It Pays to Get Locked Up! Escape Rooms: The Marketers’ New Playground

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

What precisely is definitely an Escape Room? You may ask. Picture this – you are in a locked room. You have a couple of random clues and you don’t know how to get out. You may think this is merely another plot from one of the Saw film franchises but it is actually the makings of an Escape Room experience. This ‘craze’ involves an organization all the way to 12 players – based on where you book – who’ve 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 have just 60 minutes to break free.

Needless to say this isn’t a brand new concept but after years of virtual reality parading as the cool government in the world 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 maximise the exposure to the experience. The ‘tie-in’ design of marketing agreement is apparently the ruling formula for this.

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

Although this style of marketing can be nothing new in itself, what makes it successful is that the merchandise marry perfectly with the ability, and we all know that customers 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 could be linked back again to the world of video games 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 the escape room company and the IP (or copyright) owners interact to garner maximum exposure and expand the consumer base, prompting a ‘win: win’ arrangement.

Escape 60 in Brazil pulled off a blinding example of the in 2015 when they linked up with Ubisoft, the creators of fantasy behemoth Assassin’s Creed, to have prior to 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 will be now an increasing trend. Alex Reece, CEO of America’s Escape Game, commented in a interview during the time (October 2016), “We visit 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 is undoubtedly that powerful alliance brings the exploding escape room experience to numerous enthusiasts throughout the world.”

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