How YouTube promoted its short-form video product with an immersive drive-thru experience
The campaign won in the Experience category at The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas 2023.
YouTube promoted its short-form video product Shorts at a one-of-a-kind drive-thru pop-up event at VidCon 2022 / YouTube
YouTube wanted to celebrate creators at VidCon 2022 – an annual event for fans, creators and brands – while bringing the vibrant world of YouTube Shorts to life.
To reflect the shorter and more engaging side of YouTube, the platform created the first-ever YouTube Shorts Drive-Thru experience, featuring interactive menus, custom snacks, themed golf carts, surprises from creators, musical performances and even a 40-foot gumball machine.
The objective was to create a buzz that would distinguish YouTube from the already massive event and showcase the unique value of YouTube Shorts.
YouTube aimed to stand out and create a buzz that would capture everyone’s attention amid the chaos of VidCon 2022 in Los Angeles. To do so, YouTube set out to design an experience that encouraged users and creators to engage with and create YouTube Shorts. The brand wanted to ensure the experience promoted the product in a natural and organic way, avoiding a pay-to-play atmosphere.
Ultimately, the strategy involved four key elements: a fun and engaging on-site spectacle; limited edition collaborations; thoughtful digital extensions; and additional experiences throughout VidCon to drive traffic to the marquee YouTube Shorts event.
The execution involved a fully branded drive-thru experience that engaged and energized VidCon attendees, fans and creators alike. Over three days, attendees experienced constant surprise and delight, with personal interactions with their favorite creators.
The outdoor drive-thru experience began at a standalone video menu, where attendees were driven in amusement-style rides via 13 unique and creatively themed golf carts. Along the journey, fans learned about YouTube Shorts from their drivers and were encouraged to shoot their own Shorts in real-time. The ride concluded at a retro drive-thru-style building, where guests picked up their meal kits – which included one-of-a-kind creator-inspired snacks, slushies and creator trading cards. The drive-thru also featured the larger-than-life gumball machine honoring YouTube legend MrBeast, which dispensed candy bars and surprises.
Additional campaign touchpoints included Shorts challenges, decked-out lockers, snack conveyor carts and entertaining pop-ups.
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YouTube’s presence at VidCon generated significant results.
The drive-thru experience attracted some 17,000 visitors, and YouTube Shorts garnered a 65% social share of voice compared to the title sponsor TikTok’s 25%. YouTube Shorts gained 48m views and saw 1.5m hours of watch time. What’s more, the event inspired 34,000 unique Shorts creations, with 40% produced by new creators.
Plus, creators themselves reported that they were pleased with the experience. A post-event survey found that 80% strongly agreed that YouTube is the best place for creators and that they feel confident about their future on the platform.
By offering a unique and engaging event, YouTube showcased the creative power of YouTube Shorts while celebrating creators and fostering a sense of community. Plus, the success of the pop-up activation drove engagement, boosted share of voice and helped to reinforce YouTube’s position as a leading platform for short-form video content.