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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Kessler’

Op-Ed Rebuttal: Why Experience Marketing Will Never Die

jasonmask

Well, touché. In case you need a refresher, less than a month ago, we received our usual monthly op-ed from Huge, this time from Andrew Kessler, founder/CEO of Togather, a startup out of Huge Labs. Kessler, whose Togather operation serves as a platform that helps clients deploy event marketing programs with “the same control and measurability of a digital ad buy,” seemed to have sounded the death knell for experience marketing. Well, someone has taken issue, namely Eric Murphy, former VP of marketing/promotions at RCA Records who’s now head of his own experiential/music marketing agency, Pop2Life. Murphy has taken some issue with Kessler’s piece as you’ll see below. Carry on, sir.

“The ‘experience marketing’ trend is close to extinction.” -Andrew Kessler, founder/CEO of Togather

I’ll be honest. When I first caught wind of Kessler’s Op-Ed piece, I wanted to punch him in the face. After all, he was basically labeling the very thing that’s made my agency successful a joke … a waste of time and money. Or more specifically, nothing more
than a “dazzling physical installation,” heavy on pointless, big-budget items like “colored lights, a giant logo,” lots of “freebie swag,” and little more to measure success than a fuzzy count of gift bags and “total impressions.”

So I put on a Jason mask™, gathered a few key clients, and headed over to Kessler’s house with a truck full of colored lights and giant logos.

Just kidding.

Actually, I channeled that initial surge of outrage into some deeper thinking about how and why someone as intelligent and successful as Andrew Kessler would conclude that the best possible outcome of experience marketing was “a large crowd … lots of
product interest … [and] photo albums of smiling fans.” (Which frankly is what a lot of brands hope to accomplish with the majority of their marketing efforts, experiential or otherwise. More on that later.)

To be fair, Kessler posed some worthwhile questions regarding the value and impact of experience marketing campaigns:

-”Are we providing the right kind of value to give us a return on brand favorability?

-”What kind of action did this drive?

-”Can we deliver an experience that also lives beyond the actual event?”

All of these are excellent questions. Every marketer worth their weight in swag should apply them to every marketing investment they make. Still, proclaiming the pending extinction of a species [of marketing] that, when done right, checks off all four boxes of the ubiquitous “AIDA” acronym (Awareness | Interest | Desire | Action)  with a big fat marker seems … well … a bit un-evolved.

Here’s why.

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Op-Ed: It’s the End of ‘Experience Marketing’ As We Know It

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And so, the cast of contributors from the Huge family continues to rotate as we now welcome Andrew Kessler to the fold. Kessler is the founder/CEO of Togather, a startup out of Huge Labs that serves as a platform that helps clients like Barnes & Noble and Red Bull deploy event marketing programs with the same control and measurability of a digital ad buy. As the headline mentions, Kessler makes his AgencySpy debut by discussing whether it’s to sound the death knell for what’s known as experience marketing. Take it away, sir.

The “experience marketing” trend is close to extinction.

A sponsored pop-up/installation/lounge/whatever made sense as an “organic” brand experience — before the domination of digital. But today anything that would feel at home in Times Square doesn’t fulfill the new authentic standards for branded content.

Specifically, I’m talking about the big-budget consumer-facing events with colored lights, a giant logo, and, if you’re lucky, a fun stunt. In years of agency work, I’ve been a part of too many to count, and the result was always:

- A large crowd…but not the right audience
- Lots of product interest…but only about the freebie swag, and
- Photo albums of smiling fans…but no metrics or demographic data

Sure, our clients could claim a big success because a whole town could be counted as “impressions” and gift bags eventually ran out. But nobody was asking:

- Is this a useful exercise?
- Are we providing the right kind of value to give us a return on brand favorability?
- Are we just repeating a visibility stunt that has a negligible effect on ROI?

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Advertising’s All-Stars Try to Sell a Book

The plot of R/GA ACD Paul Malmont‘s new book is simple: Issac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard and other famous science fiction writers and editors go on fantastic fictional misadventures while fighting Nazis during WWII. Of course, as fun as the concept sounds in print, marketing the book on television is another thing altogether.

So, Malmont decided to round of some of his fellow ad peeps and used the Google TV Ads service to get his third novel The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown some views during DishTV broadcasts of Falling Skies, Attack of the Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Among those trying to pitch Malmont their awesome marketing ideas are R/GA ECD Carla Echevarria, HUGE CD and author of Martian Summer Andrew Kessler, and from BBDO ACD Todd Brown, CD Jeff Greenspan, copywriter Sarah Crawford and project managers Michael Gentile and Kelly McLaughlin. Put that cast together, and you have a book spot that (gasp) doesn’t suck. Learn more about Malmont’s new book here and see a review from those amazing folks at the A.V. Club here.

HUGE Creative Reflects on Life on Mars

Not to be outdone by new colleague Jon Jackson, who broke up with L.A. via billboard a few months back, HUGE creative director Andrew Kessler is pushing his own side project of sorts which is a book called Martian Summer, a personal account of his 90 days in mission control with the 130 NASA scientists and engineers of The Phoenix Mars expedition. Kessler was the first outsider granted access to Phoenix’s fortress of solitude for such an event and spent the summer of 2008 watching as robots were sent to the Red Planet to dig up soil, take 3-D pics and much more.

HUGE has gotten behind the project, natch, creating a site and a series of promos in recent weeks to promote Kessler’s chronicle, which contain exclusive footage from NASA (example above) and behind-the-scenes looks into mission control. Watch another clip after the jump. Martian Summer hits shelves on April 15.

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HUGE Makes Several Staffing Moves

Two months after restructuring its leadership, IPG-owned, Brooklyn-based HUGE has added a bevy of staff including CDs Clayton Crocker and Andrew Kessler. Kessler hails from Campfire while Crocker (pictured) may have a set a record by leaving Dentsu just four months after joining said agency as an ACD. Elsewhere on the creative front, HUGE added Razorfish alum Kari Niles as another ACD.

In terms of management, Wing Pepper, formerly EVP of global innovation at MRM, has signed on as HUGE’s global MD and is tasked with driving the shop’s international expansion. Meanwhile, another former Razorfish staffer, Ray Samuels, will serve as MD in HUGE’s London office while ex-Yahoo director of biz dev Eduardo Torres will assume the same title in Brazil. Phew.