Refinery29 Takes Experiential Marketing To Another Level

Refinery29 Takes Experiential Marketing To Another Level

29Rooms, which took place at the start of New York Fashion Week, showcased brands in an experience that caters to all the senses

On Instagram, Refinery29 declares its “aim to create a world in which women feel, see, and claim their power.” The company’s immersive exhibition 29Rooms, now in its third year, celebrates its audience of young women, the brands that cater to them and the creatives that speak to them. 20,000 people passed through the four-day event, which took place during New York Fashion Week and centered around the theme ‘Turn It Into Art.’

29 interactive “rooms” showcased different experiences. Once you stepped into the venue—a former warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—it’s was hard to know where to begin in such an expansive space. However, visitors quickly learned that each room is highly interactive and meant to be explored.

Refinery29 partnered with several brands to get their products and identities to shine in creative ways. There were some straightforward exhibits, like a mural from Casper, which contained 150 pillows for people to play on and pose for photos. On the more expansive side, Juicy Couture’s Glacé Getaway allowed visitors to imagine a vacation in the tropics, with a large snow globe in the middle of the room making them part of the souvenir. Viva La Juicy samples were available in a basket. Dunkin’ Donuts also gave guests the opportunity to try out newly created coffee flavors, and then vote for a favorite to determine what will be the next Dunkin’ Donuts Bakery Series release. Aldo’s Love Walk got guests to walk down a flashy runway decorated with different shoe styles from the brand.

Juicy Couture’s Glacé Getaway at 29Rooms in Brooklyn. Photo: Refinery29

“29Rooms has set the bar for a new era of live social storytelling, and this is our most ambitious event to date. In our increasingly plugged-in world, people crave unique experiences that engage them IRL while simultaneously fueling content creation for their digital lives,” Refinery29 co-founder and Executive Creative Director Piera Gelardi said. “This year is full of thought-provoking creative moments: from a punching bag symphony that channels aggression into music, to a laughter-fueled car wash that evokes the transformative power of humor. Guests will explore a range of installations showcasing how art can inspire and spark action, and we are incredibly proud to be working with such game-changing talent and partners to bring it to life.”

Refinery29 also partnered with Snap Inc. to allow guests to rent Spectacles to record and post Snapchats hands-free within the installation. This made it easy for guests to record their firsthand experience and share it, giving brands more exposure and a glimpse of the exhibition to people who could not attend. It also gave people a chance to decide if they want to purchase a pair of Spectacles for themselves.

Refinery29’s brand partnerships brought to life a few imaginative reflections of their identities. Although visitors were undoubtedly aware of all the advertising that was going on, they could also get lost in having fun within different experiences while seeing a more innovative take on marketing. At times, it genuinely felt like a fun playhouse full of art.

The Love Walk by Aldo at 29Rooms. Photo: Refinery29

Beyond the brands, Refinery29 gave artists the opportunity to show their work and inspire visitors. Korean contemporary artist Jee Young Lee created a seascape portrait out of room filled with New York City trash to comment on pollution. For one piece, guests were able to choose their own paints and paintbrushes to create a piece of work as a form of healing while another asked people to write down their dreams, which singer Katrina Cunningham then turned into a live song.

All of these exhibits emphasized creativity and curiosity. Perhaps most importantly of all, the whole exhibition was a celebration of women. One room contained hand painted punching bags by illustrator Jen Mussari that allowed guests to put on some gloves and box to the beat of a song, “The Future Is Female,” while another was a collaboration with the Women’s March that offered postcards for guests to fill out and send a message to their local representatives. 29Rooms made it clear that Refinery29 knows its audience in more ways than one.



via PSFK