From bikes to cars to planes: 3 of the best brand activations in the transportation industry

By Kim Storer

Experiential marketing has grown far beyond handing out free samples and coupons at the supermarket. Going still bigger than pop-up bars, spin-to-win, and cake in the shape of products, here are three of my favourite experiential marketing campaigns, the first of which proves that there is no better way to encourage people to remember your brand than by sitting them front and center… on your brand!

1. Harley Davidson managed to convince nearly 60% of the residents of Ryder, North Dakota to get a motorbike licence and learn how to ride a Harley. Ok, so the population of Ryder is only 85 but to get 50 people to show up means that the only people who didn’t join in on the experience were people who couldn’t legally (kids are too young!) or physically ride a motorbike. That shows the true power of a well-known and highly respected brand. The hype was so huge that thousands of bikers showed up in the tiny town in the weeks surrounding the event, some of them simply to take pictures with the water tower that was repainted to match the original Harley Davidson water tower.

2. Xfinity scared the bejesus out of several Fast and Furious superfans by pranking them with a screaming, crashing, joy ride through doors, buildings, and explosions thanks to some talented stunt driver plants. No, it turns out those lucky winners weren’t there to simply look at the cool cars and watch a preview of the movie! Not only will those fans (who were very carefully and quietly vetted to make sure they wouldn’t react negatively to the gag) never forget the experience, their friends and family will never forget hearing about it. And, viewers of the commercial love the shock and fear on the fans’ faces as is evidenced by the commercial’s huge positive scores. Measuring the success of this marketing campaign proved it was money well spent.

3. Changi Airport in Singapore announced the first Asian stop for the All-Nippon Airways plane outside of Japan with a full on tribute to the Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Playing on the theme of traveling to new, amazing places, they unveiled a Dreamliner painted like R2-D2, a life-sized X-wing fighter in one of the terminals, a TIE fighter in another terminal, a full on cosplay storm trooper parade, and provided costumes for people to take photos inside the X-wing. What was the ROI on this impressive investment? Only ANA knows but it certainly played into their reputation as a destination airport with plenty of entertainment for travelers needing to pass the time while waiting for flights.

Though every brand may not have the same huge budget that these did, every brand can create a wonderful sense of surprise and delight among their existing and potential customers with some careful thought. And make sure you identify some key success measures along the way so you can determine whether the ROI was worth it.

If you need help measuring their ROI of your experiential marketing, please get in touch with us!

Kim is the Field Director at
Canadian Viewpoint. She is the person who makes it all happen, from getting interviewers on the phone, to someone’s front door, and in the shopping mall. And, she makes sure consumers receive products in perfect shape for taste tastes, home tests, and any other kind of test our clients can imagine! Kim enjoys dinner with friends, traveling with her family, and taking her sweet pup for long walks.


Canadian Viewpoint is a one-stop market research data collection and fieldwork company. For over 40 years, we have been trusted by clients ranging from global Fortune 500 companies to local, boutique market, social, and academic research firms and offering top-quality solutions for offline, online, qualitative, and quantitative fieldwork. We specialize in providing high-quality solutions for offlineonline, qualitative, and quantitative fieldwork. As long-term members of the Insights Association, accredited members of the Canadian Research and Insights Council (CRIC), and corporate members of ESOMAR, we uphold the highest industry standards. Our diverse range of services includes sampleprogramming and hostingmall interceptscentral location recruitmentmystery shoppingin-home usage tests (IHUTS)sensory testingshelf testingcomputer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI)Facial Coding, and other cutting-edge technologies. Explore our website to learn more about our offerings and access our demo site to experience our tools firsthand.

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