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Julia Manoukian


December 15, 2017

The Most Effective Auto Activations This Year [Roundup]

Julia Manoukian

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It’s been a big year for automotive marketing. VR, immersive headquarters, music activations—no tactic has been left unturned this year as automotive marketers look to reach new audiences in a slowing market. We’re also exploring how to merge influencer and experiential marketing, as well as a few outdated methods your event could do without.

Watch our latest webinar, "The Future of Experiential & Events: How Top OEMs  Leverage Digital To Impact Engagement & Bottom-Line Results," and learn what  major brands like Cadillac and GM are doing to deliver a rich brand experience  and drive sales across tiers. 

Cruise Through The Best Auto Activations of the Year

Event Marketer features editor Sandra O’Loughlin covers this year’s best auto activations—here are some of our favourites and why.

Acura Mood Roads

Acura created a never-before seen personalized NSX supercar engagement that changed based on attendee’s brain waves, heartbeat, and facial expressions. And instead of wearing clunky VR goggles, attendees wore a headset that allowed them an immersive experience into an almost 360-degree view of their own Mood Road.

Why we loved it: Because of the biometrics, no two 90-second engagements were the same. The activation also reminded the festival attendees that Acura is a trailblazer that values connecting with consumers who value distinction and independence.

Cadillac House

Cadillac’s 12,000 square-foot headquarters that opened in SoHo, New York City, last year has undoubtedly been a fan-favourite. The space is intentionally positioned as more of a cultural hub than a showroom to appeal to a younger demographic.

Why we loved it: Cadillac house is the activation that keeps on giving. Whether it’s hosting cocktails during Cadillac House After Hours, the brand’s weeknight cocktail series collaborates with live jazz from local bars, or putting on art installations (Andy Warhol’s Portrait of America recently exhibited), the brand has solidified themselves as a valuable member of the community, while raising awareness of their products.


Chevrolet is one of those brands that has a historical knowledge of doing music-driven activations well. This year, Chevrolet took it to Nashville for the Country Music Festival, sponsoring two main stages, lounges and a ton of other brand awareness and affinity initiatives.

Why we loved it: For experiential marketers attempting to hit a diverse audience, this multi-agency outdoor event is definitely an activation to look up to.

How to Integrate Influencer Marketing with Experiential to Supercharge Results

“Experiential is the yin to influencer marketing’s yang,” writes marketing and events agency President and CEO Brett Hyman for AdWeek.

Traditional influencer marketing—brands paying those with the most followers—has grown predictable, not to mention subject to new regulations. Hyman proposes three strategies to combine experiential and influencer marketing to boost brand awareness and create high ROI:

Replace transactional partnerships with real relationships

Instead of trying to fake it, identify influencers who naturally love your brand. For example, Hennessy partnered with Nas to strengthen their connection to the arts. Hyman encourages brands to take a more hands-off approach and let influencers do their own spin on a brand.

Focus on finding your micro-influencer

Instead of only going after the big guys, brands can be more strategic in how they select influencers. For example, sparkling beverage producer LaCroix targeted millennials who had a strong presence in their network, and has seen their sales double year over year. The point is to target people with similar values, rather than big-shot celebs.

Provide influencers with content they actually want to share

Experiential is an effective tool because it takes consumers from awareness to affinity fast. Combine this with influencers who align to your brand’s purpose and you have a powerful strategy to amplify memorable activations.

“Events create a wealth of content prime for social sharing, and they invite influencers to something that they don’t just promote, but that they’re part of,” says Hyman. Thus, the whole of experiential and influencer marketing is greater than the sum of its individual parts. Once brands recognize this, the stronger their integrated marketing campaigns will be.

14 Things We Don’t Need Anymore At Events

The events industry has grown up, and so should event marketers. Take a look at our favourite 6 things the industry can finally let go of:

  • Paper badges: Paper is so old-school—not to mention its clunkiness. RFID, NFC, beacons and mobile apps are all apt alternatives.
  • PowerPoint: How many effective PowerPoints do you see at events? It’s time to be creative with getting your point across. Leverage multi-media and immersive experiences rather than relying on the old-school PowerPoint.
  • Showguides: Everything that your print handout can do, your event app can do a hundred times better. 
  • Business cards: Do you really need a business card to connect with someone post-event? Try social networking, smart badges, contact cards, etc.
  • Feedback forms: Like business cards and paper badges, feedback forms are clunky, and forced. Replace with social media, touch screen surveys, online survey tools, etc.
  • Cash: Why limit the revenue generated? RFID solutions are becoming quite popular, as well as a safer and more secure alternative to cash.

CTA image to view A Guide To Proving & Improving Experiential & Live Marketing ROI eBook

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