As awards shows and festivals return to be in-person, brands are showing up and increasing their experiential marketing efforts and Grey Goose is among the myriad brands in the mix.
The high-end vodka mainstay has recently rolled out experiential marketing efforts at the Grammys, the Charleston Wine and Food Festival and has plans for the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen this June.
“This year, we’ve shifted a lot of our activity to experiential,” said Aleco Azqueta, vp of Grey Goose for North America. “What we really wanted to do is get people to try and experience the brand firsthand.”
It’s unclear how much the brand will spend on its increased experiential effort for 2022 as Azqueta declined to share specifics or percentages of the media budget. That being said, Azqueta did share that the brand is beefing up its efforts when it comes to experiential marketing, working with performers like Tinashe and designers like Peter Dundas for the Grammys, for example, to make the spirit more memorable as consumer expectations for brand experiences and activations are on the upswing as the coronavirus seemingly recedes.
“With people having been at home for so long, now that they’re going out and experiencing things they really want an experience that is something that they can’t replicate at their home,” said Azqueta. “People have upskilled their own mixology and bartending skills while they’ve been at home and [our] cocktail kits allow them to do that. When they come to a Grey Goose event or Grey Goose experience it has to be a next level kind of experience.”
Grey Goose isn’t alone in increasing its investment in experiential marketing now. Brands like Absolut and Call of Duty, among others, are increasing their investments in in-person activations and experiential marketing.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, marketers have tried to navigate the starts and stops, the ebbs and flows of the return of in-person experiences as some experiential marketing was activated when numbers were low in the summer of 2020 and post-vaccine. Now it seems that in-person experiences are continuing despite rising case numbers in some parts of the country.
“People are learning how to live with Covid, so it’s no surprise experiential experiences are making a comeback,” said Rob Schwartz, chairman at TBWA/Chait/Day in New York. “One of the things brands need to understand is that an activation is not a panacea. It’s not an event and that’s it. For an activation to get true ROI it needs to be part of a marketing mix.”
While Grey Goose is aiming to beef up its in-person experiences by working with performers and designers, the company is also using those partnerships to create content for its digital and social channels.
At the same time it is also using those partnerships for new marketing efforts like the brand’s first NFT. As part of the brand’s partnership with Peter Dundas, an NFT of Paris Hilton walking the Grammys red carpet with Dundas’ creation for the brand — a bespoke martini bag — as well as original sketches of the bag were sold and will give access to Dundas’ New York Fashion Week show later this year.
Finding a way to elevate experiential efforts now makes sense to Allen Adamson, brand consultant and co-founder of Metaforce. “Just drinking a Grey Goose mixed drink isn’t enough [to get people excited about an experience],” said Adamson. “Marketers need to add some drama, theater to get people to share their experiences on social media.”
That being said as marketers look to make their experiences more memorable they need to keep their brand identity in mind. “In terms of ‘elevating’ the experience, it’s critical that no matter what the activation is, it must be authentic to the brand,” said Schwartz.