch in Sheffield Mother created a "Wonderful everyday" tour of the city featuring items from the retailer. "The industry is more relevant than ever," Chris Gallery, partner at Mother, explains. "It used to simply mean what the branded event looked like, but now we have to think of the entire user journey as a branded experience."

Millennial appeal

Gallery adds that this is even more important when it comes to younger audiences with a "hunger for meaningful experiences". He says: "They reject a lot of traditional marketing, but brand experiences are welcomed – as long as they are worth experiencing."

Brands are taking a keen interest in this area and Karmarama’s managing director, James Denton-Clark, says clients are mindful that millennials value experiences above all else. "I think [brands] are investing more in providing consistent experiences," he says. "So although live brand experiences are as important as ever, the way brands are delivering those experiences – and with which partners – is changing."

Mother is also seeing a similar trend – Gallery says the agency has noticed a lot of clients devoting budgets to experiential projects. "Ten years ago, it was seen as a big, one-off investment and quite hard to show payback compared with other channels," he says. "Now that social provides the opportunity to amplify an experience and give it both longevity and reach, we can generate more solid business cases for investment."

So how exactly are ad agencies moving into this area? Read Campaign's Future of Branded Experiences report on how Adam & Eve/DDB, Karmarama, VCCP Kin and Ogilvy are entering the space.