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4 top experiential trends: IRL and influencers to lead the way in 2023

By Marissa Kiersch | Vice-President, Brand and Experiential

January 26, 2023 | 5 min read

From sustainability to a continued investment in influencers, these are the experiential marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2023, according to Marissa Kiersch, the vice-president of brand and experiential at 15|40 Productions.

people inside a bar

Kiersch predicts 2023 will see an uptick in IRL activations from brands / Credit: 15|40 Productions

Branded experiential events have been on the rise within the last few years, despite the pause during the Covid-19 pandemic. Brands are always looking for ways to creatively engage with consumers, and for memorable elements to build loyalists from diverse backgrounds.

In the past year alone, we at 15|40 Productions saw how IP and content shape the ideation and execution of the overall guest journey. We brought two of Hulu’s Originals to audiences with immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences for the season finale of Only Murders in the Building in New York, and the launch of the Welcome to Chippendales docuseries in Los Angeles.

men dancing on stage

Below, we outline four predictions for experiential marketing in 2023.

1. Asia and Europe will lead the charge

Looking forward to the state of experiential in 2023, it’s important to acknowledge the Asian and European markets, where we see many trendsetting ideas for events and activations, like applying advanced technology to create immersive experiences that go above and beyond.

2. Events will be more sustainable

Sustainability will also be an integral part of future events. Brands are constantly looking for ways to operate with sustainable, budget-friendly aspects that also give their experience additional legs, such as giveaway items that consumers will be able to keep at home.

During the LA experience for Hulu’s Welcome to Chippendales series, clear branded fanny packs were handed out to attendees throughout the activation. Knowing that consumers would be able to use them as bags to get into stadiums that have implemented clear bag policies, ensures that branding will be shown throughout events at certain venues with a large capacity, especially during sports seasons and concerts.

3. IRL will eclipse virtual events

As virtual events have been a popular solution to Covid-19’s lockdowns, we’ve been seeing an increased demand for in-real-life consumer-facing activations and events, which will be making more of a comeback in 2023 compared to recent years.

As we ease out of the pandemic, brands are looking to previous experiential moments and what has been done before to look at how they can expand upon those ideas and elevate the experience for their consumers. We suspect brands will continue taking over buildings, streets, etc. and facilitating pop-ups in locations with heavy foot traffic.

4. Influencers will predominate

In-person events will also include more branded trips with influencers and celebrities, even if they aren’t experiential-focused. Influencer marketing has skyrocketed over the years, and we expect even more of an uptick in 2023. When brands adopt influencers into their marketing plans, they maximize their reach and overall footprint, allowing for the opportunity for virality.

This will be key for getting the word out there for events that the day-to-day consumer will be able to experience. Influencers on social media provide a different kind of lens for audiences, allowing them to get an inside peek into their lives, which results in a personal touchpoint. If a follower sees their favorite TikToker, for example, at a consumer pop-up, they are more inclined to check it out themselves.

Marissa Kiersch is the vice president of brand and experiential at 15|40 Productions, a full-service creative studio. For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.

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