In a world defined by multiple identities and an intricate web of communities, the concept of locality is seeking to carve out its space in the hierarchy of individual priorities. From a branding perspective, contributing to the resurging trend of locality strikes a harmonious balance between corporate responsibility and impactful advertising. In this article, we delve into the world of communities that graciously host traveling exhibitions and, in return, receive a meaningful experience that conveys a brand’s values in the most tangible and resonant way possible.
Ambulances turned restaurants: A marketing miracle
When the word “ambulance” is mentioned, it often conjures images of emergency situations, mental strain, and tragic events. The unmistakable wail of sirens has left a lasting imprint on our collective memory. However, what if the vehicle most closely associated with such somber moments could undergo a remarkable transformation into… a restaurant?
This audacious concept became a reality thanks to Unilever, as part of a brilliant campaign launched in the UK roughly a decade ago. The campaign was a direct response to Health Minister Andrew Lansley’s plea to reduce the daily caloric intake in the country by five billion calories. Unilever introduced the “Ambo-Lunch,” an ambulance ingeniously converted into a mobile restaurant. In this innovative venture, residents were invited to savor two visually identical dishes—one regular and the other calorie-reduced. Diners faced the intriguing challenge of discerning which dish was the standard one.
This “test” served a dual purpose: to challenge preconceived notions about any perceivable difference between the dishes, despite the calorie reduction, and to establish a symbolic link between calorie-rich food and its potential health consequences, akin to illness or even mortality. Unilever’s dedication extended beyond this campaign, as they also equipped chefs with the tools and knowledge needed to reduce calories in their culinary creations.
This remarkable example showcases a marketing exhibition platform that travels between communities, maintaining a dialogue while conveying positive and constructive messages. The brand doesn’t shy away from direct engagement with its target audience while promoting important and beneficial goals. While many advertising agencies might opt for digital campaigns, Unilever chose physical presence, a testament to the enduring value of face-to-face interactions in the digital age.
Traveling exhibitions: A circus of values
Traveling exhibitions have an interesting similarity to a circus, marked by their constant moving and interactions with a diverse, ever-changing audience. Nevertheless, both demand unwavering excellence at every juncture. Take, for instance, Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Camp,” a monumental undertaking in the Eurasian region, with a primary focus on Turkey during the mid-2000s. The Happiness Camp epitomized Coca-Cola’s core values of sustainability, sharing, and an active lifestyle in a profoundly immersive manner.
This roving camp was an impressive logistical feat, transported by a fleet of 20 trucks and assembled as an expansive tent complex spanning over an acre at each location. It remained stationed in place for several weeks before embarking on its journey to the next destination. Within this sprawling tent complex, visitors were invited to immersive and interactive exhibits that conveyed the brand’s fundamental messages. However, the crucial points were the stations where visitors could actively participate and share their perspectives. These included a radio station and a news and social media studio, providing platforms for individuals to express their views on sustainability, recycling, and healthy living.
According to Yaron Meiri, the artistic advisor behind the exhibition: “The primary goal of the Happiness Camp was to underline that Coca-Cola was not merely a beverage company but a harbinger of values dedicated to spreading happiness. The mobility of the exhibition was directly linked to the messages the company aimed to communicate with the diverse audiences it sought to engage. Furthermore, the creation of platforms within the complex itself for visitors to voice their thoughts was pivotal. As Meiri puts it, “Visitors arrived seeking an experience, but they also yearned to leave a part of themselves within the exhibition, contributing their personal insights and wisdom.”
Connecting the dots
The two case studies discussed in this article underscore the substantial impact of marketing strategy centered around traveling exhibitions with a focus on important value-based topics. These exhibitions establish relationships akin to hosting, fostering an engaging dialogue where a brand with a strong value system endeavors to convey crucial messages while genuinely listening to its audience.
Face-to-face interactions, investments in advanced storytelling methods, and creative thinking to maximize visitor experiences all make traveling exhibitions a vital and indispensable tool for any brand or company aspiring to be a force of influence and change. These exhibitions bridge the gap between brands and communities, fostering dialogue, and creating memorable experiences that resonate deeply with audiences. In a world characterized by constant change and complexity, the power of these traveling exhibitions lies in their ability to speak to local communities at eye level, forging lasting connections that transcend the boundaries of traditional advertising.