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Agencies Ready for the 'Year of Experiential'

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Some call it stunt marketing. Others term it experiential marketing. But whatever name you use, it's hot.

Evidence Sid Lee Entertainment, headed by Joanne Fillion, a former creative director at Cirque du Soleil. The unit will develop consumer experiences for the agency's and other clients. Cirque du Soleil is a stakeholder in Sid Lee and "there's a lot of expertise at Cirque, technological, artistic and logistical, that we want to tap into," said Ms. Fillion.

For example, the casting machine at Cirque follows emerging artists coming onto the world stage, while its production arm has deployment in 325 countries with experience with promoters and work permits. The agency declined to disclose what the first campaign out of the unit will be, but as reported earlier, Absolut Vodka plans to launch a branded entertainment campaign modeled after Cirque du Soleil later this year. Absolut declined to comment.

72andSunny recently hired a director of experiential marketing, Audrey Eden, to build a new event-marketing arm. "There's a strategic reason for doing [experiential marketing] so we can give brands the ultimate campaign," said John Boiler, CEO and partner.

Michael Hart, co-founder at Mono, the agency behind the lauded "The Human Doing" campaign for Blue Cross Blue Shield, which put a man inside a glass box for a month to show how exercise and diet affected his health, said that he has noticed agencies seeing the success of experiential, but for his agency, every year is "the year of experiential."

One of the agencies best at creating social buzz is Belgium's Duval Guillaume Modem, the shop behind award-winning stunt campaigns and some for Carlsberg and TNT among others. "We don't think of ourselves as doing stunts," said Kris Hoet, managing partner and head of digital. "What we do is create a campaign that is going to create social currency and buzz."




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