Vodafone Sets Off Edible New Year’s Eve Fireworks
With its New Year’s Eve activation in London, Vodaphone accomplished an industry first—an edible fireworks display. The program’s 360-degree multi-sensory experience engaged hundreds of thousands of consumers (and their taste buds) and showed them that the brand can accomplish the impossible, and help them do the same.
Bigger is better. Vodaphone has put a decisive final nail in the “small is big” event trend that came out of the economic crash and made it cool to go big again. Really big.
The brand wanted to ring in the new year and celebrate its new “Firsts” global engagement strategy, so it gave consumers all over the world a taste of what it can mean to be part of a brand that is dedicated to being first and best. To do that, it created something that the world had never seen before, that would be easy to understand and that would effectively demonstrate “Vodafone Firsts” as a global brand engagement platform. While hitting that nearly impossible mark, it also engaged consumers with a brand story that would inspire consumers to undertake “firsts” of their own. For its own first, Vodaphone partnered with the Mayor of London to sponsor the London New Year’s Eve fireworks.
It was never to be a simple visual show, however. This brand wanted more, so it partnered with food artists Bompas & Parr to create a flavor-themed multi-sensory fireworks experience that no consumer would ever forget. The centerpiece of the program was the world’s first edible confetti, a safe flavor mist in seven fruit flavors the brand developed with innumerable health and safety regulators in an effort to plan an environmental effect without causing an environmental disaster.
It ultimately created a brand new dispersal mechanism, all in the eight months before the big show. The brand also put in wireless signal boosters and hubs all over London so the crowds could easily share their experiences through their mobile devices. On the big day, the brand handed out 100,000 multi-sensory experience packs in key neighborhoods that included a scratch and sniff program, flavored sweets to eat in time with the show, and LED wristbands that were synchronized to light up with the fireworks. During the display, the sky was filled with clouds of strawberry, apple, cherry and blackcurrant mist, corresponding to the colors of the fruits and fireworks in the sky. When the sky turned red, the audience tasted strawberries. When it was green, green apple wafted through the air, and so on. In addition, there were visual flavored effects including a “peach mist” that made it snow for 60 seconds and floating smoke-filled giant Seville orange bubbles along Victoria Embankment, and a finale of the world’s first edible banana confetti.
The event was attended by over 250,000 people, and Vodaphone reached almost 640 million people through earned media which helped drive a big uplift in traffic to the Firsts.com website, peaking at about 24,000 visits versus an average of 3,000. An auld acquaintance that won’t soon be forgot.