Brand Activations Work, Here’s How

With in-person events making a comeback, brand activations are quickly returning to center stage. As a refresher, a brand activation is any campaign, event, or experience that enables your brand to engage directly with consumers and build a loyal brand community around your product or service. Activations, often inclusive and interactive, spark the conversation that will light the way for people to find your product and align with your purpose. A truly successful brand activation will incorporate strong strategycontent, and execution.

Before you see other organizations’ great examples, check out how we transformed Grand Central Station into a celebration of fuzzy ducks for Dawn.

Here are four recent examples of successful brand activations:

“Shaq’s Fun House” – FTX

An image of the brand activation Shaq's Fun House at FTX 

In anticipation of Super Bowl LVI, basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal hosted his sixth annual event Shaq’s Fun House. Described as a part carnival and part music festival event, the indoor-outdoor activation included a custom FTX Ferris wheel, including a QR code for guests to scan within the cabin and an 80-foot waterslide. But amongst the guests and Cirque Berzerk aerialist and performers roaming the grounds were brand activations from other sponsors. It included a Maker’s Mark human claw machine, a Pepsi speakeasy, Bud Light Seltzer bars and Papa John’s pizza joints. Between the bumper cars, arcade games and concert performances by Zedd, Lil Wayne and Diplo, it’s easy to see why this event continues to push for the ultimate house party before the big game.

“Doodles SXSW” – Doodles


With all the buzz generating around non-fungible tokens, or better known as NFTs, it still seemed to take people aback when the digital artwork came to life in Doodles’ brand activation at SXSW. Lines were around the block to experience the world of NFTs for themselves, and participants became fully immersed in the virtual community. Self-described as a universe of “joy and rainbow puke”, the installation included a virtual painting wall, interactive Doodle structures, a coffee bar featuring printed coffee art on Coffeedoods coffee (another Doodles venture), eat branded noodles (a shoutout to their new NFT collection) and even NFT nail art. Participants were encouraged to display their NFTs and purchase their products, through either purchasing from Doodles’ 10,000 collection of NFTs or their subscription NFT service including monthly shipments of CoffeeDoods coffee.

“Reacher Challenge” – Amazon Prime Video

An image of the Amazon Prime Video brand activation dedicated to their new series, Reacher A man punching a dummy at the Amazon Prime Video brand activation to promote their new series, Reacher.

Ever wanted to be in an action sequence? Amazon delivered exactly that experience in its promotion of the new thriller series “Reacher”. In the pop-up immersive event in Las Vegas and Atlanta earlier this year, participants engage in escape-room type challenges that the show’s lead character “Jack Reacher” will also face in the series. From escaping a holding cell to “punching a hitman”, contestants are faced with a final challenge of finding counterfeit money and sprinting to the red timer button at the finish line. Those who complete the course are rewarded with celebratory photo opportunities and a souvenir “Reacher Challenge” scorecard. Sports and action fans who participated in the event are now able to tune in to the Amazon series, watch the action sequences and tell their friends, “Oh, I totally did that.”

“Frontier Twosday” – Frontier Communications

An image of the outside of the Frontier Airlines brand activation called "Frontier Twosday"

Frontier took full advantage of momentous Tuesday 2/22/2022 to promote its new Fiber 2 Gig Wi-Fi. In a bright-red “Twosday” pop-up in downtown Venice CA, guests could try out the faster uploads, downloads and better quality the connection has to offer. To fully demonstrate what this could mean in a more physical interaction, participants were invited to out bike the speed of 2 Gig or have a VR experience smashing fruit to gather firsthand experience on the speed, clear graphics and lack of lagging. Prizes included SoulCycle at-home bikes, Oculus VRs, and Amazon Fire TVs and attendees also had the unique promotional offer of getting 2 months of 2 Gig for just $2. It was almost 2 much!

Activate your brand to activate your audience.

Brand activations are about coming to your audience and letting them know in a memorable way who you are and why they should support you. Ideally, it generates enthusiasm beyond the moment and leads to action on behalf of your consumers. It’s a matter of reaching the right audience in the right moment in a way that speaks to them.

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