Build Brands, Win Fans With Event Marketing

A massive canopy in the shape of sociopathic scientist from the animated Adult Swim hit, Rick and Morty. The world’s tallest building, made entirely of chocolate, commissioned by the Food Network. A pop-up “island” that floated from Los Angeles to San Diego to promote the second season of TBS’s Wrecked at Comic-Con. These are all commissions that experiential marketing firm Hadley Media has taken on. CEO Patrick Hadley was on hand at the 2017 ASI Power Summit to explain how firms like his are natural collaborators with promotional product sellers, during a session dubbed “The Studio 54 Effect: Using Event Marketing to Build Brand Allure.”

When everything is working correctly, Hadley said, event marketers and distributors should have a symbiotic relationship. “The reality is [event marketers] are a big resource, and we need each other,” he said. “We need people like you sitting in the room with us, as the experts of products, [so that] when we have a script, promotional products aren’t an afterthought.”

Collaborating on relatable, relevant and useful promotional items, rather than “cheap things that people throw away” helps to make marketing experiences that much more memorable, by creating a commemorative keepsake for consumers, Hadley said. “Be the experts that you are,” he urged.


Hadley was interviewed by Counselor's Dave Vagnoni, who was decked out in full Star Wars' Stormtrooper regalia, to show off some experiential marketing in action. First, he screened a viral video from Canadian airline WestJet where Santa Claus appeared on-screen at boarding gates asking passengers what they wanted for Christmas. When travelers arrived at their final destination, they were shocked to see each of their Christmas wishes, neatly wrapped and ribboned, trundling down the baggage carousel.

ASI created a similar experience for several newcomers to the Power Summit, presenting them with the noise-canceling headphones and fancy back massagers they’d put on their own wish lists. The session concluded with several practical ideas promotional products professionals could use in their own business: Create a “Swag Machine” by loading up a revamped vending machine with interesting branded products; make promotional products more visual, so they’ll perform better on social channels; partner with experiential marketing firms; and go beyond the traditional trade show booth to create an engaging experience for attendees.

Video: Interview with Patrick Hadley