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Market Voice 11 May 2021 - 3 min read

Hard times lead to creative and cultural revolutions: Here’s what’s coming

By Paul MacGregor - Director of Strategy & Marketing - Val Morgan Group | Partner Content

After the cultural famine of 2020 comes a feast. Audiences are begging to be entertained, making 2021 the year of social experiences.

After the cultural famine of 2020 comes a feast. Audiences are begging to be entertained, making 2021 the year of social experiences. Marketers who recognise this and use branded experiences as advertising vehicles are coming out as the real winners. Aussie, The Star and TikTok get it. Who’s next?

Hard times lead to creative and cultural revolutions. How do we know? History tells us. The darkness of the middle ages led to the Renaissance. Post War and The Great Depression catapulted artistry and led to The Golden Age of Hollywood. The Cold War spurred on the globalisation of pop culture.

COVID 19 created mass separation, socialising was cancelled. From restaurants to concerts, footy games and house parties, no social experiences have been left unaffected. While technology did an incredible job of keeping us connected, it could never replace the feeling of actually being together physically. FaceTime with friends never replaced the connection we feel when we experience something together, IRL. 

And if history tell us anything, this social starvation means we are on the cusp – or perhaps already in the midst – of a new cultural revolution. What does it look like?

In this time of pandemic recovery, we are craving the feeling of being social and being entertained with our friends and family. We want to be together once again. From movies to festivals, domestic travel to exhibitions, and more recently having a boogie on the dancefloor – Australia is back in business. And wherever people are, brands will follow.

Branded experiences are back, baby!

Yes, experiences have been around for ages. But here’s the rub, even though life has been fairly normal the last few months, social experiences remain somewhat of a novelty for us. That’s why 2021 is the year of social experiences and the brands that recognise this and use branded experiences as advertising vehicles are coming out as the real winners.

Cinema is the number one social experience and over the summer just gone, Val Morgan saw huge success with outdoor cinema experiences such as Moonlight Cinema, Mov’in Boat and Drive-In Cinemas. Moonlight Cinema has been an iconic Australian entertainment experience for 25 years now. Some would say it’s the ultimate summer event in the social calendar. It’s an experience like no other, bringing people together in a stunning open-air amphitheatre across five states.

Meanwhile, hosted in Darling Harbour, Mov’in Boat offered Sydneysiders a never-before-seen event in Australia – a floating cinema on the water, creating one of the most unique cinema experiences in the world. It’s innovative, it’s cool, it’s an experience people hear about and say to their friends: “Let’s book ASAP!”

Branded experience case studies

Moonlight Cinema

This year we welcomed a brand-new presenting partner onto Moonlight Cinema: Aussie. A cross-platform, all-encompassing partnership ensured Aussie branding was integrated across all stages of the consumer journey and beyond. From on-site integration, activations, consumer promotions, staff incentives, marketing integration and social amplification, Aussie truly owned the Moonlight Cinema experience.

The Star Mov’in Boat

As the named partner of the VIP Floating Bar and BYO Boat area at Mov’in Boat, The Star was aligned to some of the most exciting elements of an already unforgettable property. The exclusive VIP Bar featured a custom cocktail menu designed by The Star mixologists and the opportunity to have food delivered from their iconic restaurants. The massive structure housing the VIP Bar was fully branded with The Star’s logos and colours.

Meanwhile, TikTok’s Mov’in Boat partnership extended beyond the screen to all on-site branding and perhaps the most unique activation run on-site was the “Tik-Tok-atoo” – a massive inflatable cockatoo that sat alongside the floating pontoon, delighting cinemagoers and passers-by with its unmissable presence.

The power of cinema

Research proves the world of cinema offers attention like no other platformCinema has the power and unique ability to connect with audiences on a deeper level to leave a lasting impression, and that’s because cinema makes us feel something: happy, sad, fearful, hopeful. Emotion trumps rationality when it comes to purchasing decisions.

Brands who combine the power of experiences with the power of cinema, well, they are the ones who are at the forefront of the cultural and social revolution we’re experiencing.

The branded experience offers an escape from the norm, and a chance to enjoy something with friends and family while at the same time allowing the brand to develop a connection with consumers. It’s something we all need now, more than ever.


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