How Brands Are Building Homey Event Footprints to Attract Attendees

On March 25, we had the opportunity to experience the homey design trend firsthand during the Los Angeles leg of the Ashley x Pandora Home on Tour campaign featuring a performance by John Legend (whose voice sounds like actual butter in person). And let’s just say we felt right at home within the iconic Shrine Expo Hall in downtown L.A., which Ashley had transformed into a series of curated, room-themed vignettes designed using on-trend natural materials and vibrant accents.

Hero products and accessories were showcased across an outdoor living space, a bedroom, a dining room and multiple living room-esque lounge areas.​ A second Home on Tour event that replicated the L.A. format took place a few weeks later in Nashville, with a performance by country artist Cole Swindell.

The first 90 minutes of the event was open to a selection of influencers and media members like ourselves, (plus a sweepstakes winner and their guest, who received free airfare, accommodations and a meet-and-greet with Legend) before free access was granted to about 2,000 targeted Pandora listeners. The setup was the same in Nashville.

We were fortunate enough to get the VIP treatment, from complimentary spirits to elegant hors d’oeuvres to a seriously talented dj spinning tunes, and had the freedom to explore before the venue became crowded. Easily, the most popular vignette was the bedroom space featuring a soft, feathery backdrop and an open invitation to have a pillow fight on a bed at the center of the room. The vignette was specifically built for social sharing, with lighting perfectly optimized for the space, and we saw plenty of attendees participate. For added incentive, LED screens within the venue broadcast social content from attendees who tagged Ashley and shared the campaign hashtag, #HomeOnTourLA.

But our favorite aspect of the event was a series of DIY experiences during which we could customize accessories for our homes, including making cocktail-infuser kits based on our preferred fruit, choosing a scent and building our own oil diffusers and potting a succulent plant with our bare hands.

“With each activation or photo moment, we wanted to incorporate the vignettes. So for example, the oil diffuser station was aligned with the bedroom in that, oftentimes, people will use scents like lavender to fall asleep. So it was building that parallel path,” says Elizabeth Dufresne, manager at Ashley HomeStore Retail Headquarters. “We really like to have things that are engaging for the audience. Like with the succulents, attendees were able to actually take the pot and then fill it with the dirt and put the succulent in there. That allows it to be more than a one-second touchpoint.”

When the event opened to the public, consumers could participate in the photo ops and activations, and they flocked to the bedroom vignette and a photo moment featuring a beautiful floral archway (it’s worth noting that of the myriad flowers on display across the event, each and every petal was real) before grabbing glow sticks and watching Legend perform. And oh, what a performance it was.

Post-event, Ashley donated all of the furniture, accessories and home accents used during the experience to A Sense of Home, a local L.A. organization that creates first-ever homes for youth aging out of foster care.

As for the results of the L.A. experience, two-thirds of respondents who participated in an on-site survey said that attending the event improved their consideration of Ashley, a key stat for the company, which placed brand consideration at the top of its campaign objectives. To boot, 70 influencers with a combined reach of 19 million followers, and 45 media outlets with a potential audience of 178 million, were in attendance and documented the event. Ashley also garnered 10,000 new leads through its sweepstakes efforts.

To keep the momentum going, Ashley on July 21 will host the Ashley Sleep Bed & Breakfast in Atlanta at Terminus 330 to launch its new mattress brand. Attendees will be educated on the benefits of a good night’s sleep, while Ashley furniture and accessories will be brought in to create inviting and restful sleep environments. Engagements will include a DIY face mask bar, a personalized sleep mask station, matcha lattes and, yes, even breakfast in bed.

Photo credit: Ashley Furniture

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