It’s worth being locked up! Escape Rooms: the new playground for marketers

One might think that being locked up is a thing of nightmares, well, now it’s the new thing. Major industry fashion events such as the South By Southwest Conference (SXSW), the Escape room It is the attraction that makes everyone speak. And it’s not just the participants, because this newfound love for the immersive experience is also opening the door to innovative marketing opportunities.

Exactly what it is year Escape Room? You can ask. Imagine this: you are in a locked room. You have some random clues and you have no idea how to get out. You might think this is just another plot from one of the saw movie franchises, but in fact they are the ingredients of a Escape room experience. This ‘madness’ involves a group of up to 12 players, depending on where you book, who have to use physical and mental agility to open door after door, moving from room to room frantically uncovering cryptic clues. The capture? You have only 60 minutes to free yourself.

Of course, this is not a new concept, but after years of VR parading as the cool big brother in the world of immersive experiences, Escape Rooms have been confidently working through the experimental ranges to legitimately take the title of. ‘wow’. Not surprisingly, marketers have followed this and are now finding innovative ways to maximize experience exposure. The “tie-in” style of the marketing agreement appears to be the dominant formula for this.

Famous examples to date include Disney hosting a pop-up escape experience linked to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The escape game in Austin Texas (America’s most popular escape experience) will be taken over by FOX in time for the launch of a new series of Prison Break, and HBO setting up a multi-room facility with the theme Game of Thrones, Veep, Y Silicon Valley. Smart.

While this style of marketing is nothing new in itself either, what makes it successful is that products marry perfectly with experience, and we know that consumers, more than ever, are being forced to spend their money on ‘making’ instead of the traditional ones. advertising methods, that is, simply “look”.

This trend can be linked to the world of video games and eSports. Marketers would launch games and then host ‘real world’ experiences – events, competitions and interactions that complemented the game and made it tangible. This is where smart partnerships and collaboration come in. The perfect partnership here would be based on a mutually beneficial business relationship where the escape room company and the owners of the intellectual property (or copyright) work together to gain maximum exposure and expand the customer base, leading to a “win: win” agreement.

Escape 60 in Brazil achieved a blinding example of this in 2015 when they teamed up with Ubisoft, the creators of the fantasy giant. Assassin’s Creed, to get ahead of the game and create an escape room orchestrated around the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. America’s Escape Game, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, and Vistana Signature Experiences also collaborated to bridge the worlds of hospitality and entertainment, which is now a growing trend. Alex Reece, CEO of America’s Escape Game, commented in an interview at the time (October 2016): “We see a very bright future as we add America’s Escape Game powered escape rooms at multiple Vistana locations in the coming months and years. There is no doubt that this powerful alliance will bring the explosive escape room experience to many enthusiasts around the world. “

Fast forward to 2017, and that same love of immersion fuels many of the elaborate marketing activations we see in escape rooms today. “I think immersion allows it to be more personal and personalized,” said Joanna Scholl, HBO’s vice president of marketing when quoted in an interview at this year’s SXSW conference. When asked about HBO: The Escape she commented, “Each person feels that they themselves are part of that experience, and it leaves a much more memorable note for them.”

Ryan Coan, founder of Creative Riff agency, the experiential marketers who were the creators of the Prison Break The escape room acquisition also commented at the same event: “Experiential marketing is special because it is a commitment. It is something that fans are choose to do. Fans are so obsessed with this content, so in love with these characters and their stories, that allowing them to step into that story and feel like they are a part of it, even for a moment, is something really special. experience.”

Design and innovation are at the forefront of this cunning marketing trend, as each room can have a different theme or level of difficulty where the clues will also be related to the theme of each room. The quality of the room has to be excellent and the immersion factor has to be in the foreground. The more participants feel like “part of that space,” the more lasting impact the experience will have. This means that the competition is fierce and marketers have to be sharper than ever to find that perfect ‘hook’. With that said, it doesn’t seem like this marketing method is slowing down, so keep an eye out for the next immersive escape room experience jumping off a screen near you soon!