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Startle

Event Sponsorship

FREE AIR GUITARS.

The Brief

Startle, one of our longest standing clients, needed to promote their shiny, new, industry-first book on how behavioural science backed music can create ‘Atmospheres that Sell’ within retail and hospitality spaces. Sticking it on Amazon and sending out a few tweets wasn’t going to cut it for this stand-out moment for the Startle brand.

Crucially, we needed to find a way to be distinctive and memorable, whilst ensuring we landed the book promotion firmly within the world of behavioural science, given that discipline has become a core part of the Startle offering.

Startle is a talented tech company that provides background music and engaging in-store tech solutions built on behavioural science to retail and hospitality businesses globally.

The Response

“Why don’t we get Doritos' Alan Guitar Hero (also the guy from Game of Thrones and After Life) to rock up to Nudgestock with 50,000 free air guitars to giveaway?”

Nudgestock is the world’s biggest festival of behavioural science, and to reference its founder, Rory Sutherland, the above quote and activation concept that followed would be a fine example of ‘backwards thinking’.

Not starting with the typical rational approach of ‘how do sponsors typically show up at marketing events?’ *see free ice creams.* But rather, asking what can we do to be truly memorable and a bit messy (in keeping with the event theme) to create an off-the-wall experience for guests on the day.

Cue effortless music at your fingertips with rock Startle…

We played with Startle brand codes to create a rock band inspired alter brand-ego for the day, including a new Startle rock logo, plectrums, unofficial Nudgestock wristbands, pin badges, stickers and literally handing over hundreds of air guitars (with care instructions, of course) to rather bemused, but very entertained, attendees.

We whipped up a mosh pit frenzy by choosing not to sell the book like all other event partners. Instead, a sold out sign directed people to collect a free copy (along with an air guitar) from the Startle stand, creating a much more interactive touchpoint with Startle staff and interested guests, allowing for natural conversations on their services and the book itself.

"Startle were the perfect partner because they actively contributed to our attendee's experience. People come to Nudgestock expecting a festival not a conference, and Startle rose to the occasion by providing branded wristbands, air-guitars and deftly matching music to the mood of every speaker's talk."
– Anna Cairns, Nudgestock Event Lead, Ogilvy UK.

The Results

Startle stole the show…

Tim ‘The Plectrum’ Plester (that guy from Game of Thrones) – was the unofficial Startle employee for the day and rocked the venue with several air guitar performances in front of a packed crowd. He even got Rory rocking.

99.99% of Nudgestockers left wearing the unofficial Startle wristband, which featured some memorable and witty micro-copy.

You couldn’t move without bumping into something Startle branded around the venue.

And most importantly, hundreds of copies of Atmospheres that Sell were now in the hands of influential behavioural science loving business folk to take away and chew over.

See you next year for another air guitar riff-off?

Long live Nudgestock.


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Melanie Fulker, CCO, Startle

“To stand out in style at Nudgestock, we knew we needed to think out of the box. Luckily, the folk at ...Gasp! are all too familiar with the weird and wonderful, and were well equipped to help us get noticed in the right way to promote our book. Knowing our brand inside out, they devised an event activation with careful thought at every touchpoint; our stand, banner ads, the merch and, possibly the most impactful, our "sold out" sign at the Nudgestock book store. Genius! There's no team we'd rather have on our side for marketing.”

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