Author: Mark Monaco, Digital Marketing Content Manager
VidCon is the newest bastion of the elusive consumer group we’re all starting to focus on: Gen Z. Last month, one of the best experiential companies in Los Angeles (OBE, obviously) hit VidCon to help Nike with their activation and to also see who was there, what they were doing and if brands were effectively engaging the audience. We read that 91% of consumers have more positive feelings about brands after attending events and experiences so we decided to put that to the test! We sent a producer, account person, technology manager and a creative all there to get their perspective and see what the impact was for them. Check out our quick recap video and then read about what OBE thought about VidCon 2019.
Jordan Harvey - Account Manager
Big hit: People loved 2 things 1.) Photo ops like the Facebook booth, Barbie Dream House, Nickelodeon zone 2.) Interactive zones like Nerf, IG (airbrush tattoos), whoever was doing the hair glitter, Nike’s pop-a-shot games, that weird pre-teen party with a DJ to the side of the Nike activation, as well as that crazy gum obstacle course.
Big miss: Swag. People didn’t really walk away with anything. Unless Gen Zer’s just want photo/video content versus physical items and we’re just missing that intel?
Overall rating of what you saw out of 10? I feel my ranking is skewed since I was only there one day, but I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10. However, Nike’s activation seemed to be one of the more thought through/out and actually produced (in terms of talent, run of show, etc.) activations.
Jonathan Zapata - Technology Manager
Big hit: The big hit from VidCon 2019 was a push for active lifestyles. The fundamental concept around VidCon is content creation. Most of the opportunities for content creators to capture video or photos revolved around static booths. For example, Barbie had a giant toy box replica that you could step into and take a photo. There were, however, two booths that immediately stood out. Nike's footprint was extensive and filled of participatory activities to play. From shooting hoops, to jamming out with the DJ, to signing up for sport sessions, the Nike booth embodied the spirit of their slogan "Sport Changes Everything." The other big player was Nerf. Nerf provided attendees with a full array of games that made one feel like a child again. First, we stopped by to do some target practice with a few different Nerf guns. Then, you gear up for the big battle inside a giant inflatable! The entire experience was timed well. We were on the battlefield for an extended amount of time. Nike and Nerf gave content creators and attendees a chance to get active, sweaty, and take a step back from our phones and cameras.
Big miss: As mentioned in my Big Hit section, the big miss was the continual and repetitive theme of static photo booths, and photo ops. Although some of these experiences were great for social content, they did not engage with a specific brand message. Whereas the motivation for such activations like Nike's "Sport Changes Everything" and Nerf's battlefield was clear, other brands were ambiguous at best. The Barbie Toy House was targeted for a younger audience and the experience did not extend past a walkthrough of a plastic house. The Nickelodeon nostalgic pieces were just that - photo opportunities to relive the old days of Nickelodeon programming (i.e. Good Burger car, All That stage, and a Blue's Clues couch).
Overall rating of what you saw out of 10? I would rate what I saw a 6 of 10. Most of the spaces were underwhelming and disorganized. Make-up and beauty products were huge this year, and the builds for those brands were equally underwhelming. I would like to have seen more interactive spaces like the two I mentioned (Nike and Nerf).
Cesar Cabrera - Production Manager
Big hit: I think the Nerf set-up was a huge hit. Did it look the cleanest? No. Was it premium? No. BUT the experience was great and worth sharing on social – from picking your guns, to blasting your friends in the face.
Big miss: SWAG!!!! There was nothing I saw worth taking… some pins, and maybe stickers on tables, but that was it. Shareable moments are great, but for the exposure I think some cool giveaways would have been a hit – I am using my metal straw guys.
Overall feeling of what you saw out of 10? I feel generous giving it a 6… I think it could be much better, and bigger!
Other thoughts: All of the above, of course, is second to Nike – Sport Changes Everything. Nike looked great, and the experience was the best. I am sure the kids loved getting to interact with people they normally only see on the other side of a screen.
Mark Monaco - Digital Content Manager
Big hit: The 3 Ns, Nike, Nerf and Nickelodeon. They had the biggest and most engaging buildouts. All 3 of their areas felt like a destination on the floor as opposed to some booth I would walk by.
Big miss: Swag and data capture. There wasn’t any real great swag being given out, but when I did grab something, there wasn’t any requirement to get my data. It seemed like the focus was more on getting people to post about the event as opposed to having a strong follow up strategy.
Overall feeling of what you saw out of 10? 6, a big ole 6.
From all of those 6/10s it looks like overall, we weren’t blown away. Nike and Nerf were definite standouts with their larger footprints and there was some fun nostalgia to be found outside of that. Although there were some great moments, the focus seemed to be mostly on photo ops instead of building out more multi-sensory activations. Most of the photo ops tried to engage people, but they felt flat and inauthentic since there wasn't much brand relevance to them. The misses in swag and data capture felt really blaring. It's almost as if most of the brands activating didn’t know at least one key stat we live by: 85% of consumers are likely to purchase after participating in events and experiences. It was definitely a key miss for many booths in not having a follow up strategy. We were on-site to learn, though, and think we got some great insight out of our trip. You can't become one of the most sought-after event marketing companies in Los Angeles without constantly trying to see what's out there. We’re happy to have gone and can’t wait for VidCon 2020.