The NHL and Diageo Tap Into Real-Time Data to Modify the Fan Experience on the Fly

Brands can evaluate the effectiveness of their events

The NHL Centennial Fan Arena road show will travel to 31 North American markets.
Debbie Tallen/MVRK

With millions of people flocking to summer music festivals and fan road shows, one Orlando, Fla.-based experiential marketing agency is making sure no good data goes to waste.

Beginning last year and running through this summer, beverage giant Diageo, in partnership with lead agency MKTG and experiential firm MVRK, created a branded experiential extravaganza, dubbed Smirnoff House, at several EDM (electronic dance music) concerts.

At each of the activations, MVRK installed a networked system of robotically controlled cameras, interactive screens and, of course, an interactive turntable for fans to engage with.

“The [goal] was for the audience to become active and creative participants rather than just spectators,” explained Steve Alexander, CEO of MVRK.

The immersive experience tracked and delivered real-time analytics, allowing MVRK to make changes on the fly.

“This meant monitoring our photo station kiosk and modifying it to allow for a more frictionless experience,” explained Alexander. “The modifications helped us get to a point where a single kiosk was able to produce thousands of photos each day.”

Following the Smirnoff House mega-parties last year, MVRK launched a cloud analytics platform that allows agency partners from anywhere in the world access to event data in real time.

Now, the experiential shop is partnering with the NHL on its yearlong Centennial celebration, rolling out the hockey league’s traveling “Fan Arena” road show to NHL markets and other cities across North America. (Up next: Tillsonburg, Ontario, Aug. 10-12.)

In each market, MVRK is deploying brand ambassadors who collect data from fans via real-time registration on iPads. “We’ve been able to update user interfaces for the registration system, the interactive locker room experience and our interactive museum displays throughout the run of the tour,” Alexander said.

“It’s a win-win,” noted Heidi Browning, evp, CMO of the NHL, “as we now have an entry point to interact with our fans beyond the NHL Centennial Fan Arena experience as well as gather valuable feedback, while fans receive an immediate reward: Their photo taken in a locker room replica, the crown jewel of the Fan Arena, is sent to their email address instantly.”

This story first appeared in the Aug. 7, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.