Foods, sweets in particular, are interlaced with our memories and carry a great deal of nostalgia. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that brands have capitalized on consumer’s love for childhood treats and achieved sweet success.

But, how exactly did they do it? Three steps: these companies know the value of brand strategy, they consistently seek out ways to stay relevant, and they fully understand the power of “aesthetic” in the digital age.

The drive west from LAX to the desert town of Indio, California is like going back in time. The initial bustle of LA traffic is overwhelming, but halfway through your journey the pressure of the city dissipates. The slow pace and rising temperatures of the desert take over. Surrounded by date farms, expansive golf courses, and the never-ending plains of Coachella Valley, it’s easy to see why the area is an oasis for city dwellers.

Here we hosted a group of health & fitness media for our first-ever CBC Fit House, a HOUSE program focused on clean eating, wellness and cultivating a “fit” lifestyle. We brought like-minded health and wellness brands together in a gorgeous Luxury Retreats home and we spent three days exploring and sweating (in a good way!)…

Day 1: Work Out Like Kanye

We kicked off the program in true “Fitspo” fashion, starting with a healthy “build your own poke bowl” lunch sponsored by GoPro. We were lucky enough to get a sneak-peak at its new HERO6 Black camera, now available to the public. With voice-command technology and easy editing via the QuikStories app, our group was excited to use the camera throughout the rest of the experience to document our adventures.

Next, the group got (harder, better, faster) stronger with BodyArmor and Donamatrix trainer to the stars (yes, Kanye West and the Kardashians included). The workout pushed us to our limits, but the weather was perfect and the BodyArmor drinks kept us going. With low calories, high electrolytes, and all-natural flavors like Blueberry Pomegranate and Peach Mango (a personal fave), we were happy to work up a sweat. Plus, we hear Mookie Betts, MLB American League MVP front-runner, is also big fan. That’s the only proof we need, people! #goredsox



Day 1 wrapped with a cocktail hour set against a beautiful desert sunset beyond the palm trees.  We rounded out the evening with a delicious dinner at Lulu California Bistro. Thanks to our amazing hosts at Greater Palm Springs for the evening downtown!


Day 2: Schwinn & Savasana

The group hit the ground running (or rolling, we should say) with an exhilarating bike ride, sponsored by Schwinn, down the Box Canyon Trail. While Schwinn is known for its cruisers, the media had the opportunity to test out its desert-ready road and performance bikes.


Following the bike ride, it was time for a healthy lunch with POM Wonderful, prepared by local chefs at New Leaf Catering. It was the perfect way to fuel up (but not feel too full) before heading to a relaxing yoga session on the house lawn. After some much-needed sun salutations, we relaxed by the pool and sampled some new ice cream flavors from Halo Top Creamery (many of its new flavors are dairy-free!).




We then got to partake in a special visit out to the Canndescent grow house, where we got an inside look at the “cannabis cultivation” process from start to finish (don’t worry – recreational use is legal in California!). Canndescent’s unique approach to branding and “the art of the flower” makes cannabis more accessible to the masses by categorizing different strands by “feeling” such as Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect and Charge.


Day 3: Got Milk?

To make the most of our last day in the desert, we headed out for a Jurassic Park meets Disney World off-roading Jeep excursion with the California Milk Advisory Board. The canvass-topped red jeeps and the bumpy ride had us feeling like we were headed into the Outback. After our adventure and hike through Joshua Tree, we went back to the house to enjoy a final milk-fueled breakfast as one big happy Fit-fam.


Our first ever Fit House was one we’ll be talking about for years, and we couldn’t have had such a successful trip without the wonderful brands and media who were a part of it. Maybe next year Kanye will stop by….




Want to see more? Check out #CBCFitHouse on Instagram for all the social media activity from Fit House.

Experiential Marketing. We hear the word tossed around at marketing conferences, in PR pitches, and in Adweek articles, but what is it exactly? Our VP of Experiential PR, Noelle Guerin, is here to explain the ins and outs of experiential marketing, a strategy that engages an audience with a real-life invitation to experience a brand and everything it represents. And not to mention, something CBC has been doing since before it became a buzzword.


Charleston Experience in Charleston, South Carolina

The Power of Experience

The travel industry was built on experience – just look at the print publications that are surviving and thriving (Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Coastal Living). Across their glossy pages, these publications offer a promise of experience, highlighting companies such Airbnb, a company that has made travel more accessible and affordable. The younger the generation, the more desire there is to be seamlessly integrated into the fabric of a destination and “travel like a local.”

Millennials are savvy consumers and have found out how to go where they want to go in an easy and affordable way. What does this have to do with experiential marketing? Everything. It’s the exact ideology we tapped into in the first place when designing our approach. How do we create events that bring a brand to life? How do we give press, and eventually consumers, an emotional connection to a brand that they can touch, feel, and interact with in an authentic way?


Fall House in Santa Barbara, California


That Electric Feeling

I have thrown the word “experiential” out there in more new business pitches than I can count. When I started my career over fifteen years ago, I would see brand heads go wide-eyed as soon as I mentioned it, because it was new and innovative. In a lot of ways, “experiential” became the philosophy of Cercone Brown Company.

Our HOUSE programs are often referred to as “experiential” – I mean it’s part of my job title for goodness sakes – but the truth is, it’s not JUST the HOUSE programs. Everything we do within the agency is seen through an experiential lens. It’s how we think and create.


FIT House in Palm Springs, California


Summer House in Nantucket, MA


I have often been accused of actively drinking the Kool-Aid (insert eye roll over industry cliché here) in client meetings. You’d think I’d be jaded at this point by people speaking with passion about their brand but it’s quite the opposite. I couldn’t continue to do this job if I didn’t have a burning desire to bring a brand’s story and vision to life. I firmly believe that the only way to do that – the ONLY way for media and consumers to understand your brand fully – is to give them an authentic experience with it. Believe it or not, this isn’t just limited to consumer brands.

I’ve worked on everything from broadcast technology platforms to healthcare companies (and everything in between) and the only way to create a loyal consumer is to give them a deeper understanding (i.e. experience) of the brand. It doesn’t have to be the physical (tasting, testing, feeling; though it helps), but it could just be the emotional expression of the brand. Every brand has a competitive space and the ones that are creating experiences for their audience stand out and thrive in this landscape.


Derby House in Louisville, Kentucky


Bringing Brands to Life: What’s Your Lightning in a Bottle?

As an agency, we always thought in an experiential way – we were doing in-market retailer summits for Timberland long before “experiential” was a thing. When we first started our HOUSE Programs with Summer House, we were working to fit outdoor lifestyle and fitness brands into the beautiful setting of Martha’s Vineyard. Now, we bring a variety of brands, from General Motors to New Balance, to the island of Nantucket as well as 30+ press and influencers to experience these brands in a real and authentic way. It works. They get it. They leave the island as brand believers, which is so much more than just one piece of coverage.

Over the past twelve years we have expanded our HOUSE programs and currently provide fourteen per year, each with their own “theme” and set against beautiful backdrops such as Palm Springs, Napa Valley, Aspen, Charleston and many more. This formula works and we have perfected it over the years to ensure that our brands are receiving maximum exposure and amazing content.


Aspen Experience in Aspen, Colorado


After fifteen years, I’m not sure I can be 100% objective but when I see what we bring to life for brands like Ocean Spray, Buick, Omaha Steaks (on the client side) or the incredible content that we create all over the United States, I feel fairly certain that not many do it better. The energy you feel between staff, crew, brands, media, and influencers is a clear indication that we’re doing something right. The on-site EXPERIENCE is electric and it makes all the hard work that goes into it worth it. To me, that is why experiential marketing is essential for all brands. When your brand can incite a feeling – an electricity in another person – that becomes your lightning in a bottle.


Culinary House in Sonoma, California


Interested in exploring one of our Experiential Marketing programs? Head on over to our website for a deeper dive into what we do.