Experiential marketing has a lot in common with growing trends in environmentalism. They both rely on an audience’s willingness to both participate and to connect with your campaign. Participation and connection are the cornerstones of both successful experiential activations and environmental movements.
With sustainability continuing to be increasingly important to both consumers and brands, it is unsurprising that many recent successful experiential marketing campaigns focus around an environmentally friendly and sustainable message.
More companies are making sustainability a core part of their marketing strategy and are employing a wide range of technologies and creative strategies to connect with their audiences who share common beliefs and goals with the aim of helping both the environment and their brand image.
Here are 9 brilliant experiential marketing campaigns that have an environmental or sustainable aim or message that you can learn from for your next activation.
1. Pokemon Go Earth Day Cleanup
This #EarthDay, we're hosting cleanup events across the globe with @MissionBlue! If at least 1,500 #PokemonGO Trainers attend these events, Trainers will see special in game surprises! Find your closest cleanup event here: https://t.co/b9FJdxCW6O pic.twitter.com/8tFhW7HMC0— Niantic, Inc. (@NianticLabs) April 4, 2018
Pokemon Go may no longer be a viral phenomenon, but the popular augmented reality gaming app still has a large user base and has the power to activate a massive audience across the world with an experiential marketing campaign – like the one it ran on Earth Day.
Niantic (Pokemon Go’s parent company) teamed up with Mission Blue, Playmob and local NGOs to inspire its users worldwide to pick up trash in a green initiative. They gamified a 48-hour cleanup window where players could earn exclusive unlocks and in-game rewards for engaging with the trash pick-up initiative.
Thousands of players participated across the globe, helping to keep the oceans and planet clean for all the real-world inspirations for Pokemon out there.
2. Dunkin’ Donuts: The Home That Runs on Dunkin
Dunkin’ Donuts uses the tagline “America Runs on Dunkin” and recently the coffee and snacks chain has created an experiential campaign for consumers to live this tagline for real with the “Home That Runs on Dunkin” tiny house experience.
Dunkin’ Donuts partnered with Airbnb to create their tiny house experience that was designed to promote sustainable practices while offering a stylish immersion into the chain’s branding. The message of the activation was “do more with less”.
The tiny house, which is travelling across America, runs on an eco-friendly biofuel that uses 65,000 pounds of used Dunkin’ coffee grounds and boasts a full-sized cedar porch, chef’s kitchen, living room and king-sized bed.
The experience is not only being promoted through Airbnb, but the brand is also offering a 360-degree tour of the tiny house that provides details on the home’s design and functionality.
3. Comfort’s “Swap Shop”
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Thank you to everyone who joined us at the @ComfortUK Swap Shop last week! It was so good to see how many of you really do love and take care of the clothes you have - and now, will be doing the same to some of the fab pre loved finds you picked up at the Swap Shop! 👗👖💗👏 #ComfortUK #LongLiveClothes
Sustainability is a big issue for brands that are involved directly or indirectly to clothing and fashion. Detergent brand Comfort hosted a swap shop in partnership with Elle, Cosmopolitan and Oxfam to raise awareness on the importance of buying second-hand and upcycling clothes.
Visitors to the pop up could take in and swap an item of their own clothing for one that was donated by one of the campaign’s partners before it was washed with Comfort’s intense range and taken home. Comfort was able to use a common goal and a physical experience to connect with consumers who cared about the issue.
In addition, Comfort also donated all of the proceeds from the ticketed event to the Prince’s Trust so that a range of causes would also benefit from the event. This shows how an experiential marketing campaign can have a wider purpose than solely increasing sales.
4. Patagonia & Google: “This Is Bears Ears” VR Film Series
Today #BearsEars and #GrandStaircase-Escalante National Monuments are open for business to the extraction industries.— Patagonia (@patagonia) February 2, 2018
Here's a 250-mile relay in support of the protection of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.https://t.co/FVwMZmb4x2 pic.twitter.com/tklWpvZ6hK
The protection of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments has been a hotly contested topic over the last few years and Patagonia and Google have teamed up to raise awareness on the issue and help to protect a threatened national monument.
The idea is that whilst the majority of the US population will never actually visit this area in person, they can still explore the beautiful monuments with a virtual reality film series called This Is Bears Ears. The film series makes use of 360-degree video and VR technology to bring the amazing landscape to life alongside the powerful stories on both the lands and the native people.
The website invites those viewing the film series to learn more about the history and culture of Bears Ears by viewing the cave drawings and natural ruins as well as experiencing what it is like to climb or backpack through the area.
5. O’Neill’s Real-time Plastic Recycling Campaign
Surfwear brand O’Neill took customer engagement in Amsterdam to the next level with their campaign that attempted to educate the city’s residence on the plastic emergency with a simple and effective real-time recycling exercise.
O’Neill brand ambassadors invited passersby to take selfies before telling them to throw their sunglasses into a recycling bin. The brand ambassadors then explained that plastic bottles and sunglasses are made of the same material, however, people will often use a plastic bottle just once before throwing them away, which they would never do with their sunglasses.
Ambassadors then guided participants to a nearby bus shelter to use an incorporated camera and screen to take selfies before using a 3-D printer to create a complimentary mini surfboard souvenir to showcase the possibilities for recycled plastics.
6. WWF’s Elephant Hologram
The WWF (The World Wide Fund for Nature) is famous for working towards a range of important environmentally friendly causes such as deforestation, plastic pollution and animal conservation. It should come as no surprise then that their experiential marketing campaigns often have a green message.
In late 2018, WWF launched an experiential campaign to bring the issue of animal trafficking to the forefront of the public’s mind by creating a hologram of a five-metre elephant roaming the streets of London. The idea was to confront passers-by with the sad reality that soon it might be as rare to see an elephant in its natural habitat as it is to see one in London.
The campaign also included holograms of other endangered species, such as turtles and snow leopards, and presented facts about conservation efforts. The campaign was successful and WWF surpassed their aim to gain 100,000 signatures on their petition to stop wildlife crime.
The campaign was highly impactful and not only created a visually arresting spectacle that was shared on social media, but it also educated the public on an important issue and gathered 124,664 signatures.
7. Chobani’s Digital ‘Giving Tree’
New Yorkers are renowned for their single-minded approach to commuting and it takes something truly remarkable to make them stop and engage with something. Chobani, the Greek yoghurt brand, was able to bring commuters to a halt with their digital fruit tree “planted” in the centre of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.
The digital tree was installed to promote the brand’s 10th anniversary and consumers were invited to interact with the tree by “planting” virtual seeds which corresponded with popular Chobani products. For each virtual seed that was planted, Chobani donated a case of yoghurt to No Kid Hungry, a campaign dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.
The activation was overseen by a crew of brand ambassadors and featured colourful orbs that represented the seeds with a LED trunk. Participants touched the orbs, causing it to pulsate with light and setting of a digital fireworks display in the tree’s canopy with images of bursting fruit and sound.
The campaign also included a product giveaway aimed at rewarding loyal fans and enticing the 50% of the country that have never tried Greek yoghurt to try a Chobani product. The whole message of the campaign was “one for all” and was focused on generosity and giving.
8. Urban Rivers: Trash Cleaning Robot
This project was created by environmental organisation Urban Rivers, with the aim of cleaning trash out of Chicago’s riverways. The team’s initial project was focused on creating and installing large floating gardens in the river, but they quickly discovered that the gardens would be overwhelmed with rubbish floating in the river.
Initial efforts to clean up the waterways by hand in a kayak were unsuccessful so the team developed a more innovative and fun solution. They successfully crowdfunded a Kickstarter project that turns cleaning up the trash into a game with a water-based robot that is remotely controlled by supporters from their computer.
Urban River gamified the solution to pollution in the river and managed to significantly expand the experience for others and have encouraged social media coverage, all the things that you want from an experiential marketing campaign.
9. A1 Telecom: Urban Bee Oasis
Pridne čebelice skrbijo za ravnovesje našega planeta, zato jih pomagajte zaščititi. Pridružite se pobudi in posejte semena medovite rastline na vrtu ali v lonček na balkonu in nahranite čebele: ➡️ https://t.co/eMBXqiLSvL 🐝🎗 #NahranimoČebele #PodpiramČebele pic.twitter.com/DRCsEhGkPi— A1 Slovenija (@A1Slovenija) 20 Mayıs 2019
During the build-up to World Bee Day 2018, A1 Telecom launched a campaign with the aim of drawing attention to an often overlooked effect of global warming in urban landscapes. Global warming is having an impact on flowering time, which has the knock-on effect of causing bees to go hungry as their food supplies are often depleted during the late summer. With a third of the world’s food supply dependent on bees, when they go hungry, we go hungry.
To both raise awareness and help support city-dwelling bees, A1 Telecom created an urban garden in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana with 3,500 honey bee plants over the course of a week. Visitors to the city centre were encouraged to take one of the 12 different types of plants home with them to create their own bee forage oasis on their balcony, helping bees to get through to autumn.
The campaign also had an impact on social media and reached over 350,000 users, creating 3,500 interactions and receiving 88,330 video views. The one-week campaign was a great success and highlights how brands can drive audience engagement with an eco-friendly message.