Campaigning for change with experiential marketing

By September 14, 2015General

Experiential marketing can be used for a lot of different campaigns. In September 2014, The Economist published an article that explored the idea of using insects to feed the ever growing global population, which is projected to reach 11 billion by the end of the century. The article argues that consuming less meat and eating more insects could boost food supply and feed the world sustainably.

The magazine revisited its campaign with an experiential marketing activation in July this year.

They branded an ice cream delivery tricycle and roamed the streets of London, serving a choice of four ice cream flavours (for free) to curious passersby. There was Scurry Berry (elderberry and raspberry) with mixed insect bits; Choc Hopper, with added chunks of grasshopper; strawberries and Swirls, which was accompanied by meal-worms; and Nutritious Neapolitan, which included “mixed critters.” And, yes, the insects were real.

After trying the ice cream, passersby were invited to sign up for free trials of the magazine’s digital products.

A tasty success

The experiential marketing campaign was a huge success. It netted the Economist 10,000 new subscriptions, and did so whilst illustrating that consuming less meat and eating more bugs could boost food supply and therefore feed the world sustainably.

Let’s look at why it worked in a little more detail.

Experiential marketing builds on traditional promotional campaigns in an age of immersive theatre and pop-up retail. It is a form of advertising that focuses primarily on helping consumers experience a brand; immersing consumers’ within the product by engaging as many human senses as possible.

The campaign, (which combined the power of experiential marketing and product sampling), worked on a sensory level, although it was primarily designed to attract new readers.

It proved to be a great way to identify the people who would be most likely to take up a subscription because, the people that were intrigued by the eating insect story and the wider issue of sustainability would be just the sort of person who would enjoy reading the magazine.

The experiential offering was a unique way of bringing The Economist to potential readers in the real world, real time – and creating a content-laced experience that has been a journey to an area outside of the usual comfort zone.

So there you have it – an intelligent and fun way to segregate an audience.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on