Inside the Evolution of Paramount+’s Larger-than-life Fan Activation, The Lodge

You might say The Lodge is peak experiential.

The traveling, winter chalet-themed Paramount+ activation has drawn hundreds of thousands of consumers since launching in early 2023, enticing fans with a series of sprawling vignettes and multisensory experiences that bring to life the “Mountain of Entertainment” available on the streaming service. And all along the way, the brand has implemented small tweaks derived from attendee feedback and social listening data to ensure the experience is, as the brand puts it, “guided and driven by fans.” The result? A well-oiled engagement machine.

“When we, as a streaming service, launched in 2021, our brand platform was this idea that Paramount+ has live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment. And, of course, ‘a mountain of entertainment’ became our consumer-facing tagline that represented not only the kind of quality of content you can expect from Paramount and the iconic mountain that is our mascot, but also the quantity,” says James Stewart Cullen, vp-global brand marketing at Paramount+. “As we were able to expand on that thinking, we thought, how could we bring the mountain to the people?”

And the rest, as they say, is history, with the exception of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) in July, which will serve as the last leg of the 2024 Lodge tour. It’s an experiential success story worthy of a deep dive, so join us on the slopes for the lowdown. (Agency: 15|40)

paramount-super bowl strip takeover 2024 teaserMore from Paramount’s Portfolio:


PARAMOUNT super bowl 58_ghosts room_AGENC_CS_0235-Edit

Detailed set and scene recreations are a core piece of the engagement strategy.

From the get-go, The Lodge experience was built to “increase the brand love” for Paramount+, according to Cullen. The network leveraged its celebrity-laden “Mountain of Entertainment” live-action ads, which were placed around major events like the NFL Playoffs and the Grammys, as a jumping off point.

“[The ads] are a way to represent the mountain in a clever and humorous way, so when we thought about bringing this experience to life, we wanted people to have that same type of interaction with our brand,” says Cullen. “And as we came out of the pandemic, we knew that fans were clamoring for an opportunity to experience their favorite shows and movies in real life. So we knew that this would be a big brand love moment for us.”

Paramount+ first locked down 2023 tour locations for The Lodge at tentpole events, including SXSW and SDCC, but quickly realized that mountaintops were also ideal locations to activate the chalet experience. So the brand teamed up with hospitality organization Alterra Mountain Company to bring The Lodge, and the brand love, to Mammoth Mountain Resort in California and Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado. Fans at each site were invited to engage with an array of Paramount+ IPs through a self-guided journey that gave them the freedom to explore the content they enjoy most.

“We want to have every bit of the experience like you are in an actual lodge, every detail, from the lift ticket to the paneling to the wood features… We want you to be immersed in, and almost escape into, the Paramount Mountain when you enter the experience.”

–James Stewart Cullen, VP-Global Brand Marketing, Paramount+


As the tour progressed and Paramount+ collected on-site feedback, small modifications were implemented to improve the attendee journey.

“You want your experience to be guided and driven by fans because they’re the ones who are interacting with it and are going to give you the best feedback,” Cullen says. “They’re the ones experiencing it themselves, so we rely heavily on consumer marketing insights to drive how we develop and execute this campaign.”

In addition to adjustments made to the fan experience, it was important for the teams behind the scenes to share operational insights and best practices as the tour evolved.

“Sharing key learnings in real time with future locations is imperative,” says Annie McAllister, executive producer at 15|40, Paramount+’s agency partner on The Lodge. “While each location is unique, transparency into successes and failures only ensures that small operational tweaks can be implemented quickly for the success of the program.”

Planning for the project began months ahead of the first location’s opening. Adds McAllister: “It’s crucial throughout that time to treat the ‘current,’ ‘next’ and ‘last’ locations with equal attention at all times because there can be no lost moments of focus overall when, at the end of the day, install/live/strike across the country are oftentimes overlapped.”

PARAMOUNT 4d rides _super bowl 58_AGENC_CS_1612

Inside a replica ski gondola, Adventure to the Peak took fans on a 4D-simulated ride that featured Paramount+ characters.



With plenty of on-site attendee sentiments captured and social listening data compiled from 2023, Paramount+ headed into year two of The Lodge with a heavier focus on providing family-friendly touchpoints, particularly at the four Alterra ski resorts the tour took over during the winter: Winter Park, CO; Stratton, VT; Steamboat, CO; and Palisades Tahoe, CA. To ensure the activation captured plenty of eyeballs, Paramount+ worked with Alterra to select higher-traffic on-mountain locations this year.

The brand dedicated roughly 30 percent of the mountaintop activation spaces to a kid-centric Nickelodeon zone with a “slime”-covered playground that kept little ones occupied while their parents rested after a day on the slopes. The setup, and indoor-outdoor footprint, lent itself well to an après ski atmosphere that yielded lengthy dwell times.

It was a different story at SXSW, where ticketing for The Lodge was streamlined to give throughput a significant boost, a key campaign objective for 2024—and one that Paramount+ crushed. The strategy will be the same at SDCC. (And we won’t even get into the 10,000-plus fans who passed through Paramount’s block-long experiential footprint, which included The Lodge, during Super Bowl LVIII.)

SXSW 2024 attendees “checked in” to a 1920s-era hotel that promoted “A Gentleman in Moscow.”

“At trade shows, we’re smarter about how we register and allot time,” Cullen says. “So we partner with different ticketing agencies for free tickets that express specific times that people are allowed to be in the activation, and then we turn over the space after that allotted time.”

And fans are using up every second of their time slots to explore The Lodge, which at SXSW spanned three floors of interactive, often multisensory, touchpoints, some of which were updated this year to include newer Paramount+ titles.

Regardless of where The Lodge pops up, Paramount+ and its partners make certain that, even for fans who have already experienced it, the activation looks, and feels, fresh and timely at every stop.

“To keep our tour fresh and captivating for returning attendees, we must continually innovate our visual storytelling,” says Craig Waldman, president and chief creative officer at 15|40. “Whether it involves new stonework or transforming the interior aesthetic to create a different ambiance, our goal is to ensure each year feels novel and exciting.”

“What gets me excited is when we return to different mountain experiences or when we return to SXSW and hear fans on the ground saying, ‘I’m so excited The Lodge is back this year,’ for example. That means that we are doing something that is culture-building.”

–James Stewart Cullen, VP-Global Brand Marketing, Paramount+


From Paramount+’s perspective, activating The Lodge over the last two years has reaffirmed that person-to-person recommendations are an invaluable marketing channel with an unmatched power to drive attendance at events and increase brand affinity.

“I’ve always been a big believer in putting together experiences that people would want to share with their friends. And what I mean by that is, word-of-mouth continues to be the best marketing channel out there,” Cullen says.

Generating that groundswell of buzz and maintaining it, however, has required the help of media and influencer partners.

“In the first year of the tour, we collaborated to develop a strategy that successfully launched the experiential event series and established expectations for both consumers and the press,” says Marissa Kiersch, vp-brand and experiential at 15|40. “In its second year, the challenge was to discover the new story, the fresh angle around The Lodge, and convey it to the media for their audiences to follow along. Together, we enhanced the influencer program and expanded the tour stops to include zeitgeist moments such as the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.”

A spy-themed “Rabbit Hole” control room allowed attendees to view security camera footage and take an ID photo.



Cullen says increasing year-over-year throughput is among top KPIs for the 2024 Lodge tour, an objective Paramount+ has already met. Press coverage and attendee sentiment will also be used to gauge the program’s success.

“We certainly look at throughput,” he says. “Secondly, we’ve got great partners on our press side. We look at how much on-the-ground local coverage we’re getting. Certainly, social listening and seeing the social feedback there. And then we track brand love across these events for people exposed to, and who have experienced, the event. So, really, we’re trying to drive deeper engagement with Paramount+ as a brand. Those kinds of metrics help us understand if it’s having [an] impact.”

There are no official plans for another iteration of the tour yet, but Cullen says Paramount+ expects the upcoming Comic-Con activation to be its best stop yet. And that may serve as a barometer for how and when The Lodge comes to life again.

Personally, we’re betting on another year of moving mountains.

Photo credits: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for Paramount+; Scott Clark Photography


This story appeared in the Summer 2024 issue
Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

Receive the latest news and special announcements from Event Marketer


© 2024 Access Intelligence, LLC – All Rights Reserved. |