Thinking Outside the Box in Times Square

Posted by Steve Kleber on May 23, 2011

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Why look at an advertisement when you can smell, feel or taste the product? Feeling the need to work out of the box, advertisers now consider experiential advertising more effective and eye (or nose or mouth)- catching than a simple print ad. A few months ago, I wrote about Absolut vodka advertising in bus shelters, posing as faux-bars and providing a colorful and mouth-watering wait for riders. And there’s a billboard in North Carolina that actually smells like steak, triggering the senses of those riding by to crave some serious meat for dinner.

The latest company to embrace these off-the-page advertising ideas is Frito-Lay. In a time where consumers are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from and how it is prepared, Frito-Lay demonstrated the wholesomeness of its all natural products in the middle of Times Square last month. Set up with a fully functional Flavor Kitchen above the Hard Rock marquee, Frito-Lay Executive Chef Stephen Kalil, along with numerous guest and celebrity chefs, spent a week showcasing the natural ingredients that inspire and compliment Frito-Lay products. The event was broadcast on video boards in Times Square and on the Frito-Lay Facebook page.

In addition to the Flavor Kitchen, Frito-Lay is embracing several other non-traditional advertising outlets to engage their customers in conversations about all natural snack foods including a culinary web series, integration with the popular Zynga game Farmville, QR codes, and on-package bar codes. Frito-Lay saw customers respond positively to its Times Square event – in just 24 hours, the company’s Facebook page had 1.5 million new fans.

Also using Times Square as its promotional platform is Milk-Bone, when last year, to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the company built a giant dog house in the middle of Times Square. The 480 square foot building was covered in 100,000 dog treats and housed a variety of activities for dog lovers including a pet psychic, pet palm readings, dancing dog demonstrations, and celebrity appearances. The event kicked off Milk-Bone’s 14 city tour and nationwide Milk-Bone Moments contest encouraging people to submit pictures and video of their favorite pet.

With events like these becoming more popular, companies are challenged to create campaigns that are increasingly attention worthy. Consumers want to be engaged by the advertisement, and they respond to campaigns that stand out from the norm.

What do you think of promotional events like the Frito-Lay and Milk-Bone events in Times Square? Have you ever responded to a similar campaign by watching a company’s videos, liking their Facebook page, or attending the event?

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 2:25 pm and is filed under Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.