Imagine you’re the CMO of marketing for a financial institution. Traditional bank marketing is bland, so you sit down with your team to brainstorm an experience that will engage and delight current customers and prospects alike. With the ample budget you allocate to this event, you partner with New York City to feature your live event in Times Square, give away gifts and prizes, and set the whole event in a colorful, Instagrammable brand activation.
And what if nobody posted about it?
That’s what happened with the Citi JoyTM this week.
— Citibank (@Citibank) November 14, 2017
— Times Square (@TimesSquareNYC) November 14, 2017
Visitors to the Citi JoyTM experience could jump in a ball pit and make their way to the JoyTM (a play on “ATM”) to withdraw tickets for small gifts and larger prizes like Metrocards, concert tickets, and airline mile vouchers.
Citi global consumer chief marketing officer Jennifer Breithaupt said brand activations like these “[H]elp us bring this to life by connecting emotionally to customers and eliciting optimism and welcoming what’s next.” But from the social media traction around this event, it seemed like a major investment for almost no social or earned media coverage.
Searching Twitter for “JoyTM” reveals two tweets total about the event, and one was from the official Citi account. Facebook results aren’t much better, with four total posts; two of those are from the team that built the ball pit. The only post from Citibank’s official Instagram has modest engagement, with only 236 likes and two comments as of November 17.
Today, consumers are beginning to turn away from purchasing retail goods and choosing experiences worthy of sharing on social media. Influencers clamor for selfies at locations like the Museum of Ice Cream and the Color Factory in San Francisco, the Rain Room at LACMA, or Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors at The Broad in Los Angeles–an art installation so striking Adele filmed her BRIT awards performance there.
Last week, Adele was filmed performing her song "When We Were Young" in the immersive artwork by artist Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrored Room" at The Broad. The resulting film was featured spectacularly at her performance at the BRIT Awards 2016. Hear why she chose this artwork and the role museums have played in her life by watching the video linked in our bio. [Video by @ladowntowner + @freight_house] [#Regram via @Adele]
Brands that choose to develop immersive experiences need to consider the reach of the event on social and earned media. Did Citi choose to offer the JoyTM experience as a way to change the perception of Citibank? Or was their lack of coverage on social media an oversight? Did they believe the experience would be so strong that those who participated would share their experience without the prompt of a branded hashtag?