Why experiences are the way forward for model advertising and marketing

Experiences offer a brand the opportunity to elevate themselves beyond two-dimensional entities, allowing them to articulate personality and emotion in different ways. Through experience design, brands can take their visitors on an immersive experience that reflects their values, mission, history and so on.

At the forefront of this movement is Mather & Co, an agency that helps commercial brands across the globe to hoist their offline presence and overtake their competitors by creating experiences that showcase a unique brand story. Established in 1995 by Chris Mather, Mather & Co’s work includes the Gretna Green Experience; Downton Abbey: The Exhibition; Silverstone Interactive Museum; the R&A World Golf Museum; and The Royal Mint Experience.

Many of the best brand activations sit at the cross-section between creativity and technology, using the latter as a tool to bring great ideas to life. So, what’s the secret of successful experience-based marketing?

MAKING A GRAND STATEMENT

Projection-mapping technology can transform any irregular surface, such as the face of a building, into a canvas for breath-taking audio-visual experiences that may extend a brand’s reach. Through next-level design and production any surface may be augmented and transformed into an exciting and immersive display to communicate a story or showcase a product.

Successful examples of immersive projection mapping technologies include Wear the Rose, a 360-degree sports experience that took over London’s O2 Arena, as well as a giant installation in Saudi Arabia using the Tuwaiq Mountains as its canvas.

A recent project for the R&A World Golf Museum saw Mather & Co produce the Celebration of Light projection-mapping show across the famous Royal & Ancient Clubhouse building. This extension of the experience allowed the iconic golfing brand to reach millions of people worldwide, narrating 150 years of golfing history to mark the occasion of the 150th Open.

Photo: James Bridle

CONNECTING WITH YOUR HERITAGE

Sometimes it is the history and heritage behind a brand that steers the type of experience you need to develop. The Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green is legendary for runaway marriages stretching back hundreds of years, but the legend is in danger of being forgotten altogether with the ageing demographic of visitors.

Here, the Mather & Co team recognised the need to reinvigorate the brand in new ways to connect with younger audiences – creating a new experience on site telling the story of romance, rebellion, and unstoppable love since 1754. The shop has been transformed into an immersive, storytelling experience at the heart of the iconic Gretna Green destination. The experience takes visitors on emotional love story and highlights the business as a whole – a family run business. It is a modern and contemporary take on a 200-year-old history.

“Before the redevelopment, Gretna Green was already a significant destination in British history – the new experience still holds the original magic and romance of the site,” says Sarah Clarke, managing director at Mather & Co. “The experience now allows visitors to delve into the heart-felt love stories and also explores Gretna Green as a brand itself.”

Gretna Green Experience; Photo: Chris Humphreys
Gretna Green Experience; Photo: Chris Humphreys

CREATING INTERACTIVE MOMENTS

The way people interact in experiences, and what they want from them, has changed dramatically over the past decade. With technology at everyone’s fingertips, people are now looking for more participatory and physical interactivity that they cannot do at home. Creating immersive and interactive experiences allows brands to connect with their audiences in different and more memorable ways.

At the home of British motor racing, the new Silverstone Interactive Museum tells the brand story of the circuit and its place in British motorsport in a fully interactive way. From taking part in tyre changes and sitting in an iconic historic F1 car, to getting involved in the tech lab and designing your own vehicle, this Mather & Co project immerses visitors in the experience – not only enhancing their understanding of the brand, but making them a vital part of it.

Photo: Peter Corcoran
Photo: Peter Corcoran

RELIVING MEMORIES

For TV programmes and films, iconic moments are there to draw on in extension experiences. No-one can deny the success of offers such as the Harry Potter Studio Tour, Game of Thrones Studio Tour and the Doctor Who Experience which are sweeping the nation and extending connections with fans of the shows.

“When it comes to designing a visitor attraction, we must understand what makes the visitors want to keep coming back for more,” continues Clarke. “It should be an extension of the brand, so the values must be translated in the experience.”

Mather & Co worked with NBCUniversal and Emmy-winning writer Julian Fellowes to create an immersive experience for the internationally acclaimed TV programme Downton Abbey and created one of the most successful studio tours in the UK around the original Coronation Street set.

For both, the key was to authentically recreate the sets, immerse ourselves fully in the brand and select the memories that resonated the most with fans. It was about taking visitors on an emotional journey beyond the fourth wall right into the beating heart of their favourite shows.

Photo: Bespoke Foundry
Photo: Bespoke Foundry

To discuss how your brand could unlock the full potential of experience design, contact Mather & Co; matherandco.com


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