Experiential marketing at Kempenfest 2019

Experiential marketing at Kempenfest 2019

Experiential, Marketing BY Grace Fox-Revett and Victor Schmidlin February 25, 2020

Climbing to the top with Urban North at Kempenfest 2019

You’ve probably heard about experiential marketing, also known as live marketing. Simply put, it encompasses all variants of event marketing, street marketing, promotional marketing, guerrilla marketing and sampling - and whatever other buzzwords that are out there. Whichever way you describe it, it's a great way to encourage someone to test, try, or visualize anything by letting them experience it before they actually purchase.

The goal is to create an opportunity for consumers to interact with a brand without the feeling of a hard sell. The effort may help you collect leads or drive new sales, but the immediate goal is to create consideration, engagement with your brand, and brand recall.

Putting the experience in experiential marketing

When creating an experiential marketing plan, first you need to define your objectives: is your purpose to create an experience that will be shared on social media and create a viral splash? Is it to share your product with someone visiting a booth at an exhibition, walking down the street or shopping in a store, to invite them to try it?

Engaging a potential buyer with a delicious sample or exciting test-drive gives them access to something new, beneficial and intriguing. Since there’s no obligation associated with experimenting, buyers are more open to listening, tasting, and, eventually, purchasing. Or sometimes your goal is just to promote an idea or an attitude that aligns with your company values to create long-term branding.

In all cases, there's always an intentional after-taste: you can effectively educate your target audience about product attributes and help them relate to what your brand stands for, which assists them in making a confident decision to take action now, or later. Having a positive experience helps the buyer to connect with a brand emotionally and can create long-term memories. Which company wouldn't appreciate having this type of connection with their potential buyers?

Urban North meets Kempenfest

To generate awareness and give potential new homebuyers a positive experience that showcased the best of Barrie, PACE Developments introduced their Urban North community to festival-goers at Kempenfest 2019. Many visitors were from the GTA and we saw a unique opportunity to present Barrie as a fantastic place to call home.

Since the beginning, the campaign's strategy promoted living in this northern gem to the average GTA homebuyer currently struggling with unaffordable housing prices. The event was both successful and exciting, with impressive results.


Leading up to Ontario's biggest waterfront festival, featuring over 400 vendors, live music, a youth village, midway, antiques, food and hundreds of thousands of visitors, Urban North made their presence known. The community was featured in an array of social media and print ads from May 2019 to August 2019, alerting everyone that something special was coming soon.

At Kempenfest, the Urban North booth was a fun place to be and was frequented by many guests. The main attraction at the site was a tall rock climbing wall that could be seen from anywhere along the lakeshore. It was intentionally chosen as the main activity of the booth because it tied perfectly with the active type of person that could consider moving to Barrie.

For example, Gen Xers with young children took a break from walking around in the hot sun to let their kids safely play on the supervised rock climbing wall while they learned about this cool, new community being built nearby. There were also plenty of millennial climbers — the exact target market looking for an affordable starter home in a location where they can be close to the outdoors. As a bonus, all participants were given a branded Urban North backpack, furthering brand awareness during the festival.

A converted shipping container was used as an on-location presentation centre that featured a place to sit, Urban North sales materials and interactive touchscreens filled with information about the community. This contemporary and trendy design was outfitted with furniture and fixtures that reflect the community’s overall aesthetic, bringing a modern and urban appeal to those who don't know Barrie.

Urban North branding, with its bright colours and angular visual elements, could be seen across the booth in the form of flags, staff t-shirts, signs, and gifts for visitors. This interactive experience encouraged guests to learn more about the neighbourhood, available townhome options and the community’s attractive location steps away from the Barrie South GO Station.

Visitors could also take a brochure home with them to continue the process and eventually visit the Presentation Centre. There was also an exciting opportunity to win 1 of 2 kayaks.




The rewards of experiential marketing for Urban North at Kempenfest

Choosing to meet potential homebuyers at an outdoor waterfront festival might seem counterintuitive, but it's the perfect place to make an example of the community life you're selling. When a guest climbed the rock wall, they were positioned at a unique vantage point to see beautiful Barrie from above. Once on the ground, they were educated about this wonderful city that’s close to lakes, beaches and resorts while also being a 90-minute train ride to downtown Toronto.

Not everyone who attends Kempenfest is from Barrie. CTV News reports that 30% of festival-goers are from out-of-town, which presents a unique opportunity to sell this vibrant and growing city to people who wouldn't ordinarily stop here. Guests get to see the best parts of the community and ponder what it would be like to live in a place that was this fun all of the time. Then, they visit the Urban North booth and discover that not only is it fun, but it's also affordable.

Reaching buyers in-person and showing them Urban North without the pressure of immediately purchasing allowed guests to have a good time learning without feeling obligated to do anything in return.

However, when they got home and found the Urban North backpack they had fun winning or the flyer they took with them, there was a good chance they'd remember how awesome Barrie was as a living option and consider Urban North for their forever home.

And it worked!

From May 2019 to September 2019, Urban North led in home sales in Ontario. Also, the campaign was so well received that Urban North Townhomes ranked 4th in 2019 YTD sales overall in the GTA.

Today, Urban North is a multi-award winning community that is still in the process of delivering new releases and stunning designs. We can't wait to share what they do next! We're proud to work with a company that's dedicated to delivering a well-thought-out and well-targeted community, excellence in construction and building beautiful, affordable housing for the next generation.