Tag Archive for: CBCPOV

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.

For years, the focus has been on Millennials: how do we figure them out and predict their behavior? Millennials have been seen as early adopters of innovation and new technology, thus driving powerful shifts in consumer behavior and the economy. Now that the youngest Millennials are nearing their mid- twenties (where did the time go?!), we need to look at what’s next: Gen Z.


Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z is defined by those born between 1995 and 2011 and is slated to be the largest group of consumers worldwide in the next 5-7 years. This generation came of age during the recession and the tech-fueled society created by Millennials. iPhones, tablets, and home pods have become second nature and Netflix, online shopping, and social media are the standard.

Gen Z is the ultimate consumer of quick content (think Snapchat and emojis) and can be seen multitasking across 5 screens on a daily basis, making it clear that brands need to adjust their marketing tactics in order to reach this new generation. But where to start?


Be Authentic

Gen Z is savvy. They know precisely when they are being marketed to and place a high value on sincerity. They want to experience brands on a deeper level, with influencers that are relatable yet accessible and content that is engaging and genuine. This is where influencer marketing comes in:

“Gen Zers are acutely aware of native content and in-app marketing, and they don’t mind, as long as the brand is speaking their language and is genuine and unfiltered,” Katherine Power, Clique Media Group CEO, told Adweek. “Specifically, these young minds want a one-to-one connection to an individual instead of hearing from a brand.” (WGSN)

While many brands have already tapped into influencer marketing & branded content to reach Millennials, they are going to have to find the right influencers to reach Gen Z. Influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution and campaigns will only be successful if brands are able to align with influencers that produce original content.


Money Matters

Growing up in a post-recession era, Gen Z is aware of finances in a different way than the generations before them. This tech savvy generation rarely uses cash and relies heavily on technology (i.e. Apple Pay). Gen Zers will spend more time researching and comparing prices before purchasing, and they expect this process to be seamless and efficient.  Sephora, known for its user- reviews, now bridges the gap between mobile and instore purchases, allowing shoppers to check inventory, create a wish list and use Apple Pay. In order for brands to succeed with this new-age experience, the shop-to-buy procedure must be user-friendly, timesaving, and effortless.


Leverage the “Learning Moment”

Gen Z has grown up with access to information at their fingertips via smartphones and tablets. Researchers are finding that Gen Z is exiting modern childhood closer to age 9 rather than the previous generations’ age 12. This group is evolving to be, “smarter than ever before, with high IQs and a strong business sense.“ A recent study found that 63% of Gen Zers are interested in learning about entre­pre­neur­ship upon entering college. Gen Z grew up watching DIY and video tutorials on the Internet, accessing branding tools such as website templates, and using­­­ entrepreneurial applications such as Poshmark and Ebay. So, what does this mean for brands? Gen Z craves education. Brands need to leverage this by giving users an experience that teaches and advises how to better one’s self.



With the oldest part of Gen Z in college and the youngest in elementary school, we all still have a lot to learn about this generation and the impact they will have. The reality is, Gen Z is enormous ­and intelligent and in order for brands to stay relevant, they must start paying attention to them now.



Whitney Ocko
Sr. Brand Specialist, Brand Integration



Need help with branding or your content approach? We use consumer insights to inform campaigns and content strategy. Shoot us a note here to start the conversation.

Super Bowl ads are a national phenomenon. As an advertising agency, we had to make sure we gave our POV on this year’s lineup.

Get this: throughout the year, people actively avoid watching ads on T.V. and online, and now with On Demand, Netflix, and Hulu, most people are less likely to watch broadcast television at all. But on Super Bowl Sunday, that norm is flipped. Even people who aren’t interested in the football game gather round their T.V.’s, if nothing else to just watch the ads. With over a million-dollar price tag on these commercials, brands tend to take risks to make sure they stand out. Below are our three stand-out picks:


1. This UGC ad was krafty, to say the least.

Kraft started its campaign by airing a preliminary ad asking people to send in pictures and videos of their families and how they “family on game day.” We saw ads popping up on Twitter and Instagram asking for submissions with the hashtag #FamilyGreatly and #KraftEntry.

In the third quarter, the 30-sec spot was aired, displaying those real-time pictures and video submissions with the message “there is no right way to family” and all families are special. There were no celebrities; no stunts; just real people. And for us, it was pretty cool to see that Kraft was able to drop its ego and shine the light on the consumers in this one-of-a-kind branding opportunity.

The general sentiment was that the ad was well-intentioned, but some didn’t feel it was as heartwarming as expected. For us, we championed the real-time marketing attempt knowing all too well it’s 1) risky not knowing what kind of pictures you’ll receive, and 2) a lot of pressure on the brand to curate the posts, select the ones it wants to air, and piece together a Super Bowl commercial by the 3rd quarter. And with the rise of “real” content, we think it was OK that it didn’t look as polished as the other commercials. Bravo Kraft.



2. The tides have turned on funniest brands at the Super Bowl.

Just when you thought you recognized the ad you were watching, Tide swept in with a plot twist using Stranger Things star David Harbour to poke fun at the most stereotypical Super Bowl ads over the years.

From Old Spice to Mr. Clean to Budweiser and more, Tide mimicked these famous Super Bowl ads and got a laugh when it consistently reminded the viewers they were watching a “Tide ad”.

Perhaps the most important takeaway here was that Tide successfully managed to take attention away from the PR nightmare that came out of the “Tide-Pod Challenge”, a new social media experiment in which people are consuming poisonous detergent pods. But leading with humor seemed to work, as everyone came out of Super Bowl Sunday saying, “Did you see those hilarious Tide ads?”. Watch all of them here on the Tide YouTube channel.


3. Tricked ya, mate!

Did anyone else fall for the Australia Tourism movie trailer trick? In a genius approach to hook the viewer, Austraila Tourism set up its ad like a movie trailer for a new Crocodile Dundee film starring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth. The trailer displays funny clips of the actors, all while simultaneously showcasing some of the best things Australia has to offer such as wineries and beaches. The ruse is revealed when Danny McBride says, “Hold up, this isn’t a movie. It’s a tourism ad for Austraila”. The mix of humor and imagery was well-executed and resulted in a memorable ad for Australia Tourism.

But seriously, let us know if this does become a movie, we would definitely go see it.

What are your thoughts on this year’s Super Bowl ads? Tweet us with your top 3 picks!