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2018 American Advertising Awards FAQ

Each year our board of directors and event chairs are asked questions about the American Advertising Awards (AAA). This year we turned those consistent questions into a recyclable piece of content. Here’s what you need to know based on our most commonly fielded AAA questions!

The event is being held Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Grand Ballroom at the Kelly Inn, downtown St. Cloud.


1. When Are Entries Due?

Friday, January 19, 2018. There’s a hard 5pm CST cutoff time, too. Drop all entries at the Leighton Interactive office at 619 W. St. Germain in downtown St. Cloud. Second floor, straight up the stairs, to your immediate left.

(Also, that’s the pickup place for your boards and kits, and they’re $5 a piece.)

2. How Much Is it to Enter?

There isn’t a consistent answer here because we’ve got a few different variables at play. There are two categories: Professionals and Students. And there are discounts for being an AAF member, and it matters if the work you’re submitting is a single piece for consideration, or an entire campaign. Clear as mud? Refer to the big dogs at the American Advertising Federation for the rundown.

3. Who Can Enter the AAA?

Anyone in the creative field, regardless of industry. Individuals and teams in every sector of business are called upon time and time again to create work that connects, communicates, illustrates, and converts. We don’t care if you’re an agency, and individual, a department, or if the work is your senior project or the last thing you’ll accomplish in your lengthy career. Let the work speak for itself.

4. Wait. Why is Called the AAA and Not the ADDY’s?

Because, #rules. A few years ago the Federation kindly reminded its members and AAA committees that the event and awards are called the American Advertising Awards, and to further discontinue calling the prestigious competition by its slang terminology. All of us who’ve been in the fray for any number of years surely slip up a time or two, calling it by its former four-letter name. Ahem, me.

5. Can You Remind Us Again How Judging Works?

Another hard and fast set of rules applies here. Each club that hosts a local AAA competition has to secure judges to review the work and select winning entries. We choose judges from outside our district (District Eight; MN, WI, ND, and SD), they travel to the frozen tundra of Central Minnesota for one blustery weekend in January where we turn them loose on the creative. Everything is highly regulated and 100 percent confidential, both from the perspective of who’s behind the entries and outcome until the big night.

6. What Happens Night of the Event?

The work – every single entry – is on display. Women wear beautiful ball gowns and look dashing on the arms of their well-coiffed suitors. The wine flows, the creative camaraderie warms the room …

Okay, yes. The work is on display. Large masses of attendees come together, have a drink or two, sample the hors d’oeurves, and enjoy a keynote show highlighting the winning work and announcing recipients. There’s a lot of fanfare and backslapping and goodwill towards the creative sector. And some beautiful ball gowns. Let’s be honest.

7. How Much Are Tickets? Do My Entries Get Me In to the Show, Too?

If you entered work, you’re still on the hook for a ticket to the show. But, we have good news for you – early bird tickets are on sale now through January 12 for $42 for pros and $27 for students. Tickets go up $10 and $5 respectively through night of show, so get ‘em now right here.

If you’re interested in buying a whole mess of tickets for your office, family, or classroom, let us know what you’re thinking and we’ll coordinate the efforts.

8. What are the Next Steps After the Local Show?

All Gold winners (both student and pros) are automatically forwarded to the D8 AAA competition where the work is judged again in the overall district pool, by its own set of judges. The show is held in Minneapolis in April, and the Board of Directors/event chairs handle those logistics. If your work nabs a Silver, you have the option to pay for forwarding for district consideration. We’ll share more about that process after February 17th.

 9. What Should I Wear?

I thought you’d never ask.

In years past, the AAA show had pretty obvious themes to it. Last year we pledged our Scout’s Honor and donned badges and khaki. The year before that was high couture with fur. Attendees either went all out within the theme or did their own thing. This year our planning committee backed off an over the top theme in order to let the work speak for itself. That being said, as creatives ourselves we always encourage expressionism and hope you rise to the challenge. Business semi-formal is probably a safe zone to focus on otherwise.


The American Advertising Awards is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition for creative excellence. The three-tier national competition is conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation, advertising’s largest industry association and the only one to represent the interests of all facets of advertising: advertisers, agencies, suppliers and media. The AAF is based in Washington, D.C. and has more than 40,000 members through 200 local advertising clubs.

5 Reasons to Enter the American Advertising Awards

So you’ve heard about the American Advertising Awards but you’re still figuring out if it’s worth it to submit (spoiler alert, of course it is!) If you still need convincing, check out the top five reasons to enter below:

5. Business is all about relationships

We all know that when working with clients and customers, strong, trusting relationships are key to repeat business and referrals for new business. The American Advertising Awards is the perfect place to showcase the work you are doing on behalf of your customers. They say actions speak louder than words and submitting the pieces you’ve done for clients screams “HEY! Look who we get to work with and would you look at what we get to do for them!?”

4. Because Self Promotion isn’t Selfish

Business is, well, business and when we get down to it, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of promoting products and services, taking care of clients, and generally hustling that we forget to do all the same promotion and hustle for ourselves! The American Advertising Awards are the perfect place to remind your colleagues in the industry of who you are and what you do.

3. It’s for the babies!

Okay, well maybe not actual babies, but seriously, proceeds from our show are used to support all the feel good things our club does for local students (i.e. the future of our industry) like our annual Student Design Competition.

 2. Helping Us Helps You

Okay so we help babies, but we also help you! Part of our mission as a club is to provide programming and workshops throughout the year that help you grow and flourish as a professional!

1. The work!

You #grind day in and day out and honestly, the work speaks for itself. You’ve put in the hustle and heart, now it’s time to step aside and make way for the work. It deserves to be recognized!

Submit your work today!

What’s New for the 2018 American Advertising Awards

What's New for the 2018 American Advertising Awards


What’s New for the 2018 American Advertising Awards?

The core of the American Advertising Award stays tried and true year after year, and it ought to! It’s a robust competition that has been around for years; something good that shouldn’t be messed with, because as they say, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. That said, AAF’s mission is to advance and protect the advertising industry and with that comes the necessity to keep the competition as fresh as the strategies, artwork, and advertising messages are that you strive to deliver to your clients (or professors) each day.  We gathered some tidbits – some old, some new, and others just worth mentioning, to make sure you are in the know on what’s new with the 2018 American Advertising Awards.

For the newbies, a little recap:

The American Advertising Awards are the industry’s largest and most representative competition, attracting over 50,000 entries every year in local competitions. The mission of the competition is to recognize and reward creative excellence in the art of advertising. Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), our local competition is the first of a three-tier, national competition. The call for entries for AAFCM’s competition is released in the fall with entries due around, or shortly after, the first of the year. The entries are judged and an award show is held to honor our club’s student and professional award recipients. From there, winning entries move on to the district and then, hopefully, national level to compete with other top-notch work from around the country.

The Award Show Theme

The culmination of the competition is a fun, theme-inspired show.  If you’ve been to AAFCM’s ADDY show in the past, you know we go big when it comes to executing a theme…both in attire and decor. This year, however, we’re taking a step back, and notch up, making the theme all about the work itself. Sometimes less is more and that will definitely be the case this year as we leave our somewhat ridiculous costumes at home and make a special point to honor the American Advertising Awards’ most important guest: the work.

Emerging Leader Award

The American Advertising Federation of Central Minnesota (AAFCM) is proud to announce our Emerging Leader Award. This award, new this year, was created to recognize young professional men and women who are making outstanding contributions to marketing, advertising, design, and/or communications.  Emerging Leaders are those who, though relatively young in their careers, have already proven themselves to be making an impact in their company and for their clients; they are individuals who have begun to further industry standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern. If you know someone who has an exemplary work ethic, pushes the envelope, challenges the impossible, embraces the unknown, and continually innovates, they are worthy of an Emerging Leader nomination (link to website). Emerging Leader Nominees must be under the age of 35 (as of the end of this year), and contribute to the industry in the Central MN community. Like the Silver Medal Award (link to website), each year AAFCM will bestow this honor upon an outstanding member of the central Minnesota community. Emerging Leader recipients are selected by a panel of judges that include community leaders and industry professionals and will be announced at the AAFCM’s American Advertising Awards, along with the recipient of the Silver Medal Award.

New Categories

Most actually aren’t new to the competition, but since you don’t know what you don’t know, we figured they’re worth mentioning because they may be new to you!

There are over 170 categories that fall within 7 divisions! Here is just sampling of them.

  1. Sales & Marketing – includes well-known categories such as packaging, brochures, annual reports, book design, apparel, and direct marketing. Did you know you could also submit menu designs? Yes, menus. And you know you’ve seen some award worthy menus at our local breweries and restaurants.
  2. Print Advertising – this is where newspaper and magazine advertisements land.  They can be any size, single ads or full campaigns.
  3. Out-of-Home & Ambient Media – Guerrilla marketing aka “non-traditional advertising”, installations such as kiosks, art exhibit, trade show exhibit, retail store or an other design and build-out of a temporary or permanent branded environment, posters, and outdoor displays that are delivered to mass audiences on sidewalks, streets, etc. all fall within this category.
  4. Online/Interactive – Did you know your blog could win an award? That’s right there is a category solely dedicated to blogs and digital publications. You can also submit mobile apps, virtual reality (new this year!), websites, social media marketing, or tools and utilities such as widgets.
  5. Film, Video & Sound – this includes movie trailers, television and radio commercials, music videos, sales presentations, podcasts, and even webisodes.  
  6. Cross PlatformAn integrated campaign is defined as a campaign or series of ads, commercials or executions that utilize more than one medium.  So yes, if you’re a total rock star and your campaign spans more than one medium you can gather it all together and submit it as one whole entry here. 
  7. Elements of Advertising – copywriting, infographics, illustrations, still photography, sound design, art direction, computer generated imagery (new!), data driven media, responsive design, voiceover talent, and video editing are just a few of the categories/elements of advertising you can submit.  

2017-2018 Rules and Categories for Professionals
2017-2018 Rules and Categories for Students


NEW this year our all-in-one membership, the Season Ticket, includes attendance to ALL events for one entire year including one ticket to the American Advertising Awards. And since AAFCM’s membership cycle is rolling – which means you are enrolled as a member for a full year from the day you sign up, no matter the time of year, it’s not to late to become a Season Ticket Member! This will save you $$ on entries and gets you into the show!  

There you have it! A little bit of new and whole lot of the same awesomeness for AAFCM’s 2018 American Advertising Awards. Whether you have attended the ADDY’s in the past and can’t wait to celebrate our local creatives and their amazing work again, are a past entrant and have submitted your work to the ADDY’s (and maybe even won!), know next to nothing about it but someone, somewhere told you how much fun they had at the ADDY’s and you’re wondering what it’s all about, or some sweet combo of those reasons, we look forward to seeing at this year’s show. We’ll all bask in the glory together celebrating the work and tremendous value local advertising agencies, companies with top notch internal marketing departments, and students that are the rising stars in the industry bring to our community.

What are the Central MN American Advertising Awards?

Well, well, well.. didn’t that sneak up on us fast? It feels like just yesterday we were running around trying to decide which work was worthy to be submitted. Breaking out the rulers and double sided tape to mount our work and trying to remember if it is three or two copies that go into that envelope.

Maybe some of this sounds familiar to you or maybe your new to this entire competition. Either way we want to break it down and explain what the American Advertising Awards are and why they are so important in the Central Minnesota community.

The American Advertising Awards, formerly the ADDYs, is the advertising industry’s largest and most represented competition, attracting over 40,000 entries every year from local clubs, like us, around the country.

This is an annually competition held by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the local Ad Club phase is the first of a three-tier, national competition. Local entrants are judged by a scoring process from a panel of judges. Gold and silver ADDY awards are given for those of the highest level of creative excellence. They are recognized as the very best in the market.

At the second tier, local ADDY winners compete against winners from other local clubs in one of 15 district competitions. District ADDY winners are then forwarded to the third tier, the national stage of the American Advertising Awards. Entering in our competition is the first step toward winning a national ADDY.

How does entering benefit you and the Central Minnesota community?

We, from agencies, in-house, freelance and colleges, are able to come together to celebrate creative excellence. We showcase our BEST work. We spend our days coming up with effective creative solutions and strategies for our clients. This is the time to admire, reward and high-five this kick-ass industry that we work in. This is a competition recognizes just that!

AAF Central MN is also able to use proceeds to continue to enhance the industry by coordinating and offering education opportunities, public service, advocacy groups, portfolio reviews, mentorships and more!

Why should you enter as a student?

AAF has designed a unique program specially for college students. Just like the professional competition, your work can move up to the regional and national level. Students are able to submit work from school projects or work created specifically for the American Advertising Awards.

This looks great on your resumé, you’re able to rub elbows with the elite, and show off what you’ve got!

So, now what?

We’re calling for all entries! If you are an AAF Central MN member you receive a special discount on your submissions. Interested in membership, check this out!

You can find an updated list of categories, rules, and reception details here.

Entries are due Friday, January 19th.

Can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to this year!


With all of the benefits AAFCM brings, it’s a no brainer for your employer to want to help pay for your season ticket membership. But just incase you need some help explaining, we provided this blog for you!


Our events cover a variety of topics to ensure you excel in the quickly evolving advertising
and marketing industry. From learning the latest trends, to case studies and workshops, to
leadership and team development, you’ll walk away with nuggets of wisdom and inspiration
you can bring back to the office. Our programming brings value to graphic designers, marketing
directors, art directors, content creators, web design and developers, and account managers for
both in house marketing departments and advertising agencies.


Network with hundreds of like-minded individuals, potential customers, employers and
employees. Each event incorporates invaluable networking time. It’s a great opportunity to make
connections and keep your company top of mind with other professionals, as well as students
ready to make waves in the industry.


Do you recall the advertising for milk that said, “Happy cows give better milk?” We aren’t calling
you a cow (that’s not cool!), but we do know that investing in an employee’s professional
development often increases satisfaction. Our goal is to help you be better and we believe
growing personally goes hand in hand with growing professionally. Why wouldn’t your company
want you to be the best you can be as a whole?


Skills and knowledge. One minor adjustment in approach or strategy can have an incredible
return for your company and pay for your membership many times over. It’s about who you know. It goes without the saying the value connections, referrals and partnerships have in this industry.

Good vibes. Every good boss wants his or her employees to feel valued. And when we feel
valued, we invest more and feel a greater sense of loyalty to our organization. Win, Win.

We hope that gives you some talking points when talking to your boss! Need a formal request
letter? We’ve got one drafted for you here!

Pressing On Poster Party with Mary Bruno

Honestly, is there any better way to kick-off the AAF year than with Mary Bruno? Thank you to everyone who came out on Thursday night to just hang out and be together as a creative community. Upside down prints, an unlimited supply of Chex Mix, a few mosquitos, beer via an old school vending machine, and lots of AMAZING people. I’d chalk the night up as a win.

For those of you who missed it, Mary and her fabulous team started by printing a perfect gradient on a heavy chipboard and Cougar paper prior to the event. Then, ran ‘em through one more time with a beautiful metallic silver of “Pressing On” and two presses carved out of lino block. Mary is a true expert – and her passion is unrivaled.

Each person got to grab a poster and line it up on the press. We started by turning the machine on, stepping on the little pedal to hook the paper in and then cranked the poster through and over the typeset. It was truly inspiring to think about all the work and creative process that goes into a letterpress project.

Mary answered tons of questions about her creative process, what her favorite projects are, her logo, Titivillus (The Patron Demon of Scribes) and so much more.

We had about 50 people swing through Mary’s mighty little shop starting around 5:30 PM until 8:00 PM. We couldn’t have pulled it off without Mary herself, Beaver Island Brewing Company for keeping our thirst quenched all night, and SCSU and CSBSJU for each bringing a caravan of students.

I also want to send out a special thank you to Mike Thienes for that sweet little promo video and Madison Holler for snapping some shots through out the night.

Even if you were not able to make it to the Poster Workshop, you can still register for the actual film at Marcus Parkwood Theatre that is less than two weeks away. See you then!

Here are a few snaps from the evening. View more on the Bruno Press Facebook page!

#ADSCOUTS: What to Wear

I know the American Advertising Awards are about the work. The creative. The effectiveness. The cohesion. As athletes of marketing, our game day looks a little different than traditional competition. The ADDY’s is then considered our race or marathon, our event, match, game, or championship. We can say we’re not in it to win it, but we’d be liars. We’re still competitors. We still want to be the best, the cream, the victor.

And we want to look hella smashing when we do.


What An Ad Scout Looks Like

When I was a third grader I begged my parents to let me join Girl Scouts. I don’t remember the details surrounding why I felt the need to join a troop – if my friends were Brownies or I had heard there were snacks. Whatever the reason I joined, It was good while it lasted. You see, it was not in my future to advance through the ranks of the Girl Scouts association. I was a Brownie for a single year – I know there is fodder about my getting kicked out of the troop for talking so much, but my mom disagrees. Thanks for always having my back, Mom … and my widely-forever-and-ever-expressed verbal thoughts. So I joined Girl Scouts for one year in 1989. I got a sash. I got several pins and a big handful of patches. Proof I did more than talk. And now, nearly 30 years later, I get to revive that sash and all its colorful glory (after my Mom took said patches and pins out of their carefully preserved Ziploc and finally sewed them onto the sash) when I wear it to this year’s Olympics of Advertising on Saturday. If you were never a Brownie, Eagle, Cadet, Tenderfoot, Daisy, Star, Junior, Senior, or Ambassador, here’s what to wear to the 2017 American Advertising Awards.




On My Honor I Will Try: Girl Ad Scouts Attire Do’s

When it comes to scouting, there’s a firm grasp on function over fashion for good reason. How will a Scout serve God and country, and help people at all times if they’re wearing too tight dungarees or boots that pinch? At ease, Ad Scouts. This is your year to dress casually. If you wish to pay homage to the first Girl Scouts who made their debut in 1912, consider a dark-colored middy skirt or blouse (a style that is totally having a 2017 moment) with a tied belt, a smart and sturdy hat, and black stockings or tights. A lace-up ankle boot will top off your look and prove to your troop you’re ready for anything.

By the 1930’s, the iconic Girl Scout Green was officially adopted as the mascot color of the organization, and the jaunty little beret donned the heads of most Girl Scouts. Wartime ’40s saw the distinction of Brownie Brown as a way to separate the Brownies from the Junior and Senior Scouts – and it likely had to do with the availability of wartime materials – green khaki after all was the color of the legitimate troops fighting for the U.S.A. At this point, Scouts were still dressed in feminine button-front dresses and added brightly colored neckerchiefs to soften the look. The 1960’s brought further dress distinction of four established levels of Scouts and it took until the ’70s to add separates to a Girl Scout’s wardrobe, meaning she could finally have options – five separate pieces made 12 different outfits. Can I get an amen?

The 1980’s. The decade of the bigger, the better. Hall of Fame fashion stylist Bill Blass got his hands on the Girl Scouts’ attire and ladies, things got real. We’re talking even brighter kelly green, blazers (oh, ’80s blazers!), pants, skirts, and the introduction of the green, white, and blue striped blouses. And absolutely zero shame. Look to AAA Co-Chair Sarah Forystek to mad rep the 1980’s Girl Scout Look. The 1990’s meant more freedom and options with the ever-prominent sash leading the way, and the 2000’s adopted The Vest. Leave it to the Millennials to need even moreroom for their Scouting accomplishments; a tiny sash meant too much restriction and parameters. For the past decade, Scouts are only required to wear one element — a tunic, sash, or vest — to display their pins and awards.

Always Be Prepared: Boy Ad Scouts Attire Do’s

Admittedly, Boy Scout fashion is … less fun to write about. But guys, I got you.

Find a button-up shirt, roll those cuffs, add a great bandana or handkerchief, pair with dark denim, and add a pair of brown leather boots. Go the extra mile and add a khaki jacket and simple-style hat for Boy Scout bonus points.

You’re welcome! Actually, I’ll tell the historical story of the Boy Scouts too, because if you think Bill Blass was a big deal, wait until you hear who dressed this organization. The Boy Scouts Association inception dates back to 1910, and just like its female counterpart, its founding was modeled after similar service groups from England. The first Scout uniforms included brown jackets with metal buttons, high colors, and lots of pockets – for all the stuff. Breeches-type pants and canvas leggings topped off the look. Early uniforms featured a broad-brimmed hat with the badge of rank prominently displayed at the crown. It took a few years, but the jackets were replaced and the high collars done away with, too. Shorts were made an option and neckerchiefs and knee socks were theaccessories to have. The wartime 1940’s saw the Boy Scout uniform modeling its design after military wear – likely in solidarity and as a way to mainstream manufacturing with limited resources. Red berets and baseball caps were options available in the 1970’s – though it seemed males (obviously) favored baseball hats and the beret trend quickly disappeared. In early 1980, the BSA realized a uniform refresher was in order and enlisted the help of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta … YES, that Oscar de la Renta. “We felt the uniform should meet several criteria,” de la Renta told Scouting Magazine in the 1980 September issue. “It should be equitable for strenuous activity; it should be made from an easy care fabric, and at the same time the wearer should still look like a Scout.”

There isn’t anything else to say on THAT topic.

See you at the Show!


What it Takes to Put on the ADDYs

Well, here we are, knee-deep in ADDY season! It’s the week of the show and we couldn’t be more excited for the big event! For our club and its members, this is truly a culmination of months of effort. Let’s take a quick little hike up memory mountain to recall what it takes to get us here every year.

Planning the American Advertising Awards

Planning the American Advertising Awards begins at the very beginning of our club’s fiscal year at the end of June. It starts with a group of board members who go above and beyond their assigned board of directors duties to help plan the awards.

Next comes the show creative and theme. This year we worked to find a volunteer Agency of Record. I’d like to take this opportunity to give a big-time Ad Scout Salute to Agency 128 who answered our call and nailed their mission.

As summer turned into fall our committee was in the thick of ADDY planning. Our Agency of Record worked in concert with our print sponsor, Continental Press, to get our materials printed. Meanwhile Meta 13 Interactive was working hard building the website and prepping for the official call for entries.

Organized Chaos

If you haven’t caught on just yet, planning for this award show takes the coordination of many, many moving parts. Everything from the décor, provided this year by Signmax, GREAT TheatreB&J Evergreen, to stamps and envelopes for the invites. Our committee was fortunate enough this year to sign on two sponsors who are helping foot the bill for some of the show’s expenses, another ad scout salute goes out to Carlson Advisors & the Saint Cloud State MBA Program.

Finally we close in on the last six weeks leading up to showtime. There’s a lot going on between marketing campaigns, determining the Silver Medal Award winner, taking in submissions, producing the keynote, designing the awards (thanks Virnig) and organizing final show details.

On the submission due date, just three weeks prior to the show, it’s all hands on deck and our Addy committee goes into overdrive. All entries get loaded up and our club pretty much takes over Auto Parts Headquarters for about two and a half weeks for logging & screening and judging weekends. Wow, we owe those guys!

The Day of the Show

Wooft, I’m getting a little windy over here so let’s wrap it up. Finally show day arrives and everything comes together (seriously, it’s amazing to be a part of)! All the small details tighten up like the most intricate of knots, the work is displayed and believe it or not, it’s finally showtime.

Okay, so Scout’s Honor, this whole thing isn’t as neat as a 500 word blog post. It’s overwhelming and stressful at times, but the point is it’s all worth it on show day. To see the work of so many local agencies and students done right here in Central Minnesota for Central Minnesota businesses is more than enough to make this Ad Scout realize that darnit, we’ve all got a lot to celebrate!

So dig out your sashes, sew on your patches, and get ready to take it all in this weekend. There will be delicious food at a beautiful venue and special fun provided by Bernick’s and Guytano Magno Photography. At ease, scouts. Let’s party!

Experiential Marketing and Why Your Company Needs It

Okay you guys, I’ll be honest. I had a really vague idea of what experiential marketing was before this week. Is it tradeshows? Is it user research? Is it anything that goes viral? I realized that maybe everyone else is in the same boat. So in preparation for our speaker next week, the fantastic Ian Lawrow, I thought I’d share some more information on experiential marketing.

I’ll admit, I had a moment of pure bliss when I searched experiential marketing, and this was one of the first things that popped up:

TNT: A Dramatic Surprise On A Quiet Square

After watching the video again, I was basically like:

I’d seen this a few years ago circulating facebook, and it had such a huge impact on me. Cleverly done and expertly showcased, I thought this was one of TNT’s best ads EVER. Little did I know I was about to hit the jackpot of amazing ads while researching for this blog.


BUT FIRST! Let me explain experiential marketing. According to Wikipedia (because I can trust it):

Experiential marketing, sometimes called “engagement marketing,” “event marketing,” “on-ground marketing,” “live marketing,” or “participation marketing,” is a marketingstrategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand.”

To boil it down, brands – big and small – have a constant problem: no matter what they do, their audience eventually grows immune to their advertising tactics. That’s where experiential marketing comes in. Only 30 percent of people remember what they see and hear, compared to the whopping 90 percent of people who remember what they do. Experience is everything.That’s why you forget a book you read six months ago but remember family vacations forever. Because you lived it.

Experiential marketing breaks through the barriers that people have constructed around themselves to block out advertisements. A well thought out experiential marketing strategy engages the audience in a way that sticks with them. An even better strategy makes sure the audience reactions are recorded and have the potential to become viral online. The best part of all? 65 percent of brands that use it say it positively correlates with sales.

Before I go on anymore, you’ve got to take a look at some of my other favorites:

Zappos: #Pay With A Cupcake

Lean Cuisine: #WeighThis

Misereor: The Social Swipe

Google: Bay Area Impact Challenge

I confess. I think this is probably the coolest type of marketing out there. You might be thinking your business isn’t fit for experiential marketing. We’d like to challenge you on that. Well, technically, Ian Lawrow would like to challenge you on that. Come to the luncheon next week to hear more about experiential marketing and how you can use it for your business!

I’ll be there, the epitome of a drooling ad nerd!