The A-Z of Experiential Marketing – G for Global

Do global campaigns kill local creativity? 

This week our series, the A-Z of Experiential Marketing, explores the common preconception that when the word ‘campaign’ is preceded by the word ‘global’ the result will automatically be a tragic dumbing down of creativity.

Admittedly, this can be the case, and we’ve all cringed at lowest common denominator TV ads for cars, yoghurts or chocolates.   However, in the world of experiential and events we don’t need to compromise creatively in the same way due to the very nature of our platform.

Live, by default, means that no event is exactly the same as another – often it will need to mould itself to different venues, spaces and market specifics.  This can be used to our advantage when it comes to global campaigns and the results can be spectacular.

Touring an international campaign

Last year Volvo Car Corporation’s ‘Switch to Pure’ tour took in 8 major European cities and was a centrally conceived campaign that launched the company’s new V60 plug-in Hybrid.

The objective was to open order books for the most technically advanced Volvo ever by engaging selective customers and influencers in a conversation about sustainability and luxury.  However, the interpretation of the idea was unique to each market. In Hamburg consumers were cleverly targeted and drawn to a regenerated area of the city, emphasizing the sustainability message, where they could test drive the Hybrid. Whereas, in Oslo, thought-leaders were targeted and Members of Parliament attended the event for a live debate that changed their perception on the impact of cars on the environment.

Volvo Experiential

With one touring environment, built to be relocated in venues as varied as a regenerated, dockside factory in Hamburg and a contemporary music hall in Oslo, all of the desirable cost-efficiencies of a global campaign could be achieved.  However, each market was able to stamp their own identity on it and reap the rewards of local relevance engaging with their own press and blogging community.

Volvo V60 Tour 2012

Big global ideas, powerful local executions

Of course, not every good experiential idea involves a big audience-driven event. Sometimes smaller, local stunts or experiences can be the most powerful expression of a global idea. Coca-Cola is constantly creating wonderful, shareable content via local expressions of the pervasive #sharethehappiness campaign.

From the Hug Me vending machine

To the happiness machine for couples that was installed in a shopping mall in Istanbul on Valentine’s Day.

To the happiness truck in India

To the happiness table in Italy

Each local execution is driven by the global message but wrapped in local culture and evidently therefore always relevant, well received and, importantly, creating a little happiness. Once these local events have occurred they are all then packaged into a nice little film for global online sharing. 

When local becomes global

Building on the last point, these days, through the power of the internet and social media, any campaign can become a global campaign. Successful virals with a specific local message can become internet legends overnight.

In 2012 a new Belgium TV channel was launched called TNT. To coincide with the launch, with its “we know drama”tagline, the channel created a stunt that exploded at the touch of a button.

This video caught the attention of Belgian citizens, but also, according to Mashable’s viral video chart, it became the 2nd most shared, branded video of all time – taking second place to Volkswagen’s 2012 Super Bowl advert “The Force”. It was shared furiously around the world as the storyline spoke to everyone, in every language and was a resounding, if somewhat unexpected success for TNT.


We have only scratched the surface here, but hope that we’ve proved that compromising on creativity and imagination are not prerequisites when going global.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Taking a global message and giving it local flavour and relevance or a local message and giving it worldwide shareability requires big ideas, clever insight and lots and lots of imagination.

The creative idea should be at the very centre of your campaign, the beating heart that drives all other actions.  A creative campaign that satisfies business, cost, geographic, cultural and logistical needs is always possible and bound to get noticed.

Have you spotted any great creative global campaigns recently that communicate on a local level too?  We’d love to feature them on the blog, so let us know!

Want to read more of our A-Z of Experiential Marketing posts? You can now download and keep A-N as a PDF ebook.

Or select another of the posts from the series to view online:

Audience | Brief | Content | Digital | Engagement | Fun

Global | Hindsight | Insight Journey | Knowledge | Logistics

Mobile | New | Old | Product Launch | Q&A | ROI | Social Media

Target Market | User Experience | Venues | Word of Mouth | X for X Factor | Y for Youth | Z for Zeitgeist

a-zilineupebookDownload our ebook!
You can now download the first part of our A-Z of Experiential Marketing series as a ebook to keep for reference or read on the daily commute!
We are well on our way to Z, but in the meantime click here to get hold of the A-N ebook!

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