Guest post from Sylvie Calman, Kite Hill PR Account Manager
Kite Hill PR recently explored Refinery29’s third annual 29Rooms. As a specialist agency, that focuses on working with traditional and new media companies as clients, we loved seeing how media leaders like Refinery29 leverage interactive events and experiences to connect with their readers. 29Rooms was a truly engaging and interactive experience that brought brands to life for consumers and that left us with more than a few thoughts, and some nail polish! A win/win for these PR pros.
Firstly, it’s important to note the timing of this event, which helps paint a picture of why this experience can be effective for brands. For three years now, 29Rooms has taken place during NY Fashion Week, and has been strategically timed to provide brands with an alternative way to break through during the often cluttered week of runway shows and parties. Not only does this give brands direct access to consumers, it creates a personal and exclusive feeling for those who might not be able to participate in Fashion Week (but want to).
The experience welcomes you with a step-and-repeat - already encouraging visitors to snap selfies and share as they explore. This year’s theme was “Turn it into Art” - with both established and emerging artists and partners including Jake Gyllenhaal, Planned Parenthood, Women’s March, Maisie Cousins and Emma Roberts’ book community Belletrist to name a few, creating rooms aimed to . There were, of course, leading brands sponsors including Casper, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dyson, Juicy Couture, Clarins, Ulta Beauty and Cadillac participating and pushing consumer engagement boundaries.
As a digital media site aimed to serve the needs of millennial women, we felt 29Rooms struck the perfect balance of controversy, education and inspiration. Artists and brands used these rooms to talk with their consumers, rather than at them. This opened the door for consumers to interact with their favorite brands and create a memorable experience they could share across social.
We particularly loved Dunkin’ Donuts room appropriately titled, “Behind the Flavor”, where the coffee brand created a “Dunkin’ at home” experience where consumers could explore and taste test new flavor options and vote for the brands’ next flavor release. In a digital and social environment, it’s crucial for brands to be a part of the larger conversations consumers are taking a part in, and vice versa. Connecting with consumers is so important in this age of ad-blocking, if brands are not having open dialogue with consumers they are missing out on major opportunities. Storytelling is an essential component to any brand’s marketing strategy and 29Rooms was perfectly executed for brands to take their message directly to consumers and further, to inspire action.
Definitely a worthwhile experience for Kite Hill PR, one leaving us motivated and excited for the next level of experiential marketing!