For the entirety of 2018 I have worked as a digital activations manager for Shiseido’s designer fragrance brands in Paris. I explained exactly what that means in a blog post earlier this year but one of the parts of the job is keeping an eye on the landscape of digital experiences to keep up with what other brands are doing.

There are a couple of major trends that I’ve noticed over the course of the year. Data collection – as in getting people into a brand’s owned ecosystem – is becoming increasingly common. Many experiences require you to fill out a form before you even start, which is a new best practice in terms of getting people’s information. Sure, fewer people participate, but the qualification step weeds out the people who are only interested in winning something (if it’s a contest) and let’s you emerge at the end with a more valuable audience.

Another trend is the focus on using content as a lever to attract new fans. Dangling the chance of winning a trip to NYC or an iPad is being replaced by disruptive experiences that offer unique bits of content to reward people for taking an immersion into the brand. Not only does this ensure a deeper brand connection, it also weeds out all of the people who are just trying to get free stuff.

So if there is one word from digital activations in 2018, it’s qualifications. Brands are increasingly willing to pay more for a better audience than blasting out to the masses with the hopes of breaking the records for the best KPIs. After a decade of quantity over quality, that has finally shifted.

Let’s take a look at the best digital activations from 2018:

Haribo’s Augmented Reality Candy Bucket

haribo halloween

Europe’s favorite gummy maker has started capitalizing on America’s sweetest holiday: Halloween. While it’s relatively easy to attract kids to sugar, getting them to your sugar is a rather competitive challenge. Time then to combine another thing that kids love: video games.

Haribo launched an augmented reality game that comes alive when people point their phone at the lid of their big format bucket of gummies. The different types of candies come alive as you pilot a little guy to snap them up.

Turning your packaging into interactive spaces is going to be a major trend in the future.

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Tommy Hilfiger les you unlock content with your friends via SideFlix

facebook messenger sideflix

The innovative fashion brand has been gaining international recognition for the different ways that it has rethought the retail experience with technology, but they are also disrupting the digital space too with SideFlix.

The idea is rather simple, using Facebook Messenger, people put phones together with their friends to gain a wider view of content – unlocking deeper experiences as well as e-commerce capabilities with the more people you get to join you. This sort of multi-person experience is the future of virality in my opinion since the days of viral videos are more in the rearview mirror than ahead in the future. Requiring people to be together to try something will highly magnify its effect, even if you can’t try it by yourself.

Givenchy’s Logo Hunt in Paris and London

givenchy fashion week paris

How do you hack fashion week with events so saturated and space so limited where people are all jockeying for position right alongside the fashion houses that live and die by fleeting opinion? Go to the streets!

Givenchy wanted to keep the attention on their house, so they blanketed Paris and London with big stickers of their iconic logo. Normally a luxury brand would refrain from plastering their logo on not very glamorous things like drainage pipes and street lights, but as the codes of luxury are being rewritten, the only thing that is sacred is attention.

To build on that attention, Givenchy told its fans to find their logos, post them to Instagram with the hashtag #GivenchyFamily and three people would be invited to the Givenchy fashion show.

Evian helps you live young in Paris with a chatbot

evian chatbot paris experience

Evian added another dimension to their iconic Live Young campaign by proposing a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Fans looking for refreshing experiences can share their location with Evian be guided to different places in Paris that are revitalizing. Using interative experiences to reinforce existing brand campaigns can be a cost-effective way to keep a successful campaign going without encouraging advertising fatigue.

The added functionality of advertising posts on Instagram lets you create customized call to action buttons that let people open up experiences directly in other apps or in dedicated sites that can load directly in Instagram. It’s worth talking directly to Instagram to see what’s available in terms of creating unique experiences and new customer journeys.

Zadig&Voltaire Parfums Spin the Bottle

andy rowski skydiving

I don’t often toot my own horn but I do want to tell you about an activation that I ran this summer that was a big success.

For the launch of the new fragrance Girls Can Do Anything, we had the challenge of driving awareness of the new product while getting people to come to the store to be able to try it. Since Zadig&Voltaire fragrances has very low brand awareness, we needed someone that the target (girls 15 to 30 years old) would know. Then we needed to find a way to engage them that helped to establish brand codes. Finally we needed a hook to come to the store to push sales during the exclusive period at Nocibé.

We brought in the famous French YouTube star and Instagram influencer Andy Rowski to drive the activation. We asked her what was the most daring thing she would be willing to do, and settled on skydiving. Then we need a mechanic to engage people that upheld the brand codes. In each of the digital films for the launch we see the bottle spinning, so we decided to do a Spin the Bottle experience designed for mobile devices. Participants would come to the platform and spin to the bottle to see what they won in addition to entering their information for a chance to win a skydiving experience with Andy.

We enriched the platform with brand content and created dedicated social assets to drive people to the platform. Andy posted stories and reminded her fans to participate. We used a Zadig&Voltaire Girls Can Do Anything tote bag as a drive-to-store incentive. When participants spun the bottle, they either won a sample or a tote bag to pick up in store. It proved to be very effective.

All told, over 45,000 people visited the platform over two weeks, 28,000 of them entered the contest with Andy, and the tote bags were almost immediately out of stock. The effect on sales was impressive too: Girls Can Do Anything was the #1 selling feminine fragrance for the month of August at Nocibé in France.

Looking forward to 2019

The lines between online experiences, advertising, and content are increasingly blurring. The once separate functions can no longer ignore each other as they become centralized around making the customer experience as coherent as possible. I think that 2019 will bring more immersive activations that continue to blend offline and online via our mobile devices. No matter what happens, it will continue to be one of the most exciting spaces to work in digital.


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