By Heather Burgess, Simpactful Senior Partner


In 1999, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore released The Experience Economy, in which they made the case that brands could connect with customers and secure their loyalty through richer, memorable experience by delivering incremental value through one or a combination of the 4Es:  Escapism, Education, Entertainment, and Esthetics. The book was quickly translated into 12 languages and sold millions of copies.

So, what has changed in nearly 25 years? Well, a lot.

We understand far more about human decision-making, the importance of easy, safe choices, and what brands and retailers can do to facilitate this for shoppers. Scientific understanding and applied research on the intersections of cognitive psychology, behavioral science, neuroscience, linguistics, robotics, and artificial intelligence to brand building continues to progress rapidly. We know that consumers make 95% of their decisions based on intuition using System 1 drivers like frequency and familiarity bias, brand salience and relevance. Brands build memorability through consistency over time and across touchpoints, and through embodied cognition – or the use of multiple senses.

We understand the importance of superior access and ease – in addition to functional and pricing value. Innovation that reduces effort or steps can obsolete old habits. Competition for retail distribution and support is fierce and the Omnichannel has emerged. Physical availability has been replaced by physical and digital availability. Brands that can help drive incremental store traffic and shopper loyalty are far more valuable to retailers than those that do not. The places and ways consumers can engage with brands has multiplied. Thanks to Amazon and Shopify, and their work to scale Retail and DTC eCommerce, as well as new payment tools, expanding fulfillment methodologies apps and social media, consumers can engage with brands more ways than ever before.

And managers continue to be challenged to deliver more with less and have more powerful marketing tools to achieve efficiency and elevated experiences. Big data, analytics capability, mobile consumer access, remote services, packaging, and manufacturing capability advancements are just some of the technologies that enable personalization multi-sensorial experiences at scale.

What does this mean for Experiences? Experiences can be a valuable way to generate short- and long-term ROI if we expand the principles of success and consider potential consumer/shopper value, as well as Brand and Retailer value. From a consumer and shopper standpoint, experiences can be powerful marketing tools by engaging more than one sense to drive deeper encoding, driving trial or delight by multiple consumer motivators and bringing to life the core equity value of brands in new and innovative ways. On the brand front, these experiences can drive brand awareness and availability in new ways, drive incremental penetration, and enable scale. They can create value through partnerships with Retailers by driving strategic imperatives, creating value for shoppers, and generating positive ROI for both brands and retailers. Programs that deliver the highest ROI will likely combine sources of value.

Here are a few case examples from brands that are raising the bar!

Avocados from Mexico (AFM) returned as a Super Bowl #56 advertiser with an omnichannel experience and awareness campaign designed to drive purchase intent and engagement, while establishing the brand’s new Goodness campaign. The Super Bowl is a key incremental purchase driver for both retailers and AFM alike. At the center of AFM’s digital activation was the “House of Goodness,” a virtual, avocado-themed home “hosted” by former NFL star, Drew Brees. The microsite experience dialed up entertainment, engagement and purchase ease – and connected various touchpoints. For example, the house’s 3D design and room layouts included Easter eggs to the TV campaign throughout. There, visitors took AR selfies with Brees, uncovered Drew’s favorite guacamole recipes, purchased avocados directly at various shoppable touchpoints, and accessed the brand’s Super Bowl spot ahead of the game. A social data-fueled “Goodness Meter” which measured the goodness AFM contributed to the internet in real-time. This year’s campaign also included a limited-time pop-up experience, in-store QR codes that linked to AFM’s website and a new partnership with eCommerce enablement platform MikMak.  The result? Average dwell time was 2:55 and the brand’s Super Blow spot received 3X the Tweets of the nearest competitor.


Pampers US X Tot Squad X Walmart – Leveraging an equity-building experience at scale to drive conversion and to create new value for parents puts this case over the top. As background, the Pampers brand has built world-class equity behind a promise to support baby’s development by enabling better sleep through superior wetness protection. In this 2022 partnership with Walmart, they took this one step further. With a purchase of $75 of Pampers products at Walmart, participating parents received a voucher for a 15-minute consultation with a sleep expert at Tot Squad, a fast-scaling parenting service and advice company.

Lays X 2022 FIFA World Cup – The US Lays team at Pepsi struck gold with this year’s Qatar FIFA World Cup sponsorship. The activation, which reinforced the brand’s equity as the popular, preferred flavor-forward snack for viewing parties, hit across Brand, Consumer and Customer needs through a holistic campaign that kicked off with a memorable and engaging “Soccer vs Football” debate spot featuring celebrity Payton Manning and David Beckham.  This drove traffic in-store to support the launch of 3 limited edition flavors that were showcased in Grocery retailers across the US as part of joint plans to drive traffic and baskets behind World Cup viewing moments and gatherings. On-bag QR codes and links through paid, owned and earned media gave consumers the opportunity to engage in the Pass-The-Ball digital program in which they played games and even won tickets to the games in Qatar (in-return for opt-on contact information, of course).

Simpactful offers experts in brand building, retail, and brand experiences, as well as simple frameworks and facilitated workshops to help teams generate ideas that can build brand and retail value at scale. Interested in learning more? Contact the Simpactful team today at or
925-234-6394. Visit