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Is there a connection between modern art and experiential marketing?

An unusual and eccentric art exhibition arrived in London earlier this summer and its use of interactive experiences to send visitors into sensory-overload really grabbed my attention.

From flying machines to robotic beds, ‘Decision’ includes a number of unconventional installations that require people to see, hear and touch everything around them.

Carston ExhibitionIt’s the latest work of Carsten Höller – an artist renowned for using experiential ideas to captivate his audiences. What I find most fascinating is how the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre has been completely transformed from a space conventionally used for static, wall-fixed paintings, into something designed to take viewers on a sensational journey and leave lasting impressions.

So, how do EMS and modern art connect? Well, although it could be argued that our trucks are, at times, masterpieces of modern engineering, it’s the creative use of space that binds us! Hölller’s work at the Southbank reinforces a long-held belief of ours that every inch of an exhibition space should be used creatively to maximum effective, and to provoke a purposeful reaction from an audience.

In the case of Hölller’s exhibition, the desired effect may have been to disorientate and challenge, but with something like a mobile exhibition vehicle, it’s possible to use the space to support any brand or business objective. What we know is that using a 360-degree environment creatively can build advocacy, loyalty and leave a meaningful, long-lasting impression. Just like Hölller.

Interactive fun in the snow

A project I’m particularly proud of to look back on was with Samsung and its sponsorship of the Youth Winter Olympic Games. In order to meet their objectives, we worked hand-in-hand with the company to transform a 55m2 roadshow truck from our fleet into a fun and entertaining space that really captured the imagination of the tournament.

On the inside, we produced a snowball throwing game linked to interactive trials of the brand’s products, whilst on the outside of the vehicle we installed a thermal imaging projection screen that allowed bystanders to digitally wipe away snow and see inside the exhibition for themselves.

Just like Carsten Höller’s exhibition, the concept created intrigue. That sense of unknowing – requiring consumers to investigate the unusual – can be a really powerful thing. We had people lined up wanting to find out what it was all about and the engagement level from all ages was fantastic. It associated the brand with the Games in an incredibly positive and dynamic way.

Samsung's YWOG experience

Steering away from the predictable

We also work alongside some of the biggest motoring brands in the world and recently worked with one carmaker to promote its latest innovation around car safety. Rather than relying on simple, two-dimensional explanations, we were given creative license to convert two of our roadshow trucks into a realistic car test centre and bring this story to life through our interactive installations.

The interior space contained kiosks with virtual screens and iPads to demonstrate the brand’s ideas around accident prevention and driver and passenger protection, but we’d also installed steering wheels, driver seats and a car simulator to give visitors a more immersive experience. Outside, we used simple equipment to create a small test track that encouraged people to get behind the wheel of a car and experience the safety measures for themselves.

This particular campaign was designed with journalists and influencers in mind and the mobile nature of the exhibition drove stunning results, allowing the tour to go pan-European and engage with over 1,500 journalists in just 12 weeks.

Creating a fully immersive space

I’m a firm believer in the power of a multi-sensory approach to exhibition space and support the theory that the long-term results from experiential marketing campaigns far outweigh those of more traditional methods. You may expect me to say that, but our experience proves it.

The reviews of Carsten Höller’s latest work have been mixed to say the least and some art critics have gone as far as suggesting that his work is more science than art. But if there are two things we can be sure of, it’s that his exhibition intrigued people enough to make that judgment for themselves, and that the public and the media have been compelled to talk about it since.

Whether it’s art, science, or a combination of both, the concept of innovating a space to provide an audience with a multi-sensory experience has powerful results, and it’s the creators who influence what they want the desired reaction to be.

If you’ve got a marketing campaign that you think could benefit from our expertise, contact us and let us come up with solution that will leave a lasting and positive impression on your target market, whoever and wherever they may be.

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