Another great Super Bowl for brands - will they be measuring the return on experience?

The scale of the advertising and marketing activity around the Super Bowl has long been on another level compared with any other event and Super Bowl LII was no different. Advertising slots during the game cost a reported $5million and brands have been activating for up to two weeks in the host city of Minnesota.  

There’s always some fantastic, creative ideas on show and often a little bit of controversy too.

Here’s just some of the campaigns that caught my eye this year:

1. Nickelodeon linking up with the NFL’s Play 60 campaign.

2500 children had the chance to roam around sponsored booths at the Super Bowl experience, ‘slime’ some famous sporting volunteers and enjoy YouTube sensation Jojo Siwa live in concert. It was one of the biggest activations at the Super Bowl experience, certainly the biggest children’s brand. The NFL tie-up also gave the organisation a great opportunity to appeal to their prospective players, when child participation is falling amid concerns around head injuries.

2. Built Ford Tough sleigh ride

Ford took advantage of the Super Bowl’s northerly home this year by offering free sleigh rides behind a range of their trucks through the streets of downtown Minneapolis. Add to that was the attraction of the appearance of a range of footballing legends and chances to win season passes for fans’ favourite teams.

 Build Ford Tough sleigh ride in Minnesota. Image from the Ford Media Centre

Build Ford Tough sleigh ride in Minnesota. Image from the Ford Media Centre

3. Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels

Hyundai chose to focus their advertising and experiential activities on their charitable arm – ‘Hope on Wheels’ which supports the treatment and research into childhood cancer. Hyundai transformed metal detectors into “hope detectors,” which flashed a red heart when Hyundai owners (identified by their branded car keys) passed through the detectors. They were then pulled aside and shown a version of the brand’s new Super Bowl spot in private, followed by an emotional surprise meeting with some people helped by the car firms’ charity. Watch it unfold on the NFL site. 

Three very different activities with different audiences, but now that they’re over, there’s one thing all brands and agencies will be looking at - what was the impact?  Long term goals must surely be more customers and increased loyalty from existing customers and that can only be measured over time.

But as budgets for experiential activity increase calculating the return on experience becomes more and more important. Social media activity is a huge factor; reach and engagement across the key channels is an important measure of whether an activation has resonated.  

For immediate analysis, we capture data to show how many people saw an activity, how many stopped to engage, how long for, and now with our facial recognition system we can monitor their sentiment too. We work with brands and agencies on a range of sporting events including football (the English kind), tennis, and motorsports, helping them to evaluate if their expenditure is making an impact and if there are ways to improve results. 

Millions of dollars have been spent in the last two weeks trying to catch the eye of Super Bowl fans, we’d love to know who was the champion of engagement in Minnesota.

The rise and rise of experiential marketing

What an amazing year 2017 has been for us and the experiential industry. We’re delighted that brands have really started to see the importance and value of measuring experiential activity. Experiential marketing spend continues to grow as a proportion of overall budgets and we expect that trend to continue in 2018. We’re looking forward to working with more and more people to evaluate their activity and to help them calculate return on experience. 

Two major launches have really improved the service we can offer to brands and experiential agencies. Our Aperture system means that as well as monitoring footfall, engagement levels of passers-by and dwell time; we can now evaluate the demographics and sentiment of those who do engage.  With the introduction of our 4G battery sensors, Exposure Analytics is now available, any time, anywhere - no need for power or internet. 

In total we’ve helped clients to analyse 330 events this year, nearly one a day with a the last one just finishing. One of the biggest events we worked on this year, particularly in terms of the size of the area covered, was the Goodwood Festival of Speed, providing site-wide analytics for organisers and sponsors.

Continuing the racing theme we’ve also been measuring at the British Superbikes Championship around the country, as well as England football home internationals, and the ATP Tour finals.  Our work with the majority of major motor manufacturers continues and we attended motor shows in Geneva, Frankfurt, Los Angeles and New York. 

Once again Event Tech Live was a highlight of the year, we had a fantastic day showcasing Aperture, meeting old friends and making new connections. Whilst we were disappointed not to win an award, the Event Tech Awards was a fun evening. We’re already looking forward to 2018’s event and award ceremony. 

We hope you’ve had a successful 2017 too and are looking forward to 2018.

Time to Stop Guessing and Start Measuring. 

What are your resolutions for 2018?  If you work in marketing, events, exhibitions or for an agency, you know measuring and evaluating is vital.  You want to get the most return for your spend so the right data is going to be crucial.  We’d love to help you do that, so why not resolve to get in touch and see how we can support you?  


Our recent video explains how we work and what we can analyse 

For us, 2018 promises to be another exciting year.  Over the coming months we’ll be further developing the Exposure Analytics platform so that it’s constantly improving and evolving, meaning we can provide more services and data to clients. 

We’re already starting to get booked up for next year, including a health conference in Dubai in January.  We’re also talking to vaping brands, a global retail chain and a US ferry company. We already work with a number of resellers and are looking for more around the world to help us to meet demand.

Our team is growing too, earlier in 2017 we were joined by Matt, and from January Robin will be starting as a hardware support engineer.

We’ve been working on events, exhibitions, festivals and more for the last few years, but we’re expecting to work on more evaluation for experiential retail in 2018.  Digital retailers are getting involved in experiential retail

Companies such as Birchbox and even Amazon are investing in a physical presence. Nike are changing their strategy and working closely with just 40 retailers that are prepared to have unique and dedicated Nike spaces within their store environments.

We love the creativity and innovation in the experiential industry, there’s been some fantastic examples this year. We’re sure 2018 will continue the trend of fabulous ideas, creative experiences, and even more emphasis on evaluating the impact. We look forward to working with more and more retailers, brands and agencies to help them prove their ideas are generating results.

Stop Guessing Start Measuring

What a fantastic day we had at Event Tech Live, we barely had a moment when we weren’t incredibly busy on our stand! It is always good to catch up with familiar faces and meet new event professionals. 

Thanks to all of you who entered our draw for an Apple Watch, the winner was Ben Cole of Inspired. the guesses we had ranged from 100 to 5000. The correct total was 623, showing just how important it is to measure rather than guess.

As we suspected everyone was very curious about our new Aperture technology, and attendees were fascinated by our system’s ability to tell gender, sentiment and age bracket of those who engaged with our stand.

Our new video which explains Exposure Analytics was also popular


Since Event Tech Live we’ve been following up, taking calls, and replying to all your queries, and issuing quotes, so thank you to everyone who has been in touch. 

We’ve also been out and about measuring for clients. We’ve worked at the ATP Tour Finals, covered both England games for one of the sponsors - I think analysing the data was more exciting than watching the games!  Further afield our technology was in action at the ADIPEC helping one of the participants to evaluate their involvement. 

If you want to stop guessing and start measuring, please get in touch to find out more about how we can help.

The vital data some automotive marketing managers are missing

Marketing budgets aren’t limitless and calculating return on investment is a key part of any marketing strategy.  We’re all used to great digital analytics when we run online campaigns, but what about physical events. In the past there has been a real gap in accurate reporting figures for motor shows, activations and event sponsorship.  Despite the millions of pounds spent by automotive brands on these activities each year, much of the evaluation has relied on anecdotal feedback.

We’re now working with many of the major car companies, and the list is growing all the time. We help them to evaluate their off-line marketing activities.  One of the main reasons they use us is the quality of the data and the valuable insights we can provide them with.


Stop Guessing - Start Measuring

Exposure Analytics from Forge SP offers digital analytics for physical events.  A consistent reliable way to measure your experiential activity. 

We can help you to understand how many people visit your exhibition stands or activations, how many are tempted to engage with the stand’s features and which parts of the exhibition or activities they like best. 

 Sometimes exhibitors want to know what proportion of visitors are new or returning. Exposure Analytics makes it easy to compare. 

Sometimes exhibitors want to know what proportion of visitors are new or returning. Exposure Analytics makes it easy to compare. 

Our unobtrusive sensors pick up mobile devices as people get close to your stand. We’ll capture how many of them there are, the percentage who walked past and those who stopped, how long they stayed around for and what most attracted their attention. 

We’ll work with you to analyse that data and assess the impact of your activity. As well as the raw figures, we can produce heat maps to reveal popular areas, flow charts to show how people moved around, make comparisons from one day to the next, or year on year for repeat events.  Our clients use the data we provide to make key decisions for example, which shopping centres to revisit and which to cut from their list. One motor manufacturer redesigned their stand between motor shows based on our analysis of how people interacted. 

 Each colour represents a different sensor. It is easy to compare different parts of a stand for their respective popularity and engagement rates over a period of several days. 

Each colour represents a different sensor. It is easy to compare different parts of a stand for their respective popularity and engagement rates over a period of several days. 


Experiential Marketing is on the rise

Automotive brands aren’t alone in the move towards experiential. There has been a huge increase in the amount of marketing budget allocated to these activities recently.  One survey found that marketers expect to allocate up to 50 percent of their budgets for brand experience. Another that, while overall ad spend is dropping, there will be an estimated 11% average increase in experiential marketing budgets for 2017

Even more traditional retailers like John Lewis are changing the way they market their products. This year they hired their first-ever manager of brand experience for their new Oxford store.  

But as with all other marketing activity you need to be able to evaluate and try to calculate a return on investment.  As marketing changes so do the tools to measure and monitor. As well as the standard figures and charts we provide from Exposure Analytics we can also add more value.   By using our sensors at a shopping centre or event and in a dealership we can help you to determine what percentage of showroom visitors have seen your previous activity - (this is anonymised, we don’t know who they are, our sensors recognise the device). 

There’s also our new Aperture system which builds on Exposure to reveal not just numbers but sentiment and demographics too. Our system uses face recognition software to identify a fascinating range of information about people visiting stands. 

We use camera sensors behind a communications medium that can pick up the attention and dwell time from individual visitors. Such is the power of the system, it can tell a person’s gender and age in 96 out of 100 visitors and can even pick up their sentiment. All this of course without gathering any personally identifiable information. So you’ll know not only how many people stopped to have a closer look, but how they felt and whether they fit your target demographic. 

With ever increasing amounts being spent on experiential marketing, can you afford not to properly evaluate the return on investment?

If you’re still guessing, talk to us about how you can start measuring.  


We're recruiting - Network and hardware support specialist required

Who are you?

Are you in interested in the application of the Internet of Things in real-life scenarios? Do you have a strong grasp of routing, switching and networking? Do you have experience of the events industry? Are you analytical and a great problem solver?

What we need.

We are looking for a networking and hardware support specialist to join our established and rapidly-growing startup, providing analytics for events and retail locations. We're looking for someone who can support, maintain and develop our existing smart technology portfolio, such as facial recognition cameras and WiFi traffic detection sensors.

What you will be doing?

Key tasks will be:
-Management and maintenance of hardware inventory
-Monitor the health of deployed devices and respond to event alarms
-Remotely assist device installers at events with networking issues
-Provide occasional assistance on-site at events (e.g. help with sensor installation)
-Work alongside our development team to help develop existing hardware and integrate new hardware
-Ongoing research into emerging technologies that could be useful to the business

Skills and Experience needed:

-Demonstrable hands on network experience
-Strong grasp of TCP/IP, routing, switching, cabling and internet protocols
-Experience in Linux / Unix
-Proficiency in bash scripting
-Good customer service skills
-Flexibility to occasionally work on-site at events (may include weekends and international travel)
-A team player with a great sense of humour
-Willingness to learn and develop your skill set

It's desirable if you have:
-Experience of the events industry
-Experience of embedded hardware
-CCNA, CWNA or equivalent qualification
-Understanding and experience of Ansible, Docker
-Experience of OpenWRT
-An understanding of wireless networking (802.11 / RF)

We are offering.

A competitive salary based on experience. You will be given a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 7 upon starting. 
Most of all, 'company fit' is a big thing for us - the ideal candidate will be able to speak passionately about new technologies, have their own ideas and be happy to head up their own projects. You will be based in Portsmouth and we like to make the most of the city we live and work in, often deciding to work in various coffee shops and bars as and when the need arises! Have a dog and need to work from home occasionally? Absolutely fine! We aim to give a great work life balance when we can in return for those extra hours you may have to put in occasionally. 

Sound good to you?

Email, attach an up to date CV, and covering letter telling us why you think this is the job for you.