Experiential marketing is more important than ever for reaching Millennials. 94% of Gen Y consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product as a result of a good experience at an event. – Event Marketing Institute

Is your brand targeting 18-24 year olds? Interested in the college aged demographic? Then it’s time to grab your bikini and Ray-Bans…and head to Spring Break!

Spring Break is an iconic coming-of-age once- or twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to party hard, live like a rock star and have some crazy – yet memorable – adventures. These students are up for almost anything, and they’ll be talking about their Spring Break memories for years to come – and tweeting, Snapchatting and Instagramming the entire week long for all the world to see what kind of trouble they’ve stirred up. If your brand can benefit from being a part of that excitement for a huge college-aged crowd, then creating an experiential marketing campaign on one of the hottest beaches during Spring Break may be the perfect opportunity for you.

It’s estimated that 1.5 million U.S. college students travel during the month of March for Spring Break. Panama City Beach, Florida, with over half a million Spring Breakers, and South Padre Island, Texas, with about a quarter million vacationers, are the largest domestic destinations. Other top contenders are: Lake Havasu, Arizona; Daytona Beach, Florida; Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; San Diego, California; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Running unique OOH and experiential marketing campaigns in multiple markets during the peak 3-week period of Spring Break could result in hundreds of thousands of impressions, distributed samples, and hashtags across the popular social media sites.

Spring Break

So where do you start?

Author of “Marketing to Millennials” Jeff Fromm writes, “When we dissect the meaning of highly share-worthy, it is not just about creating easily shared content; it is about creating share-worthy experiences that will add to the Millennials’ story and/or life.” In a Forbes article, Fromm also writes, “Creating energy for your brand is about generating positive word-of-mouth and word-of-mouse – getting people to talk about you, share your content and spread awareness.”

The next time your target consumer posts a selfie, don’t you want your brand to be the highlight?

Experiential marketing gives brands a way to connect with consumers face-to-face. And with the very connected Millennial generation, with their constant digital and mobile engagement, brands must change the way they do advertising. Fromm recommends brands build intrigue and create meaningful relationships with their consumers through experiences.

Traditional marketing may typically get more direct reach than planning an experiential campaign, but if you’re targeting¬†18-24 year olds, Spring Break marketing can widely increase those numbers. And what’s more, with social media integration, an experiential campaign can become more viral than the initial event impressions.

Here are some ways big brands have made a big impact at Spring Break in recent years:

  • Axe
    Axe activated pop-up marketing through the use of kiosks and retail tents to distribute product to men, who of course, were trying to impress the ladies.
  • Corona
    Corona sponsored a concert stage at one of the busiest party spots and had “Corona girls,” professional brand ambassadors wearing bikinis with the Corono logo, who were dancing and interacting with the crowd. What guy wouldn’t want a picture with her to share with his buddies back home?
  • Australian Gold
    Spending a week in the sun can cause damage to a girl’s skin. Australian Gold sponsored volleyball nets along the beach, plus, professional models passed out sunblock to those breakers who liked them on Facebook during the on-the-beach interaction. They also ran contests and gave out prizes.
  • Trojan
    Take a look at how Trojan kept the fun going:

  • Got2b
    And here’s how Got2b advertised at Spring Break:

  • Red Bull
    Red Bull partnered with a local resort to stock the hotel rooms with their energy drinks, so the party could last all day and all night. They also hosted pool parties on the resort’s popular pool deck. To stay on brand, they ran a contest to give a Spring Breaker a skydiving adventure.
  • BIC Razors
    On-the-beach games featuring razoring fun grabbed the attention of BIC Razor fans. Plus, they sponsored a stage with licensed cosmetologists offering shaves (legs for the gals and faces, heads, chests for the guys) and handed out free razors to keep Spring Break hairfree.

In a recent BizJournals article, James Fox of Red Peak Branding says, “People are more resistant to commercial messages these days. And millennials in particular are very good at being able to filter out what they perceive to be paid messages by corporations.”

Experiential marketing is a great solution to reaching this demographic.