Thrillist Goes Offline With Best Day of Your Life

Experiential marketing takes over New York's East Village

On the longest day of the summer, Thrillist wants to make sure you’re going to have a good time. The online content-meets-commerce publisher is hosting the second annual Best Day of Your Life, a summer food and drink festival that will take over parts of New York’s East Village on Saturday.

For the attendees, it's a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. But for Thrillist and its brand partners, the Best Day of Your Life will allow them to showcase the products they promote on the Web in real life. And, considering that Thrillist's readership is 70 percent millennial men, it's a smart approach to reach a key demographic that's notoriously fickle.

"This is our Shark Week. This is the way they'll understand what Thrillist is all about," explained Jody Rones, Thrillist vp of sales.

The number of brands and companies tapping into experiential marketing campaigns is only increasing. At Governor's Ball in New York this summer, Paypal sponsored e-wallet services, cheap lockers and WiFi. During the Electronic Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas this weekend, 7Up, Bud Light, Motorola and Snapchat will activate services that will benefit festival goers. 

Rones said last year Thrillist looked at the event as a way to create buzz about the online publication. However, it's become a revenue driver this year, especially with so many marketers signing on.

Each stop of the 12-location tour will be a curated event, either envisioned by the braintrust at Thrillist or put together with a sponsor. For example, Amsterdam Billiards will become a Ray Donovan-themed lounge, where Showtime will be sponsoring whiskey tastings, and participants will be able to go head-to-head against top pool sharks.

"Offline activations with our online partners allow us to provide their most engaged audience with a tactile brand experience. An immersive, memorable promotion can turn a user into a Showtime viewer," said Don Buckley, Showtime’s evp of program marketing & digital services.

Also sponsoring an event is Stoli, which has been running a nationwide lemonade campaign this summer and decided to add the Thrillist event as one of its stops. The vodka company will be taking over The Brazen Fox Kitchen and Craft Beer for a booze-filled dance party, complete with alcohol-laden ice pops and frozen lemonade.

"There's this big online focus in the world: everyone is too mobile and social only on their phones. We have to give our consumers, and other consumers, 'get togethers' to allow them to be social offline," said Stoli Vodka senior brand manager John Shipley.