Experiential: Amplified

Audio giant, Pioneer is looking to reconnect with its audience, and so it has engaged The Circle Agency to manage its latest experiential campaign

The Smart Festival, British Touring Car Championship, MPH featuring Top Gear Live and Future Publishing’s portfolio of high energy shows for car enthusiasts; these are just a handful of events that have welcomed Pioneer’s bid to get up close and personal with UK car lovers.

Stand Out is at Total Vauxhall Live, and is here to see James Smith, head of strategy at The Circle Agency. Smith is overseeing the audio giant’s tour of UK events at which it is hoping to reconnect with 18-35-year-old male drivers. This is the first time that Pioneer has undertaken an experiential campaign for its car audio and navigation range as well as the latest iPod and iPhone compatible car stereos and core range of AV tuners.

Central to the experience is a VW Transporter that has been modified to allow a number of consumers to trail a range of Pioneer products. The van has been modified, branded and fitted with a custom build demo pod that is allowing people to see for themselves a range of car entertainment products.

The summer tour has included some of the biggest and best car events across the country as well as manufacturer specific shows, allowing the team to demonstrate Pioneer’s range of custom fit products, and so far visitors to Total Vauxhall Live, Ford Fair and GTI International have all experienced the VW Transporter and a converted Audi A4 Pioneer show car. The Audi is installed with top of the range Pioneer kit throughout including stereo, speakers and amplifiers and does a brilliant job at attracting people to the stand, complimenting the VW Transporter.

“We are working with Pioneer to activate the experiential campaign at events that allow us to engage with potential customers in a relevant way,” explains Smith. “The final plan involved a number of formal car events as well as taking part in some more guerrilla style events, and we have had great success in engaging consumers at modified car cruises.”

Alongside the smaller brand specific events that made for effective targeting, Pioneer is also taking its experiential set up to larger mass-market events, ensuring that the reach of the campaign stretches to a wider demographic. The team this year has already been to Japfest and Trax at Silverstone.

The experiential set up is scalable and adaptable to each event. Based around a bespoke built demonstration vehicle, canopied demonstration area and sales area, it can be deployed at short notice in a number of different environments.

Crowd pullers

Nicolette Minnie, senior marcoms executive for Pioneer, explains further: “At Pioneer we are constantly developing new products that allow today’s’ drivers to get the most out of their music and make their driving experience as enjoyable as possible. Our campaign is focused on showcasing these new products to our customers as well as reinforcing Pioneer’s position as one of the leading manufacturers of in car entertainment products.

“Our key demographic is notoriously difficult to reach, so we have had to go to them and connect with them face-to-face in environments they are comfortable in.”

As the campaign got underway it became clear that it would be possible for the brand ambassadors to sell on-site as well as engage consumers with the products. Stand Out met brand ambassador, Lee Unit who is heading up Circle’s team for the tour. With discounts on offer of up to £300, consumers have been incentivised to buy on site resulting in purchases of XXXX stereos at each event.

Says Unit: “We have had some great receptions from the crowds at these events and it was clear from the first couple that we needed to be able to sell the units on-site to the car buyers. The transporter van is a great crowd puller and it means that loads of people can be checking out the merchandise at the same time. We have a core team working on every venue so that we can make sure we’re knowledgeable about all the equipment… and we can recommend the right head unit for each client’s needs.”

To facilitate the sales aspect of the unit a local Pioneer dealer has also joined the brand ambassadors at each event to add to the sales team and to take payments.

Social pioneers

The Circle Agency is very much integrating social media strategy into its experiential campaigns through a digital team, dedicated to extending live campaigns online. The company has recently appointed Damien Bidmead as head of digital to head the integration of the two disciplines, initially through the development of location-based applications. The idea is in the longer-term to create digital communities that run alongside event activity, using social media in virtual spaces, which mirrors the activity and offers users added value for getting involved with the brand online.

“It was very much part of the strategy to not only engage on with consumers on-site but to support engagement with the brand following the event,” adds Smith. “This included a drive to social media sites where we can continue talking to consumers.”

A feature of the campaign is a photo marketing mechanic – brand ambassadors are rounding up car enthusiasts and inviting them to have their pictures superimposed onto the cover of car magazines, such as Total Vauxhall and Fast Ford. These images can then be downloaded from Pioneer’s Facebook page, giving people the chance to engage with the brand’s online social community. Hence, extending the brand message after the event ends.

Furthermore, the same images are printed out at each event and can also be downloaded from www.pioneer.co.uk/car, driving traffic to Pioneer’s website.

“We have worked closely with Pioneer to create a campaign that’s not only delivering results but also looks great,” Smith concludes. “To make it happen we have worked with a number of marketers at Pioneer to make sure we have delivered a successful summer.”