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Event Planning & Management
2 November 2017 

10 Imaginative Event Marketing Examples From Google

Anna Sang
10 Imaginative Event Marketing Examples From Google

When it comes to engaging with consumers, Google is a thought leader. The following examples demonstrate how the tech giant balances innovation and simplicity to execute on exceptional event marketing initiatives.

According to the most recent event marketing statistics, 95% of marketers agree that live events are important for forming in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. Despite being the world’s leading technology company, Google understands the importance of real-life interactions and uses those moments to further market and solidify their brand equity. Check out the below examples to see how Google executes on their most successful event marketing strategies. 

Table of Contents

  1. Google Donut Shop
  2. Google I/O
  3. GOODFest
  4. #PayWithAPhoto Food Truck
  5. Asia Pacific International Music Summit
  6. Doodle 4 Google
  7. Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area
  8. Google Sandbox Series
  9. Chuck Hack
  10. #EveryoneSpeaksFood

1) Google Donut Shop

Google Donut Shop. Yum!Photo source: AdWeek

Is it a donut or a Google Home Mini? At this pop-up shop, it can be both. In their most recent event marketing initiative, Google set up donut shops all over the United States giving away free Google Home Minis — which are roughly the same size as a donut. But before you jump out of your seat to grab free Google tech, there’s no guarantee you’ll win.

Inside the shops, conveyer belts carry boxes filled with either a Home Mini or two donuts from a local bakery. Guests ring a bell and ask a question to the Home Mini and one of the boxes will be dispensed. You’ll see your prize when you open the box. And don’t worry, if you win a Google Home Mini, you can still get a donut.

Key Takeaway: Promote your new product with a twist. Think beyond just giving out free samples. How can you make a customer’s experience memorable?

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2) Google I/O 

Google IOPhoto source: TechRadar

With over 7,000 participants, Google’s annual developer conference held in Mountain View, CA introduces software updates and new technology as well as hosting influential speakers and in-depth sessions. The 3-day long outdoor tech festival completely immerses attendees before, during, and after sessions.

Attendees can check out various Sandbox stations for hands-on demos of the latest technology, Codelabs to work through technical modules with Google Experts, after hours parties, and many more activities.

Key Takeaway: An engaged attendee is a happy attendee. Make sure your event is filled with various activities so that participants can be completely immersed in your world.

To check out other big brands who put on massive user conferences, the Events Hall of Fame ebook by clicking the button below!

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3) GOODFest

GOODfest GooglePhoto source: GOODFest

The idea for GOODFest started as a marketing idea for the new Pixel phone to highlight its photographing skills in the most common low-light situations—concerts. And while the phone was still used to capture photos and post on social media, the music festival served as a greater purpose. Google partnered with GOOD, a social impact agency, to host a concert series that centered around social good by focusing on supporting five causes for the five concerts. Talk about powerful event partnership marketing!

100% of ticket sales went to a partnered non-profit organization. In New York, the Glass Animals performed with all sales going towards DonorsChoose.org with a focus on projects addressing mental health. In LA, Gogol Bordello and Nick Zinner played to support the Equality Justice Initiative for racial and economic justice. Three other shows made up the rest of the festival and included a range of artists and causes.

Key Takeaway: No matter how big or small your company is, you have the power to promote good in the world. Think about how your product or service can be a vehicle to make the world a better place.

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4) #PayWithAPhoto Food Truck

In this creative challenge, Google invited people on the street to find a specific photo on their phones in under 20 seconds in exchange for a free snack. A large mechanized box displayed a word such as “beach”, “flower”, “boat” and participants scrambled to find a photo featuring the term. If you found a photo, you were awarded with the food prize and if you didn’t, you received a smaller version of the food. The NYC truck featured waffles from Wafels & Dinges while the LA truck served Coolhaus ice cream sammies.

The idea behind this food truck was to promote Google Photos, a photo sharing and storage service where photos can be found much more quickly. Just by searching the terms directly into the search bar, the photos you are looking for will immediately appear.

Key Takeaway: Showcase exactly how your company’s product or service can make someone’s life easier and efficient. Bonus points if you can do it in a fun and engaging way.

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5) Asia Pacific IMS

Asia Pacific IMS GooglePhoto source: Chief Marketer

Sometimes even big brands like Google need a little help. The Asia Pacific International Music Summit held in Singapore describes itself as “the premier platform for thought leadership in electronic music”. Since these types of fans are active on social media and enjoy live music, Google was brought in to help bring this concert experience to fans all over the world.

So the media tech giant turned to event agency Jack Morton to help with this project. The team developed bioreactive wristbands fans wore that were connected to their Google accounts and translated the real-time data of heart rate and skin temperature to reactive visuals on screen. This interactive data and experience was then streamed live on Google Hangouts and on Youtube.

Key Takeaway: Working with others can make your event better by reaching a wider audience. Don’t be afraid to collaborate.

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6) Doodle 4 Google

Doodle4Google competitionPhoto source: Google

If you’ve used the Google search bar to find anything on the internet, you’ve seen the Google logo reimagined into a creative drawing during a themed holiday, celebration, or remembrance. You may have also heard of the annual “Doodle 4 Google” contest that asks young artists to create a doodle from a certain prompt to be featured on the front page of the search engine.

Sarah Harrison from Connecticut in the 10th-12th grade group won the competition in 2017 with her drawing above, “A Peaceful Future”. All of the finalists received a surprise celebration assembly at their schools along with trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California where the national winner is announced. The final winner receives a $30k college scholarship, $50k towards technology at their school, a Chromebook, and an Android tablet.

Key Takeaway: Through open competitions, not only can you help an individual but you can help a community while bringing awareness to your company.

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7) Google Impact Challenge 

This initiative serves as a key example of innovative experiential marketing. In 2014, Google awarded $5.5 million to local Bay Area nonprofits. Out of 800 applications, 25 finalists were selected to receive funding. This is where Google incorporated the residents of the area to have a say in where the money would go. The public could vote online to choose which nonprofit they wanted Google to donate to. But the most engaging part of this project were the interactive posters set up around the city where residents could press a button to vote an organization to donate to.

These posters were placed in a range of locations including bus shelters, food trucks, restaurants, and more. All of these places took advantage of people who were already waiting for buses or food and had the time to be engaged with a campaign. This project generated over 400,000 votes and was a great way to bring awareness to local nonprofits and Google.

Key Takeaway: Engaging your audience in matters that pertain to them is a great way to ensure participation in your campaign.

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8) Google Sandbox Series

Google-Sandbox-Series.jpgPhoto source: Meetup

Ever wonder what it’s like to work at Google? The company’s “Sandbox Series” brings Googlers to cities all over the United States to lead tech talks, hands-on workshops, and sessions to anyone who is willing to learn. From DC to NYC to Dallas, these events cover topics such as software engineering, sales, marketing, and more. The entry is competitive with an application process in order to attend.

Key Takeaway: Share your knowledge with the rest of the world and you will get help in return. Holding workshops, small conferences, and webinars are great ways to get started in doing this.

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9) Chuck Hack

Chuck Hack GooglePhoto source: Art & Sole

Google partnered up with Converse to create the “Google+ Converse Garage”, a pop-up hack space in London where participants could redesign a pair of Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers using technology. Converse’s were transformed into speakers or synthesizers or anything anyone could come up with. The space allowed for complete creative freedom.

The five-day workshop held eight sessions each lead by a different artist. The store was open to the public so even those with minimal experience could participate and there was plenty of assistance within the shop for participant’s creative endeavors.

Key Takeaway: Fostering an environment of creativity and innovation to bring awareness to your company will inspire your participants and make for a meaningful experience.

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10) #EveryoneSpeaksFood 

To inspire communication cross-culturally and promote their Google Translate feature, Google opened a pop-up restaurant in NYC that utilized the app to order food. The menu was developed by 18 chefs from a wide range of cooking styles with each item written in a different language. Guests were able to use the Google Translate app to hover over the text and see the words translated into English instantly so they could order.

The idea behind the restaurant is to bring people of all backgrounds together with the unifying force of food. And in order to break down language barrier people encounter when ordering food in different countries, Google perfectly showcased how their new app can do just that.

Key Takeaway: Show off how great your product is in a real-life example and people will certainly be engaged.

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Main takeaways recap:

  • Engaging your audience in matters that are directly relevant to them is a great way to ensure participation in your campaign.
  • By hosting competitions that are open to the public, you can foster strong consumer relationships while lifting brand awareness of your company.
  • Working with others can make your event better by reaching a wider audience. Don’t be afraid to collaborate.
  • Make sure your event is filled with various activities so that participants can be completely immersed in your world.
  • Showcase exactly how your company’s product or service can make someone’s life easier and efficient. And make sure to do so in a fun and engaging way.


We hope these examples shed some light on how one of the world’s most successful companies carry out their event marketing strategy. But to ensure that you stay knowledgeable on the industry as a whole, download the ebook below to deep dive into the statistics and trends that will shape the future of event marketing!

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