One may think that being locked up is just a thing of nightmares, well now it’s the brand new cool. Sweeping en-vogue industry events including the South By Southwest (SXSW) Conference, the Escape Room is the attraction getting everyone talking. And it’s not just the participants, because this newfangled love of immersive experience is opening a home to innovative marketing opportunities, too.

What exactly is definitely an Escape Room? You might ask. Picture this – you are in a locked room. You’ve a couple of random clues and you don’t know how to get out. You might think that is merely another plot from one of many Saw film franchises but it is certainly the makings of an Escape Room experience. This ‘craze’ involves an organization of up to 12 players – according to where you book – who have to make use of physical and mental agility to unlock door after door, moving from room to room frantically figuring out cryptic clues. The catch? You’ve just 60 minutes to break free.

Obviously this isn’t a new concept but after years of virtual reality parading whilst the cool government on the planet of immersive experiences, escape rooms have now been confidently working through the experiential ranks to take the title of legitimately ‘wow’ ;.And in addition, sharp marketers have tracked this and are now actually finding innovative ways to increase the contact with the experience. The ‘tie-in’ style of marketing agreement seems to be the ruling formula for this.

Famous examples currently include Disney hosting a pop-up escape experience connected with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Escape Game in Austin Texas (America’s hottest escape experience) being absorbed by FOX over time for the launch of a new group of Prison Break, and HBO setting up a multi-room installation themed around Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley. Smart.

Although this style of marketing is also nothing new by itself, what makes it successful is that the merchandise marry perfectly with the ability, and we realize that consumers are, significantly more than ever, compelled to pay their money on ‘doing’ as opposed to through traditional advertising methods, i.e. simply ‘watching’ ;.

This trend can be linked back again to the world of game titles and eSports. Marketers would launch games then host ‘real world’ experiences: events, competitions and interactions that complimented the gameplay and made it tangible. That is where clever partnering and collaboration comes in. The perfect partnership here will be founded on a mutually beneficial commercial relationship where in fact the escape room company and the IP (or copyright) owners come together to garner maximum exposure and expand the consumer base, prompting a ‘win: win’ arrangement.

Escape 60 in Brazil pulled off a blinding example of this in 2015 when they linked up with Ubisoft, the creators of fantasy behemoth Assassin’s Creed, to get in front of the game and create an escape room orchestrated across the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. America’s Escape Game, Marriott Vacations Worldwide and Vistana Signature Experiences also collaborated to bring the worlds of hospitality and entertainment together, that is now a growing trend. Alex Reece, CEO of America’s Escape Game, commented in a interview at the time (October 2016), “We see a very bright future of incorporating escape rooms powered by America’s Escape Game in multiple Vistana locations in the coming months and years. There’s without doubt this powerful alliance provides the exploding escape room experience to many enthusiasts throughout the world.”

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