Johnnie Moore writes about Evelyn Rodriguez writing about the impact of celebrity vs. the impact of personal. These two blog posts are a great example of why I think experiential marketing should be used by more companies. Evelyn references a passage from "Soul Prints" by Marc Gafni:
Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
Name the last five people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
I know I did horrendously. The point is this: We forget yesterday's headliners. These people are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Trophies tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and awards are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one.
List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
Obviously for most people it's much easier to quickly reference the people who populate the second list, rather than the first. Why? Because with these people we have had experiences that were personally relevant, emotional and memorable. Why then is it that companies and brands always use celebrities and sports to market to people, but rarely attempt to reach people in more personal and more intimate ways?
In one of the speeches I give about experiential marketing, I show a picture of my grandmother from when she was in the first Women's Army Corps in World War II. She's drinking a Coke. (She's the one on the far left.)
I talk about all of the authentic, relevant and personal experiences she had with Coca-Cola in her life that she has shared with me. Then I ask the audience what exactly my teenage sister might tell her grandchild one day if they happen to share a Coke together? That Adrien Brody appeared in a diet Coke ad? That she always lost in those damn under-the-cap games? That they once offered a really cool prize in a sweepstakes? That they sponsor this or that sports league?
Recently I bought a box of Rice Krispies. I don't eat Rice Krispies. Ever. But I bought a jumbo box for the express purpose of making Rice Krispy Treats for the first time with my son. (For the unitiated, this involves melting marshmallows and butter together, mixing in the rice cereal until it turns into a pile of sticky goodness, and eating until one becomes pleasantly ill.) I will never forget having that experience with my son. And he is now pointing out the Rice Krispies in the grocery aisle when it's time to buy cereal. To my knowledge I don't recall Rice Krispies ever putting a celebrity on the box (unless you consider Snap, Crackle and Pop celebrities) or sponsoring a baseball team. (If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone from Kellogg's will inform me.) What they've done is allow me to enjoy a simple shared experience with the single most important person in the world to me. This is why I believe in experiential marketing.