Six Brand Activations Owning Summer
Summer, it goes by way too fast. Before you know it, the days stop growing longer, the bonfire has to be extinguished, and the bathing suits go back into storage. So, organizations and brands hoping to capture some of the fun, excitement, and warm feelings of the vacation season have to move decisively.
Here are six influential brands rolling out organic and unique experiences that capture those lovely summer vibes.
L.L. Bean: Marshmallow Roast
Summer is definitely a time to be outdoors and the nature-loving outfitter L.L. Bean is determined to be the brand people think of when they feel the urge to trek into the wilderness.
“Going back to our mission of getting people outdoors more often together, we felt like this was a great opportunity to provide both an opportunity for people to do it and inspire a movement to get people doing it on their own as well.”
For Summer 2019, the L.L. Bean unveiled its “S’more out of Summer” campaign, comprised of pop-up campsites across the U.S. The sites — which have been rolled out in cities like Buffalo, NY; Madison, WI; Boston, MA; and at the flagship store in Freeport, ME — feature a cedar trellis entryway that leads to a giant roasting pit filled with Biolite FirePit camp stoves for visitors to toast marshmallows over. The experience is capped off by a photo op in the form of an oversized S’mores sculpture that urges attendees to “Do it for the graham.”
Taco Bell: The Bell Hotel
Hotels book up fast in the summer months when lots of people take off from work to enjoy the weather, but few sell out in just two minutes. But that’s exactly how long it took for vacancies at The Bell, a temporary resort created by Taco Bell in California to disappear. For four days in August, the 70-plus rooms at the V Palm Springs as well as the pool and grounds will be bedecked in all things Taco Bell. Guests will ‘Live Más’ at the Baja Blast Freeze Lounge, collect their fire sauce room keys, and pickup exclusive Taco Bell swag at a transformed hotel gift shop.
Moët & Chandon: Summer House
Few things are more glamorous than cooling off from the June heat by relaxing at a summer home with a glass of chilled champagne. That might be why Moët & Chandon, maker of fine French wines, built an activation in London that ran from June 7-9 which brought together fashion, film, food, and music to celebrate London’s diversity in sophisticated style. The three-day event, dubbed Summer House, featured live DJ sets, a photography workshop with Instagram influencer Anna Barnett, haute cuisine from restaurateur Jason Atherton, and readings by actor Russell Tovey.
A “Mini Moët ciné club” served champagne cocktails while commemorating the brand’s long association with Hollywood’s golden age, and comedian Katherine Ryan hosted a night of live comedy. Fashion house Givenchy, which, like Moët & Chandon, is a subsidiary of luxury conglomerate LVMH, was on hand to provide beauty and grooming advice.
The Economist: Fast Forward Food Hot Dog Cart
Sure, there’s really no bad time of year for hot dogs, but something about hot days, cold beer, and baseball season make summer an especially happy time for grilling. Well, British periodical The Economist took a classic tradition and put a modern spin on it. Their Fast Forward Food truck is part of a multi-year campaign tied to the hashtag: #FeedingTheFuture. A food truck branded with The Economist’s visual identity is educating New York City residents about food waste and production, as well as serving up a taste of the future in the form of sausages made from Beyond Meat’s plant-based meat substitute.
Rather than locking down one location for their big summer activation, Pepsi is using social media and augmented reality to create seasonal memories everywhere. PepsiCo VP of marketing for colas, Todd Kaplan, told AdWeek: “Social media usage peaks over the summer months, which makes sense because people are out and about with their phones, and everyone is seeing that iconic photo of the feet by the pool with the drink, #BestSummerEver.” The soda brand partnered with Instagram’s in-house development team and major social media influencers DJ Khaled and Chrissy Teigen on a campaign called #Summergram.
Over 250 AR filters and digital stickers were commissioned with summer-themed taglines like “RV There Yet?” and “Long Days, Short Shorts.” 200 million bottles and 30 million fountain cups of Pepsi products have been printed with unique QR codes for consumers to scan for quick access to the digital mementos. Pepsi also created a number of cartoon mascots, like a crab and a flamingo, that will be seen both in-app and as giant inflatables at Pepsi pop-ups in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago.
Coca-Cola: I Believe
Not one to let their rival go unchallenged, Coca-Cola recently unveiled its first large-scale summer campaign in six years. As of May 13th, 20-oz. Bottles of Coke and Coke Zero Sugar began sporting special labels with peel-away wristbands adorned with a variety of summary artwork like hot dogs and popsicles. There are six designs in all and one of them sports the words “I Believe” alongside a soccer ball and the crest of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT), which is competing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup title this summer in France.
A number of limited-edition Coca-Cola Believe Wristbands were also created from the red goal nets of the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, an invitational tournament. Fans can sign up to win one of the net bracelets by scanning an “I Believe” peel-away wristband. The first set, however, were given away to members of a teen girls soccer club from Orlando, Florida, who also got to meet some of their heroes, the stars of the USWNT, at an exclusive event in April.