Nestle Experiential Marketing Activation | Levitating Commuter





Nestle Experiential Marketing Activation

This was a really fun project to work on.  We were approached by Tribe experiential marketing agency, who on behalf of Nestle wanted to create a campaign where a commuter was levitating in the middle of Waterloo train station as part of their ‘Have you had your cereal lift’ campaign.

Levitating commuter
Nestle levitating commuter

The concept was to stop Londoners in their tracks on a dreary Wednesday morning, make them smile and receive a free sample of Nestle breakfast cereal whilst engaging and promoting the brand.

Kids eating cereal
Kids eating bowl of cereal

The initial vision that was put forward to us was to have a commuter who was static, floating in the air.  As with everything I do, I was asking myself the question of how can we make this better than simply being stationary?  The brand message was cereal LIFT!  Lift being the operative word!  So we set out to figure out how we could take the concept a step further and make the commuter actually levitate.  In the world of illusion there is a difference between levitation and floating static….floating whilst stationary is a suspension and levitation has motion.

Commuter
Commuter taking photo

The initial vision that was put forward to us was to have a commuter who was static, floating in the air.  As with everything I do, I was asking myself the question of how can we make this better than simply being stationary?  The brand message was cereal LIFT!  Lift being the operative word!  So we set out to figure out how we could take the concept a step further and make the commuter actually levitate.  In the world of illusion there is a difference between levitation and floating static….floating whilst stationary is a suspension and levitation has motion.

The levitation concept was initially quite a challenge as there would be people viewing and walking past from every conceivable angle.  Viewing from all sides including from above with the upper level in the train station.  So we had to come up with a solution to be able to create and install a levitation system that was angle proof that could be done in this challenging environment.

After spending considerable time brainstorming we came up with a method that would work and integrated it into a billboard that would also allow for the branding and messaging to be promoted in large format right next to where I would be levitating.  The team loved the concept and the process began, but not without constant challenges and obstacles along the way.

Lady looking up
Lady looking up at commuter levitating

The main challenge we experienced was H&S with TFL.  Initially the design and height was signed off as we got to work constructing the system.  Originally I was going to be standing and levitating whilst in the standing position.  However as fabrication was well under the way we got the call that we had to reduce the levitation height from 4m down to 3m as H&S at TFL were wrapping us up with red tape with safe working heights, etc!  My initial reaction was that this will completely reduce the impact the campaign would have as my feet wouldn’t be very high off the floor with a maximum height of 3m.

We and the Tribe team initially tried in vein to appease H&S concerns, but the box ticking wouldn’t allow us to be able to move forward.

So it was back to the drawing board with a deadline looming and a partially fabricated levitation that had to be halted.  We came up with the solution that I would be sat at a bench and then begin to levitate in a seated position which in turn would in itself create the illusion I was higher than I actually was.  Fabrication continued after many adjustments and we met the deadline and had a working system that looked great.

The day before the campaign we headed down to London to the set designers workshop where they built the billboard structure and together we pieced everything together.  Here we rehearsed everything before getting our heads down for a few hours as we had to be at Waterloo train station at 2am to begin the build.

Levitating commuter setup
Levitating commuter setup

There the build went smoothly and we were ready and raring to go to start levitating and grabbing people’s attention as they arrived into London.  The reception was really great with lots of people stopping to engage and sample Nestle breakfast cereals.

The campaign was being filmed and edited down that evening to then go out the following day which amassed 1.5m views in just 3 days on Facebook alone.

All in all the project was a resounding success and great to be part of.

Read about the activation from art director Katie Peake’s perspective here.

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