Virgin Holidays is erecting a giant ball pit in London this week to embody its new campaign slogan, “The World is Your Playground.” The Thames River installation continues Virgin Holidays’ ongoing strategy of experiential marketing to inspire travel.
Summer may be coming to an end, but Virgin Holidays wants to keep travel at top of mind for consumers. A ball pit installation will debut September 13 and 14 at Observation Point, overlooking the Thames River. Hidden in the pit are four golden balls that will grant its finder a free vacation to Las Vegas, Barbados, Universal Orlando or Antigua.
Located at Observation Point, Southbank, SE1 9LT, the installation will be filled with over 140,000 balls, making it the largest outdoor ball pit in the UK.
“Holidays are an experience, not a product, so we frequently use experiential marketing to bring how you feel on a holiday to life,” Kelly Grindle, PR lead at Virgin Holidays told AList. “We want to stimulate a sense of adventure and inspire you to explore new places.”
Grindle explained that the brand’s ongoing experiential marketing extends to its retail locations. For example, those who visit the Virgin Holidays brick-and-mortar locations can ride a virtual reality roller coaster, hang out at a bar or recline in a Virgin Atlantic first class seat.
The ball pit activation was designed to create buzz ahead of Virgin Holidays’ new campaign, airing on ITV during The X Factor September 15. Visitors to the ball pit will be encouraged to take selfies and share the experience on social media. Grindle said they chose the location for its amazing views and its “exceptionally high” foot traffic.
Virgin Holidays reported a 1.5 percent increase in passenger numbers YoY to 397,000 in 2017 and a pre-tax profit of £15.5 million ($20.2 million). The brand has taken a special interest in experiential marketing, as evidenced by the hire of Amber Kirby in March. Appointed as vice president of marketing and customer experience, the former Boots and Procter and Gamble executive said that she would also focus on improving loyalty initiatives and Virgin Holidays’ digital experience.
Global travel industry bookings reached $1.6 trillion in 2017, making it one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world, according to Deloitte.