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Marketing morph: Brand aren’t just sponsoring events, they’re becoming events

Movie theater audience

It sounds like the next stop on the trajectory of the modern movie theater: A setup of cozy mattresses turned down for a screening of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, preceded by a DJ-ed, open-bar cocktail hour. Attendees can get in for free or they can lay claim to a bed with a $35 ticket. The event is taking place mid-July at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Oh, and it’s hosted by Casper, the online mattress brand that’s been generating buzz – especially with Millennials.

We think that quite a connection can be fostered over an evening, which is what makes this stealthy marketing move so smart. Casper is giving its consumers something that they actually want. For this young, social, experience-loving set, it’s an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary – and on the cheap. Their reason to go is to have an evening out with friends, taking a “sleepwalk” gallery tour and catch up over live beats. And while they’re knocking back a couple free drinks and seeing one of Anderson’s best flicks (…in our humble opinion), they’re also testing out Casper’s mattresses and ‘living the brand.’

UK mobile brand, Three, and Samsung partnered on a similar summertime effort: a pop-up Netflix Bed ‘n’ Binge Retreat in a London park. The 15 temporary rooms were outfitted with the tech brand’s devices and boasted design themes based on popular series (count us out for a stay in the Stranger Things pad). The overnight lodging and on-site food was free with a reserved ticket – which did sell out.

For Conscious Consumers, a brand-backed experience is especially symbiotic. When centered around one of their health, wellness, sustainability and self-actualization passion points, an event can be a unique and meaningful opportunity to grow and interact with their interests. And that translates into a deeper connection with the facilitating brand. As we know, the Conscious Consumer places a premium on brands that reflect their personal values.

Consumers are hungry for experiences that set them up to learn, have fun and improve themselves. So start exploring opportunities to not just sponsor the event, but actually be the experience.


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