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Great Content Experiences Start With Giving Up Control [Content Marketing Examples]

This week, it’s all about experiences. Old Spice goes brick-and-mortar. Lexus goes digital. NASA goes to Mars. And all three do more than take their audiences along for the ride ­– they put them in power positions.

Your next haircut could be content for Old Spice

Men’s grooming brand Old Spice is opening its first barbershop next month. But for content marketers, that’s not the big news. This is: The barbershop also will be a content studio (and retail outlet and test lab) for the Procter & Gamble-owned brand.

: An image showing the new Old Spice barbershop. The front desk is shaped like a boat, Old Spice ad images on the wall, and barbershop chairs fill the retail space.

Image source

The studio will produce digital and social media content in real-time. Some of the content will come from tutorials created by celebrity barbers (with high-profile clients) participating in a residency program at the Columbus, Ohio, location – near The Ohio State University.

WHY IT MATTERS: Experiential marketing offers opportunities for brands to connect with people in real life –– so it goes a long way to fostering long-term relationships with an audience. Old Spice smartly combines the barbershop with a content studio so its audience (college-age males) can experience the brand – and become part of its content, too.

After all, if you’re going to have a celebrity stylist visit your barbershop, why not get even more from the visit by creating content from the event?

Old Spice plans to use the barbershop studio to create content not only for its own channels but also for retail partners like Walmart and Target to use on their channels.

HOW WE HEARD ABOUT IT: We saw the news in the Columbus Dispatch, then dug into the details via this Media Post article featuring an interview with Leif Edgar, Old Spice hair team brand director.

.@ProcterGamble-owned @OldSpice smartly combines barbershop and #content studio – the college-age male clientele gets to experience the brand – and become part of its #ContentMarketing, too via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

Twitchers design the ultimate gaming car for Lexus

Lexus tapped the Twitch community to design a new vehicle. On a January livestream hosted by popular Twitch streamer Fuslie, more than 550,000 viewers gave their opinions on features ranging from the car’s exterior wrap to a custom controller. Fabrication experts then spent months building the car, dubbed Gamers’ IS, which Lexus describes as a “totally immersive gaming vehicle.”

Marketing Dive reports the event is tied to the marketing campaign for the Lexus IS, which targets the car to “people who are ‘all in’ on pursuing their passions.”

In the Twitch community-designed car, LED panels project programmable content onto the rear window. The trunk includes a custom-built gaming PC, and the passenger’s side includes an integrated gaming system with haptic feedback in the seat. Twitch voters opted for an interior look labeled Neon Tokyo.

Image source

Lexus told us this week there are no plans to manufacture the vehicle, which is based on the Lexus IS 350 F Sport.

WHY IT MATTERS: Brands should consider the growing opportunities to connect with the Twitch audience. In addition to Lexus, Capital One, LampsPlus, and other brands are getting involved on the non-gaming channels. And it makes sense given the growing audience on Twitch. Between January 2020 and 2021, concurrent viewers more than doubled – from 1.36 million to 2.9 million. (And over 80% of that audience is 34 or younger.)

HOW WE HEARD ABOUT IT: We pulled this news and some of the details in a great piece by Robert Williams in Marketing Dive.

.@Lexus and @Twitch pass the controls to gamers to design a “totally immersive gaming vehicle.” You won’t see it on the road, but you’ll learn something about creating #content experiences, via @marketingdive @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

NASA counts to 360 in Mars landing

Live coverage inside NASA during space launches is nothing new. After all, the world held its breath along with NASA personnel as the moon landing aired live on television in 1969. Last week, when the #CountdownToMars for Perseverance was only hours away, NASA went live on YouTube, offering a 360-degree view, live sound from inside the rooms, and a running commentary explaining what was happening.

More than 2 million people joined the interactive broadcast. Many took control of their own viewing experience, moving the camera to see what was happening in different parts of the room.

Missed it? You can watch it here. Don’t forget to play with the 360-degree tool in the upper left to see what’s around.

WHY IT MATTERS: The Mars landing is just cool. As for content marketing, the NASA example shows how brands can not only take viewers behind the scenes but let them take the controls of their experience. A master of ceremonies – i.e., a live narrator – takes the experience to the next level.

 HOW WE HEARD ABOUT IT: We’re fans of #CountdownToMars and found out how great NASA was at sharing the experience with the world.

Can’t get enough #CountdownToMars? Check out the 21st century #content experience @NASA designed – and what it teaches about #ContentMarketing via @NASAPersevere @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X
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 Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute