The Hidden Smiles of Ambient Marketing
Chances are that you have seen an ambient marketing campaign without even realizing that it was exactly that: a marketing campaign. The biggest benefit of ambient marketing is that it allows for the company or business to create brand recognition (which is marketing brownie points) without necessarily pushing their product or service. It shows the more benevolent side to the company, allowing for consumers to feel empathy for the product, and thus giving it that extra edge against the competition.
The Genius being Ambiance
There are many examples of strong ambient marketing campaigns within Canada that have been successful in creating brand recognition and making an imprint on the public. The most notable, likely because it is the most travelled, is the Molson Canadian Fridge. A marketing genius for Molson Canadian, who deserves a raise so they can buy slightly better beer than Molson Canadian, conjured up the idea of a setting up fridges full of Molson Canadian in foreign places that could only be opened by a Canadian passport. This was wonderful, as it brought attention to the product in a foreign market – locals in Europe were just as interested in the fridge as the Canadian tourists were. When and if those Europeans get to Canada, it’s safe to bet that they will order a Molson Canadian right off of the plane because they saw these fridges in their neighbourhoods.
The ambient campaign didn’t end there. In the summer of 2014, the fridges were brought back to their home and native land, and were slightly altered. This time around, they only opened if the eager participant sang the entire Canadian national anthem. This ad smartly coincided with Canada Day, the most patriotic of holidays, celebrating beer, flannel and being polite.
Source: Youtube – Molson Canadian
What made this campaign so successful is that it struck right to the heart of their main marketing message – the Canadian spirit. This entire campaign stayed true to their brand of Molson Canadian beer, and having to unlock the fridge with either a Canadian passport or the national anthem was the pinnacle of that message. Patriotism is a strong emotion and impassions people – they want to celebrate where they are from and the products that make it unique. That was the genius of this specific ambient marketing effort.
Execution is Everything
The most difficult factor to a successful ambient marketing campaign is the execution. You can have the most genius idea that has the potential to attract millions of participants and viewers, but if it’s not executed properly, it will be as valuable as a copy of Selfish, the Kim Kardashian book of selfies – you may think it’s beautiful, but everyone else might think it’s better as a doorstop.
For solid execution, research is required to make sure that the target market is the one that gets to participate. And ensure that the brand’s message is clearly visible and communicated throughout the campaign. If the ad gains traction and popularity but fails to have the brand’s message on it, people will soon forget that the brand had anything to do with the campaign, negating all of the efforts and losing all of the potential. Think: unique, innovative and creative with a strong and meaningful message throughout, because that’s easy to do.
There are some online fountains of marketing knowledge to help get the creative juices flowing. Guerrilla Cheese Marketing is a blog dedicated to innovative marketing campaigns and what makes them unique. It also features categories, including an entire section devoted solely to interesting ambient marketing campaigns worldwide. Creative Guerrilla Marketing has daily articles and blog featuring a variety of marketing topics, including innovative ambient marketing efforts, while Ads of the World features successful advertising campaigns from across the globe, providing a strong base for inspirational ideas.
Bonding the Message
Ambient marketing campaigns don’t have to cost a lot of money, but do require a lot of creative force and dedicated people. Whoever thought of building heated bus stations during the Polar Vortex winter of 2014 was smart. What was even smarter was the key to starting the heater was human touch, meaning that freezing Canadians had to bond to warm up. That message made a good motto and a great campaign. Stay true to the brand, don’t push the product, but show the inherent value of it at its core, and get creative. Have fun with ambient marketing, because at the end of the day, the biggest value of it is that it will likely make customers smile and remember that brand over any others.
Header Photo: lifeofpix • free-stock.photo
If you want to learn more about specific key elements of an effective marketing plan, read our 50+ page booklet on How to Write A Strategic Marketing Plan That Yields ROI – complete with explanations