Nike, Airbnb and other live experiences reimagined for socially distanced times

Campaign looks back on live experiences that could be adapted as lockdown restrictions ease.

(Clockwise from top left) Chelsea FC, Nike, Belvita and Airbnb experiences could be reimagined
(Clockwise from top left) Chelsea FC, Nike, Belvita and Airbnb experiences could be reimagined

With high-street shopping set to return next month and some restrictions eased for pubs and restaurants to follow in July, live experiences look set to make a return this summer, adhering to the new rules around social distancing.

And while festivals and larger-scale events remain at the back of the queue, smaller activations can capitalise on an experience-savvy audience who are eager for live events. Campaign asked some of the leading brand experience agencies to reimagine their past projects for life after lockdown.

Chelsea FC 'Joe Wicks HIIT on the pitch'

Reimagined by Will Mould, founder, XYZ

The "Joe Wicks HIIT on the pitch" event that XYZ designed and produced at Chelsea FC could be reimagined under the new social-distancing rules. We already had 1.5-metre gaps between people, so to extend this to two metres would be pretty simple. Entrance would need to be staggered and distanced, but it would definitely be achievable. We would also take medical advice in case physical activities need extra distancing or potentially screens incorporated. At the time, the event was streamed live on Facebook and other platforms, and so we would do this again.

Looking at previous experiences and how we would deliver them in the current climate is helping us to shape positive and encouraging conversations with brands. The Converse One Star Hotel project could be reimagined through a virtual lens. We would still build the amazing content-rich set and rooms, but participants would immerse themselves in our newly built studio digitally via 360-degree cameras and augmented-reality overlays. The talks, live gigs and personalisation workshops could all still happen from the comfort of people’s homes, without losing the sense of exclusivity and adrenaline you get when attending that kind of experience.

Nike 'Reactland'

Reimagined by Rosh Singh, managing director, Unit9

"Reactland", our collaboration with Nike and Wieden & Kennedy, saw us create a personalised immersive gaming experience controlled by users running on a treadmill. With a few changes, Reactland could be the perfect physically distanced experience.  

With shoe trial at its core, lockers containing various sizes would ensure physical contact is minimised. Once the trainers are on, users are scanned to create their personalised 8-bit character. Originally done via a brand ambassador with an iPad, this could be performed on users’ own devices to reduce shared surfaces. While running IRL, instead of using handheld controllers to make gaming characters jump, gesture recognition could trigger actions through arm movements. Next comes the shareable content via a near-real-time rendered video of the game sent straight to users’ phones, with no human intervention.

With small tweaks, "Reactland" could hit the objectives of being a memorable, socially shareable product trial experience, but reimagined for the physically distanced era.

Belvita 'Good mornings'

Reimagined by Liz Richardson, managing director and partner, HeyHuman

Our original sampling campaign for Belvita "Good mornings" took place at major UK rail stations, bringing piano music and breakfast to commuters, inviting them to sample the brand’s Soft Bakes products. We’d still work with musicians and performers to deliver those good morning vibes, but rather than go for key transport hubs we’d take our musicians on something of a roadshow, targeting areas with a door drop of products. Granted, a piano might be a little cumbersome to wheel around Egham, but keytars or electric keyboards would do the trick just as well.

Giving out samples would be out of the question, but in addition to our targeted door drop, we could flex partnerships with local supermarkets, advertising a discount "password" that customers could then quote to receive their sample when they next shop. We’d amplify the campaign through paid social, using the content generated from the street performance, and use social data to retarget warm leads with discount coupons to drive repeat purchases. 

The campaign could still achieve the unusual nature of pop-up experiential, strengthened by the current street-performance trend, alongside the everyday action of receiving a sample at home, together with a discount incentive.

GSMA at Mobile World Congress

Reimagined by Aaron Raybe, UK director of experiential and live events, Momentum Worldwide

GSMA at Mobile World Congress could be adapted to ensure safety, first and foremost. We could create a "drive thru", a linear journey where the visitors flow in a single direction, passing demonstrations and interacting with exhibitors from a safe distance. Held in an exhibition hall, we would have to reconfigure the space so that the event made the best use of the space, but if there is one thing exhibition halls have, it’s space.  

The whole event would be timed with slots to ensure distance is maintained, starting with contactless registrations with QR codes on smartphones. Exhibitors can use content-rich demonstrations to tell their stories and delegates could download the content without ever taking their phones out – smarter, quicker and less waste. The journey would continue right through to the conference hall, where, again, delegates can consume valuable live content while distancing is controlled. 

Yes, we will have hand-sanitiser stations and an army of cleaners to maintain a clean site. But every facet of the event will need to be carefully woven into the experience to minimise disruption and keep engagement high. Additionally, we can create a "hybrid" event, fusing the physical for those who can travel and with a virtual event for those who can’t attend in person, extending its reach beyond the expo hall and making it available on demand 24/7. This addresses the social-distancing challenge and this way we can get the industry going with a better and smarter approach, under the circumstances.

Airbnb ‘Night at… the Louvre’

Reimagined by Jonathan Emmins, founder, Amplify

As the name "Amplify" hopefully suggests, our focus is always as much on the idea, campaign and "amplification" as the physical experience. As mass gatherings are off the table, clients are, by necessity, being creatively brave and leaning more and more in to this approach.

Our Airbnb "Night at... the Louvre" campaign stands out as an extreme example of the power of "experienced by a few, shared with many". Despite there only being two winners, the campaign went global with over 2,700 PR and broadcast hits across 90 countries, becoming the most successful "Night at…" to date.  

While it's hats off to the Amplify Live team for pulling it off, the major innovation was in our campaign approach. In a first, we actually ran the event twice, initially to capture all the still and moving content and then again for the winners. We balanced "inclusive" and "exclusive". The launch film and content allowed everyone to virtually experience the Louvre behind closed doors and won hearts and minds in the process. Through rigorous comms planning, we ensured the film went global through fully utilising owned channels, PR, digital out-of-home and through strategic partnerships with YouTube and Snapchat.

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