Just shy of five years old, Marriott International’s Moxy brand is still relatively new, but an April 9 launch event for its Chelsea property in the heart of New York City’s floral district proved the playful hotel chain has blossomed. With an “Avant-Garden” theme woven throughout, Moxy leveraged its grand opening to activate a one-night A.S.M.R. (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) pop-up experience, most of which took place in the hotel’s Mondo Suite. Simultaneously edgy and cheeky, Moxy’s brand personality shone through among touchpoints including live storytelling, an ornate take on the typical makeup station, lavish floral photo ops and, of course, a host of multisensory experiences that connected attendees with the hotel and its surroundings.
If you’re not familiar with the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response here’s the top level: A.S.M.R. is a feeling of well-being combined with a slight tingling sensation in the scalp and down the back of the neck that is triggered by a person’s response to a gentle stimulus, which is more often than not a particular sound (whispering and high-sensitivity microphones often play a major role in the experience). Moxy’s launch event brought the concept to life with a journey through various rooms featuring the sensations used in A.S.M.R., from immersive floral projections to rose-scented spray infused into the space.
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Upon arrival, attendees were first met with a pink-lit entryway featuring ambient garden sounds and a hypnotic back-brushing ritual using flowers. Over at the bar, they could grab a drink with an edible botanical cocktail garnish that aligned with their horoscope. When the live storytelling began, the brand revealed a playful tale about the ultimate girlfriends’ birthday staycation at the Moxy Chelsea. The intimate performance leveraged quirky props that elicited pleasurable sounds, like a hand running over a sequined dress, the fizzle of champagne and the strike of a match. Adjacent bedrooms featured lights, sounds and sensations used in A.S.M.R., like being blindfolded and feeling around a room covered in grass and flowers.
The event also integrated one of Moxy’s defining amenities, Bedtime Stories, which guests of Moxy properties can access through their hotel room phone or TV. With participation from influencers Dani and Bella Thorne and Caroline Vreeland, the brand developed limited-edition Bedtime Stories just prior to the event under the themes “chill out,” “go out” and “pass out,” which all Moxy guests can now listen to during their stay.
Watch: Bella and Dani Thorne experiment with A.S.M.R.
“A lot of people have a preconceived notion of what Marriott is, what Marriott brands are like and what we do in terms of events,” says Michael Fragoso, manager-global entertainment marketing at Marriott. “I feel like Moxy is this experimental playground where they can have a bit more fun and stay on the pulse of what we do. When it comes down to how guests relax, we got really excited by the opportunity to do an event and then have something live on.”
Additional on-site engagements included a Thorne by Bella makeup station from Bella Thorne where guests could adorn their face with intricate floral designs, a live tattooing station by celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy (and yes, several attendees got real tattoos at the event) and an appearance by the creators of the Instagram account @HotGirlsEatingPizza, who joined forces with sake brand HEAVENSAKE to treat attendees to city views from the hotel’s second floor patio while they enjoyed pizza freshly made in Moxy Chelsea’s outdoor pizza oven and washed it down with sake.
“It’s important to make sure that the guest walks away understanding our brand, which is very unique, and that our experiences are the foundation,” says Diana Pavlov, senior director-global entertainment marketing at Marriott. “But it’s most critically important that the players, the partners that we collaborate with, the content that we extract from the event, lives on to continue the message and that is probably way more important than any event that we build.” Agencies: BMF, New York City (creative); Whisperlodge, New York City (A.S.M.R.).
See How it All Played Out #AtTheMoxy:
Featured photo courtesy: Samantha Nandez/BFA