Experts from BBC Studios, BT & EE and Fever speak to Hamish Jenkinson, founder and ECD at The Department, about immersive marketing, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani
“Power of immersive experiences is really transforming the way we engage in the live experience, particularly after the pandemic,” says Hamish Jenkinson, founder and ECD at The Department (UK). With over a decade of immersive experience under his belt, he speaks to industry experts about the positive impact of this type of marketing on brand audiences.
Tom Burton, head of interactive at BBC Studios began by breaking the immersive campaigns into two aspects, purpose and depth of engagement. “Our mission, our strapline has been, educate and entertain. That's our purpose. And I think brands that cut through that have a relationship with their audience and tend to have a clear sense of purpose and social contract.” As he describes the “great intersection of technologies” we currently have available, he links back to the manifestation of storytelling that comes from companies that have their purpose at the heart of what they do.
“It's about that engagement. It's about relevance,” says Mat Seats, corporate affairs director at BT and EE. While digital marketing has played a significant role in enhancing the customer engagement of brands, Mat reflects on how his marketing teams have discovered that immersive experiences perform better as part of their marketing budgets. He says, “the richness and quality of data” from immersive experiences is “far greater” than that of other marketing efforts they’ve previously used.
Fever, a tech-enabled entertainment discovery platform that creates immersive brand experiences, has worked on experiences for Netflix and Warner Brothers, among other companies. The brand’s general manager for the UK, Ireland & Nordics, Sana Ali Aamir explains how the company creates “experiences that audiences are paying tickets for, and then walking away with something that deals with them. And that's really interesting.”
Hamish calls it a “psychological shift” as the difference between a free experience and promoting an immersive experience has shifted since the ‘90s when he began in the industry. “Now I find myself with the agency working on immersive experiences that really create these indelible bonds that audiences are choosing to spend money on to search out and to engage with,” and while ‘immersive’ isn’t embraced by everyone, he sees it as a platform for “technology, innovation and theatre.”
Tom and Mat delve deeper into the BBC Studios and EE collaboration of ‘The Green Planet AR Experience’. “This is a piece of innovation and it's a testament to everybody involved,” says Matt, “it was there for a month and it was free because this was a group of big companies coming together to experiment and understand more about the technology and how they apply it to their customers or their audiences.”
BBC Studios & EE - The Green Planet AR Experience
The result of 10,000 people spending 40 minutes with the brands resulted in a 96% approval rating, 76% of which gave the experience five stars for the content they experienced. Tom explains, “The people who were doing the research are specialised in measuring levels of immersion, so what we found was huge levels of engagement.” With the aim of helping reduce ‘plant blindness’, the experience made everything exciting, dramatic and memorable for the audience. The result was a media reach of 310 million.
Other case studies discussed were Netflix’s Stranger Things: The Experience, the drive-in event which launched in 2020, during the pandemic, as well as the Museum of Ice Cream in various US cities.
Netflix - Stranger Things: The Experience
[Image above: The organic interest in the immersive experience of 'Stranger Things: The Experience']
Museum of Ice Cream - New York City
[Image above: The Museum of Ice Cream immersive experience]
With technology leading the way and brands seeing a largely positive reaction to immersive experiences, the industry is only set to grow.