London Waterloo station’s giant installation of the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man ends this week.
The PR stunt has been used to promote the (somewhat divisive) all-female remake of Ghostbusters. With a flurry of excitement on social media, it’s proved to be a great example of out-of-home advertising.
Here are four reasons why it worked.
Element of surprise
Commuting in London can be a dramatic experience, and yet funnily enough, you don’t often expect to see a giant marshmallow casually breaking through the ground.
With research finding that unexpected events can result in more pleasure responses in the brain, brands are increasingly searching for ways to ‘surprise’ and ‘delight’ consumers.
By catching travellers off guard, the Ghostbusters campaign had great impact. With no prior knowledge of the installation or how long it would be there for, people couldn’t help but be drawn into the excitement.
— Wild Creations (@wild_creations) July 11, 2016
Before its release on July 11th, social media was awash with people criticising the film, eventually leading the YouTube trailer to become the most disliked of all time.
The response to the actual movie has been a lot more favourable, yet Sony naturally wanted to do something to counteract the condemnation.
By creating something inherently shareable, the Ghostbusters installation succeeded in creating a positive buzz online.
Using the hashtag #ghostbusterswaterloo, passers-by documented it on a variety of social media platforms, sharing their aforementioned surprise and delight with friends and followers alike.
By giving fans an immersive or interactive experience, experiential marketing has the power to stir up positive emotions, in turn making the consumer feel closer to the brand.
One emotion that the Ghostbusters campaign evoked was nostalgia.
Instead of promoting new or unfamiliar aspects of the movie, it used the iconic and beloved image of the Marshmallow Man.
This meant that despite any assumptions or ill-feelings towards the new movie, even cynical passers-by would be likely to engage.
— Reda Maher (@Reda_Maher_LDN) July 15, 2016
As well as being a great spectacle, the Ghostbusters installation at Waterloo also included a clever consumer tie-in, with Forbidden Planet running a retail unit nearby.
Built to look like a New York subway station, the pop-up shop allowed consumers to buy limited edition Odeon tickets and a whole host of souvenirs.
Aiming to capitalise on real-time excitement, it allowed Sony to help drive sales as well as just build excitement.
— Forbidden Planet (@ForbiddenPlanet) July 15, 2016
With this disruptive campaign, Sony shows that there’s no need to be afraid of female leads or experiential marketing.
(Oh and ghosts, let’s not forget them.)