When I hear the phrase “immersive experiences” I typically think about the concept of augmented reality. Upon further investigation, I realize that “immersive experiences” expand beyond real life interactions with consumers, but it can apply to how brands can connect to consumers online through a website. These consumers are engaged in a highly visual web environments where they can easily get lost by all the interactive features.
For instance, the Google Cultural Institute engages its visitors through a series of pictographs, informational blurbs, and other short and easy to consume material. Not only does this website help Google boost its brand image as a cultural provider, it gives consumers a place to relax and delve into history in the comforts of their own homes.
Another great brand “immersive experience” would be from Burberry’s bespoke tab on its website. Consumers have the opportunity to customize their own iconic Burberry jacket. This option gives shoppers a chance to make their own unique products. Car websites are known to have this kind of immersive experiences for its consumers, but it is more interesting to see how it works in the fashion industry.
As technology increasingly advances, so does marketing techniques. In this case, marketers have effectively invented novel ways to engage their audiences through augmented realities and immersive experiences.
Applebee’s faced a huge backlash from the community when an employee uploaded a picture of a receipt where the customer refused to pay the given gratuity amount. The employee was then fired by the restaurant because the content of the receipt violated the customer’s privacy rights. This could have been an easy fix, but Applebee’s made several mistakes in regards to addressing people’s concerns and ultimately tarnished the restaurant’s reputation.
Olive Garden hasn’t experienced the same fate, but the restaurant chain may have reached an all new low with online advertising campaigns.
Last Wednesday, a picture of an Olive Garden receipt was posted on Reddit with the explanation:
“My brother, wife, 3 year-old daughter and I went to Olive Garden after a recent house fire at my parents. When the manager asked how everything was my daughter said ‘Grandpa’s house burned down’. Here’s how we received the check.”
According to this article, the post received over 1,000 comments. However, many commenters were skeptical rather than supportive. There was one skeptic who worked in the advertising industry that claimed he had seen other companies/brands working on these kinds of campaigns to promote good will among their customer base. On the other hand, Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin believes that the receipt is real because a brand wouldn’t risk the potential harsh criticism if caught.
Some comments mentioned that the placement of the Olive Garden’s logo was suspicious, but I think that someone who took the picture made sure to include the logo to give credit to the restaurant. If you look closely, the logo is on the typical black restaurant guest check book. In addition, I completely agree with Martin. Anyone who knows about Applebee’s blunder has blacklisted the restaurant. I highly doubt that Olive Gardens would put its reputation on the line for something as little as a picture of a receipt on Reddit.