Experiential marketing: Putting people first

With 62% of Americans aged between 25-34 owning a smartphone, encouraging owners to change brand can be an uphill struggle, especially if your product is perpetually in the Apple shaped shadow of your biggest rival.

Windows Phones, although winning over plenty of praise with developers, are still some way behind their mobile competitors when it comes to winning over consumers. Sales in fact are somewhat flat for the third quarter of 2011.

So, with this in mind, the brand set about elevating awareness around its Live Tiles concept – and the release of new HTC Radar 4G, Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash handsets - by converting it from a purely technological experience into a human experience, with a clever bit of experiential launch work in the US.

A giant six-story Windows Phone was constructed in Herald Square in New York City, turning the Live tiles into real ‘live’ tiles, with each screen being fed live digital data, while some rotated to showcase participatory live experiences. These included a live music performance from The Far East Movement, live versions of App games such as Plants Vs Zombies, live beauty treatments, a live set from DJ Virman and numerous other interactive activities. A man even proposed to his girlfriend live with his status updated digitally on the accompanying screens at the same time.

The street activity was then followed up with a nightlife event at the Atman building down the road, specifically for guests that had registered via Facebook. Participants at the live event were treated to an exclusive live gig with Matt & Kim at the after party wrap up and encouraged to post Twitter updates to #WPNYC in order to win Windows Phones. Attendees were also given NFC wristbands to enable them to enter competitions at the event and update their Facebook status.

Windows as a challenger brand needs to make social waves about its technology, but also create social value around its products – something that well planned experiential activity (twinned with hands on digital enhancements) offers in abundance.

Aligning with core passion points such as music (free gigs with Best Coast and Young The Giant are pending) and enabling people to sample not just the product, but also a sample of the lifestyle it could provide, sees the brand living up to its tag line ‘Putting People First’, as it positions the product as the connection point between people and the things they love.

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