Marketing 101: Experiential Marketing on the Rise

experiential, mobile, popcorn, food truck, rent, lease

By: Gary Francis, Managing Partner

Subway, graffiti, mural, sandwich, experiential
Painting a mural for World Sandwich Day. (November 2017)

Today people are spending their dollars in different ways than before. In fact, studies consistently demonstrate that millennials prefer buying experiences to purchasing physical objects, and 72 percent plan to increase the amount of money they dedicate to the former in the next year.

People favor collecting memories over materials. And it’s also important for today’s generation to share experiences with peers. If they like a brand, or have an exceptional experience, they will go out of their way to promote the events they attend.

For such people experiential marketing is the best way of marketing.

While a surprising number of people haven’t heard of the concept, it’s kind of a big deal — 65% of brands that use it say that it positively correlates with sales.

But what is it, exactly? And how has it been used effectively? We found some of the coolest experiential marketing campaigns that really break down how it works, and how those lessons can be applied to marketers everywhere.

caa street squad, marketing, experiential,
CAA Street Squad (July 2017)
  • Gilmore Girls’ Luke’s Diners

To create buzz and excitement in the lead up to the long-awaited premiere of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” the Netflix team created 200 pop up Luke’s Diners around the country to serve complimentary coffee to excited fans. It was wildly successful, with long lines at every location and tons of social engagement (the event’s branded Snapchat filter was viewed 880,000 times).


  • Refinery29’s 29 Rooms

For the past three years and counting, lifestyle brand Refinery29 has hosted its 29Rooms event, a collection of 29 different rooms of individually branded and curated experiences, all loosely connected by a central theme to create a “multi-sensory playground.”  This year’s sold-out event will feature the theme “Turn It Into Art” in its first West Coast appearance.

the greatest showman, choir, winter, mobile, experiential
A flash choir for The Greatest Showman. (December 2017)
  • IKEA

The furniture retail giant IKEA invited 100 winners out of the almost 100,000 members of the Facebook group “I wanna have a sleepover in IKEA”, to a sleepover inside its furniture warehouse in Essex in the UK.

In the pajamas-only sleepover, the guests each got goodie bags, on top of massages and manicures. They were also treated to movies and a reality TV star swung by to read them a bedtime story.


  • Globetrotter

Globetrotter took the concept of a “fitting room” to another level by introducing the “weather room” in its stores. The weather room lets customers get to prove the claims of Globetrotter products in a simulated environment.

Customers who enter a Globetrotter store can now test whether that jacket can really protect them during the winter or is it indeed waterproof.

Experiential is getting a lot of hype these days. Brands wanting to invest in experiential should consider all aspects of the campaign, including social activations and leveraging influencers. The investment should be largely in the experience itself, rather than in paid media. If the experience and plan are well-executed, then earned media will give the brand a bigger payoff.

experiential, marketing, mobile, style, fashion, tresemme
Looking good in Montreal for Tresemme. (November 2017)

Experiential Fresh with Summer Fresh!

Summer Fresh, dips, salads, picnics, food, yum

By: Jennifer Chan, Account Coordinator

sampling, promotions. giveaways, picnics, food, salads, dips,
Summer Fresh mobile tour checking in with CIBC’s Run for the Cure (Summer 2017)

Big thank you and shout out to Summer Fresh and their team for giving Jam Van the opportunity to run a month-long campaign throughout the end of summer 2017! One of our most exciting programs last year, having Jam Van mobile activations made executing the Summer Fresh experiential strategy a success. For myself personally, this gave me motivation to consider food marketing within the XM realm. Because of my love for healthy food, I was extremely keen on getting the project started when it first came to my attention.

A quick background on the company for those of you who may not be familiar with the brand. Summer Fresh is a Canadian-based, family-run company with a manufacturing facility based in Woodbridge, Ontario and accredited with the highest health and safety standards in the world. For over 25 years ago, Summer Fresh has been crafting healthy, preservative-free gourmet salads, hummus and dips using clean and simple ingredients you can find in your own kitchen. The company is a recognized leader in innovation in the refrigerated deli space and  was the first to market products such as Roasted Garlic Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Artichoke and Asiago dip, Baba Ghanouj dip, and the 7 Grain Salad Bowl.

sampling, tour, food, product, summer
Nothing but blue skies for the Summer Fresh tour. (Summer 2017)

The campaign promoted their new line of Snack n’ Go salads consisting of five different flavours that consumers were able to sample when the Summer Fresh Jam Van pulled up to the curb. A branded Summer Fresh Jam Van circled South Central Ontario and the GTA to showcase the new product flavors including: Super Charge, Energy, Boost, Balance, and Detox. Consumers were invited on board to spin the wheel and learn about the brand in fun engagements. Getting hold of a snack that is deliciously tempting, fulfilling and great for you isn’t always easy, especially when you’re on the go or in a rush and need a quick fix. Each salad has fantastic nutritional benefits and is packed with superfoods for a healthy nutritional boost that will keep you satisfied longer between meals.

It was the perfect fit! It only made sense to pair a portable tasty snack campaign with a company that excels in mobile activations creating a memorable experience for consumers. This really allowed Jam Van’s turnkey elements to shine in the city of Toronto, at events all over Ontario, and school campuses. On top of which, we targeted students, food lovers, health enthusiasts such as myself.

summer fresh, sampling, products, food, salads, dips
Summer Fresh mobile tour. (Summer 2017)

Summer Fresh, the company itself, was a pleasure to work with. It was great to see clients truly care about not only their product, but the actual feedback consumers were giving in. They took the good with the bad and made almost immediate changes in their process. As with Jam Van, we had our challenges with product refrigeration and venue destinations, but were able to effectively and efficiently implement operational changes. With limited resources and budgeting, we had to call upon our expertise to manage an increase of double the amount of product sampled. With an expert team of field managers on location, the Summer Fresh mobile pop-up managed to distribute 29,000 samples and reached almost 7 million mass media impressions through guerilla marketing and on-site permits.


As an account coordinator, I assisted in the brainstorm and organization in the office in combination with supervising the activation and team on site. At this level, I am connected to the forefront of execution being the brand ambassadors representing Summer Fresh as well as carrying out management direction with regards to sourcing uniforms, location scouting, staffing engaging people, logistics (personnel, samples, branded truck), and reporting. It’s a great hands-on position involved with several departments. During the Summer Fresh program, I had to put to test the skills that I have learned in the past year. Out-of-the-box thinking is what makes experiential marketing interesting and innovative.

sampling, food, salads, dips, food, summer fresh,
Mobile Experiential Tour with Summer Fresh

We are looking to continue our partnership into 2018 with Summer Fresh. Whether it is expansion into other markets or incorporating more OOH media advertising, hopefully we’ll be able to offer more outdoor marketing strategies into the campaign. Plenty of ideation and planning heading our way for the Spring/Summer so if you’d like to join the field team for upcoming programs, please apply with resume and photos to

Key Experiential Planning Points for 2018

By: Robert Laughlin, Account Director

Experiential marketing is far more than just getting a sample into a consumer’s hand.  Leading into 2018, that sentiment could not be any truer.  Consumers are smarter and more informed when it comes to your product or service.  Parallel to that, they also have social media as a platform to air both their approval, but also their grievances which makes the consumer more powerful than ever when it comes to the make or break of a marketing campaign.  Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your experiential campaign:

experiential, marketing, The Greatest Showman
Singing in the streets for the film, The Greatest Showman (December 2017)
  • Honesty: Gone are the days where you can arbitrarily say your product is “just better” then the competition. Consumers are smarter then that.  As a result, they connect with brands that are open and honest with their consumers when it comes to their offerings and communicating “why” their product would be a good fit for the individual.  Further to that, some brands as of late have even embraced their shortcomings and connected even more so with their core consumers with this brutally honest approach.  Consumers today do not want to feel tricked or manipulated, so an honest and real approach is key to any campaign.
experiential, marketing, sampling, prizes, CAA,
Handing out prizes with the CAA Street Squad (Summer 2017)


  • Know your consumer: You know when you are walking down the street and you have the guerilla marketers approaching you to “have a conversation” and 9 times out of 10 (for me personally) I’m not the target at all. Generally, people do not want to be “accosted” by a brand, they want to engage on their own terms.  Ensuring your activation is engaging and inviting is the first step, but your placement is just as important.  Whether it is a festival or a guerilla location, do the research up front and know the demographic concentration you will be interacting with and then tailor your engagement to them.  When the consumer says to themselves, “this brand gets me” you have already won.


experiential, marketing, sampling, promotions, canada,
Celebrating Canada’s 150th with Stompin’ Tom on Canada Day 2017.
  • Less is more: A mistake I see constantly is that marketers try and push too many activities or touch points into one activation space.  Now I get it, when you have complex key messaging, or you must promote multiple levels of a product, we sometimes get caught tying these messages into different touch points or activities.  The problem with that is with so many stimulants, the messaging can get lost as it can seem like information overload.  Make sure to be concise and ensure you have 1-3 touch points to convey your message.  Not only will this ensure you get the information across, but you will streamline the consumer journey and allow for more engagements over the course of an activation.


experiential, marketing, promotions, sampling, prizes, caa
Enjoying the sunshine with CAA South Central. Gotta love the spin wheel! (Summer 2017)
  • Give them a reason: A consumer will only engage with a brand if you give them a reason to, and there are many ways to do this.  Whether it is a sample, a takeaway, a unique interaction, groundbreaking technology, or even a fun activity, there needs to be a reason for the consumer to interact with a brand.  When you give a consumer a reason, you then open the opportunity to have a conversation and make a true connection with the consumer.   When the consumer is of the mindset to interact, their information retention is then heightened, and you are able to create a longer lasting impression.

Want to know how we can help you design a campaign that will grab attention this year? Contact us at 416-203-2375 or email

2017: A Year in Review

In life, we’re told to never look back but I disagree; you will never see how far you’ve come unless you look back. Can you imagine climbing a mountain and not looking down to see the amazing feat you just accomplished? Examining 2017 is the only way to learn from it and plan where you want to go in 2018.

Here at Jam Van we made great strides this year. We had some big campaigns that tested our capacity and strength as a team and as a family. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than pulling together to accomplish what seemed impossible. Demands will always exist but it’s what you do with those demands and how you rise above them that determine what you are made of and who you are. After this year, I can say that Jam Van is a team that pulls together to have great success with great rewards.

Below a few of our employees share their thoughts on what 2017 was like at Jam Van.

Handing out samples for the Summer Fresh Tour (September 2017)

Jennifer Chan, Account Coordinator:

This past year was a significant one for myself. There’s been challenges and there’s been successes. I’ve learned a lot in the role of Account Coordinator at a marketing agency that specializes in mobile experiential activation. Exactly one year ago, Jam Van gave me the opportunity to stretch my wings and see where my talents lie. Starting out as a brand ambassador doing wine tastings, corporate events, in-store food samplings, and much more, I advanced the position of a Field Manager after a year. From there, I worked with brands such as Krave, Chipits, and Rogers Cup, before I realized, this is what I want to do as a career. From recruitment to on-site supervision, from final reports to sponsorship, from strategy and ideation to execution, my journey will continue into 2018 with a creative company and team.    

It’s Morphin’ Time with the Power Rangers film (Vancouver – March 2017)

Duane Jackson, Production Manager:

As I get “older and wiser” or is that “older and slower” the year always seems to go by quicker and quicker.  2017 was definitely one of those years and with it there were ups and downs, exciting campaigns, big wins and losses.  It was fun working with returning clients as well as the new clients, not to mention a return to our musical roots.  We did some amazing stuff with Olé, USS and the Coalition team that I hope culminates to a return engagement (who gives their fans smoothies and ramen??).  The year also included a first for me in designing an entire interior and exterior wrap for the Jam Van.  What started out as a concept design ended being a full build from top to bottom.  We added some great new dynamic individuals to the team but we also lost some great teammates and friends who will always be a part of the Jam Van family.  Bon Voyage 2017 and looking forward to 2018 with great anticipation!

Posing in front of the floral wall for Motrin across Canada (Spring 2017)

Working at a boutique experiential marketing agency provides opportunities that you wouldn’t have at a large marketing agency. For better or for worse this means that you may get the opportunity to jump into roles that you wouldn’t have had the chance to do otherwise. Below are some of the things that I learned this past year in the capacity of butcher, baker and candlestick maker here are Jam Van:

1)      You can never have too many pairs of scissors. These suckers always disappear when you need them the most.

2)      Coffee is your best friend.

3)      Beware when trimming Astro turf; that green stuff will go everywhere and be stuck in places for weeks to come.

4)      Drinking coffee keeps you going like the energizer bunny.

5)      Pranking co-workers is a socially acceptable way to blow off steam.

6)      Caffeine is everything.

7)      There is no value you can put on those great BA’s that will jump in at the last minute and help with anything. You have 3000 gift bags to kit? They’re there with smiles on their faces.

8)      You know what’s great? Chocolate covered espresso beans.

9)      There is no smile bigger than that of someone who realizes that they get free samples. Be it food, hair products or popcorn.

10)   Coffee solves all problems.

11)   Murphy’s Law: The printer will go on the fritz when you need it the most.

12)   The best question in the world, “Does anybody want a coffee? I’m going to the coffee shop.”

13)   Elvis’ are like snowflakes; there are no two alike. At least that was the case at the Elvis Festival in Collingwood, ON.

14)   Coffee = Survival Juice

15)   When all else fails, just keep on smiling.

PS….did I mention coffee?

TIFF Kids (Toronto – February 2017)

Robert Laughlin, Account Director:

I may not have been a year, but the last two months have been a journey.  Jam Van has given me the platform take my visions of experiential marketing and turn them into a reality for myself, but moreover the fantastic clients I am able to work with daily.  This has been the first time in my career where I have had the autonomy to show clients the true potential that experiential marketing can bring to any given campaign whether it is using a Jam Van, a food truck, a custom trailer, a custom build interactive display, a custom event space, or even something as simple as a sampling program.

The ability to offer all forms of experiential marketing under one roof make it very exciting to engage with our clients and truly enjoy, without restriction, the creative process for creating something unique and inspiring.  Jam Van is truly going in a direction that allows us to Expose, Engage, and Excite!

We asked if we could test drive but Audi said, “No.” Audi Promotion (Fall 2017)

Viktor Arzethauser, Senior Account Manager

And the holidays are here again! Marking the end of yet another year. For us living the agency life, that means anywhere between 2 and 48 drinks, signing of a million Christmas cards and some time to step away from our computers and reflect on the year gone by. For Jam Van, it’s been a particularly exciting year of growth and expansion. From our team, to our offerings, we’ve seen growth on all fronts. Beyond pushing our boundaries internally, we’ve really been pushing our clients to think beyond our core offerings and the response has been fantastic. Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t always an easy process but it’s something that has helped us as an agency better provide unique solutions for our clients. With all that being said, we still activated many unique mobile campaigns including but not limited to: food trucks, salons, live music stage, retail showroom, pop up shop and a cocktail lounge to name a few. Our core will always be on street with boots on the ground, through grassroots campaigns that focus on 1 on 1 engagements. Moving forward, 2018 is already looking even brighter, with a number of mobile experiential campaigns, food truck tours and pop up shops already in the books, we’re all really excited but know that we’ll need the rest of the holidays to meet these challenges head on.

Hitting the streets with CAA Street Squad (2017)

Gary Francis, Managing Partner

After executing several campaigns across the country from Vancouver to Montreal, we’ve learned a few things over the past twelve months. We’ve driven brands forward with experiential campaigns for clients such as:  CAA (Street Squad), Tresemme (Glam Van), Summer Fresh and Motrin (J&J). By managing and planning some complex logistics for these campaigns it forced us to stretch our wings and better our creative prowess.

In addition to modifying and improving the versatility of our Jam Van vehicles, we continued to challenge ourselves to create other unique place-based, exhibit (non-mobile) OOH properties like the giant 15’ hand for 20TH Century Fox’s’ X-Men Apocalypse.  We also developed a cool digital wall for Audi, to promote the German Marques’ RS7.  Further, we’ve been experimenting with new offline tools marrying live, online measurement systems to enhance activations and provide insightful analytics to improve ROI measurement. Great marketing must be able to effectively leverage the tools of the trade to meet the rising bar of customer experience expectations.  In addition to leveraging available tools, we’ve deployed the strategy of “slow-marketing,” something that has emerged from the shadows over the past few years. Instead of jumping on the newest, shiny social network platform and incorporating into our executions, we’ve been focusing more on improving key program elements and time spent with targeted consumers to yield better customer relationships — local, relevant, personalized and entertaining means of brand engagement.

Going into the new year our hope is to further our strategic vision for enhancing consumer interactions through experiential marketing, and to leverage the amplification, online and digital marketing offers as we continue our quest in marrying offline and online marketing.

27 Days On The Road With Jam Van

By Robert Laughlin, Account Director

On November 1st, 2017, I began my JAM VAN journey.  It was a decision that was not taken lightly, however 27 days in, I have come to realize that joining the JAM VAN team was the best decision I ever made in my career thus far.

After meeting with the ownership and the various partners over two months prior to my appointment, I was given the opportunity to take the reigns as the Account Director.

Leading up to the first day of this new opportunity, I was apprehensive, asking myself:

“What is the team going to be like with me coming in as the incumbent? Do I have a strong team in place or will I have to be the bad guy? Am I going to be able to make the changes I need to make? Will I be able to make a real difference and help grow not only the company, but the careers of all of my co-workers?” And most of all, “did I make the right decision to take this new job?”.  These I’m sure are questions anyone moving into a senior management role with ask themselves, and I have found the “writing is on the wall” within the first 30 days.

To my delight, after my first 27 days, I asked myself the most important question again, “did I make the right decision taking this new job?”, and the answer was a without hesitation, “yes”.

The account team that works with our clients to manage their project and campaigns are bar none. To my delight they all have an intimate knowledge of experiential marketing in their various roles and responsibilities. They continually impress me with their creative solutions and thinking. As I worked with them on a daily basis, side by side, the biggest surprise to me is that I found myself learning as much from them as they are learning from me. This is a sign of a truly strong and cohesive team.

My colleagues welcomed me with such enthusiasm and have surprised me with their continual growth and progress.

Our operations team has been just as inspiring. Their technical knowledge of the JAM VAN, and also production in general, has made me so confident in our team’s ability to not only execute programs for our clients, but also produce at all scales required. Having national coverage including Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto, the team is able to execute seamlessly in any given market, 365 days a year. The coverage also allows for not only the ability to execute in any given market, but to do so consistently. For any experiential marketing campaign, with or without the JAM VAN, our operations teams are experts within the industry.

I am so happy with my decision to join the JAM VAN family and could not be more excited to see the work that our team will be doing for all of our many current and new clients in the future.

If you want to chat more about the work we do at Jam Van, how we can help you with your next campaign, or even just to say, “Hi”, contact us at


Behind The Scenes With Our Operations Team

By Morgan Little and Justice Mounsey

Ever wondered what it’s like to pull back the curtain and go behind the scenes of a marketing activation? Sure it’s easy to think that once the planning in the office of an experiential campaign is done that there’s nothing left to do but show up on the day and see the smile on the client’s face. But there’s so much more to it…approximately 50% more! Nearly right from the start, a good operations team is there working alongside to provide logistics and planning for the campaign so that the final result is perfect. After all, this is what they do. With years and years of experience they can provide troubleshooting for nearly every scenario possible. They are jack of all trades, able to rig up any sound system or loose flag or even hop in and field manage if need be. The vastness of their skill set is unbelievable but it has to be. They need to be able to solve any and every problem that may arise.

Creative and planning is necessary for a great campaign but so is having an experienced operations team because without them there would be no activation. With decades of experience our operations team is the best (although we may be a little biased). Read on to see what a campaign is like from two members of our ops team.

One stop shop for Holiday cards. Pick a card, write a note and mail it. All at once! (The Distillery in Toronto November 2016)

By: Morgan Little

From the moment of inception in the boardroom, Jam Van’s operation team kicks into gear prepping for another exciting experiential marketing campaign. Whether it’s converting the van into a food truck for Krave Jerky in Vancouver or having Toronto band USS on board to perform six shows in six locations in one day, ops is ready to handle whatever comes our way. Jam Van’s biggest asset, besides our people that is, are the Jam Vans themselves. They are extremely versatile and one of the keys to our longevity. That being said, don’t be surprised if you see one of our ops team driving the Ecto 1, as we did for the release of the new Ghostbusters movie last year. Now that was a lot of fun!

There is a lot more that goes into mobile marketing campaign than what a consumer sees outside the Rogers Center on game day or when they like a photo on a friend’s instagram account, that was just taken at the Motrin backdrop at the finish line of the Goodlife Marathon #UnstoppableWoman. Our typical day starts hours before the activation begins and finishes well after everyone else has gone home for the day. You’ll find us down at the “Batcave”, which is what we call our warehouse, making sure our Jam Vans are spotless, the tires are shined and the generators have full tanks of gas before we head to our first location. There also may be a stop off to load up on product when we are running a guerrilla sampling program like the one we just finished for Summerfresh. It takes a lot prep time to make sure launch day goes seamless.

Ecto-1 hitting the streets of Toronto (July 2016)

The beauty of the Jam Van is that it can be fully customized to fit any client’s needs. This starts with an exterior wrap and branded illuminated billboards and continues with an interior build-out which can include anything from a custom photo wall designed by Toronto artist Diana Lynn Vandermeulen for Nordstrom to a full on kitchen set with freshly baked cookies for Hershey Chipits. One of the most rewarding aspects of being on the operations team is seeing the client’s face light up when the side of the van opens up and they see their ideas, for the first time, come to fruition.

This is the same feeling we get each day, when we pull up to Ontario Place and concert goers, heading to the Budweiser stage, get their first glimpse of the Universal Records exclusive pop up shop where they can listen to and purchase their favorite band’s album on vinyl or when we surprise holiday shoppers with free personalized Christmas cards and an on board mailbox for them to post them. After all the asset sourcing, floor and light installation, Ikea furniture building and location scouting, this is what makes it all worth it.

When we’re on the front lines, the Van is open to the public and the brand ambassadors are bringing a brand’s key messages to life, that’s when the magic happens. Our duties then, are to ensure a smooth event from start to finish. Optics are everything and it’s our job to keep our eyes open and head on the swivel. You may not even realize we’re there at first glance until we chime in to answer a question that we over hear a consumer ask. Then we’re back to capturing those magic moments that show the client, who can’t always be on site, exactly how well their brand is being received. It takes a well coordinated plan of attack to successfully run a campaign. Communication between the folks in the office, the operations team and the brand ambassadors in the field is essential and having nearly two decades of experience provides Jam Van with the insight and wisdom to execute precisely and efficiently.

LCBO sampling (September 2016)

I know this all sounds glamorous but the brass tacks of what operations does comes down to the nuts and bolts of our day to day, which is ensuring the Jam Vans is in tip top shape. However, this is mobile marketing and we are all well aware that, no matter the preparation, things don’t always go as planned. Being able to react quickly to the unexpected, comes with the territory. We have to be ready to deal with shifting weather conditions, changing parking restrictions, maintaining product supply, managing consumer expectations and a variety of other variables that can change in an instant while on-site and in the thick of things. Needless to say, we have to stay flexible and be quick on our feet. This is one of our biggest challenges but it also keeps things interesting and that’s why we love what we do.

In this social media age, it’s all about the angles (2015)

By: Justice Mounsey

At Jam Van we are fortunate to run experiential marketing for some of the largest and most interesting brands out there. No matter the campaign we believe in a 360 degree approach to the experience. By enticing the senses we can create memorable engagements with the consumers. It is always rewarding to have a hand in capturing those moments that we help create.

Like everyone else we are riding the wave of food festivals and try to attend as many as possible to try out the varied cuisines offered. Everyone remembers that one great dish they had that one day that has stood out in their memories for years. Here at Jam Van, we have had the privilege of providing delicious snacks that have also created some lasting memories over the years for consumers. Eating something different or unique can remind you of an experience you once had and will always stand out in your mind. The opportunity to taste is a lasting impression and a cornerstone of experience.

Good music is always the key to a good time and over the years we have had various concerts in our vehicles, which can convert to mobile stages. From rock to pop to country, we’ve done it all! We’ve all been walking along, heard a good song and looked around to see where the music is coming from. Music makes you want to stick around and listen for awhile. When we our planning our clients’ campaigns we always take great care and consideration in the music choices, as we understand how important this effect is on the public.

Lining up to swipe CAA rewards cards for prizes (2016)

Nothing catches the eye quicker than a large illuminated billboard. Signs can depict anything and everything and lit up, they will always draw attention. The saying of moths to a flame is spot on in these circumstances. The flashing lights on a famous movie vehicle, such as the Ecto 1 which was recently used for a campaign, drew huge crowds as the sight lit up the night sky and attracted people from down the block to come see why the lights were flashing. No matter the lighting, it is a warming glow and we all can find comfort and appeal in that.

Have you ever walked into someone’s home, smelled freshly baked bread and been instantly transported back to your childhood? Scent, as one of the five senses, is a very powerful enticer as the olfactory glands are connected to the memory part of our brains. Think about how smelling the same fragrance your grandmother used or your favourite candle makes you feel. We always try to incorporate scents into our mobile rooms. So the next time you’re at a Santa Claus parade and you smell vanilla, follow your nose and you could end up at our mobile party room that’s waiting for you with freshly baked cookies!

After nearly twenty years we have run a wide assortment of campaigns. Jam Vans packed with children’s clothes and toys that kids can come on board, play with and then add to their Christmas lists for Santa. Or after that big concert when people could come on board and hug and shake hands with their favourite artists. The ability to touch and not just see a brand is a very powerful thing.

For every campaign we always plan and set out to stimulate every sense to create a full and well rounded journey for our consumers. By utilizing these tools, we are able to truly meet our clients’ needs and promote their products. But at the end of the day putting a smile on consumers’ faces isn’t a bad reward either.

Popup sampling on board the Jam Van (2016)

2 Steps To Putting the Wow Factor in Your Next Experiential Campaign

By Duane Jackson, Production Manager

When doing guerilla marketing and having a unique vessel of delivery means you must find a way to attract passersby.  Since most often we are in the hustle and bustle of city centres there must be wow factor added to every marketing campaign to attract the busy on the go commuters.  So rightfully one of the biggest questions we ask ourselves is how do we attract people to our activation, whether it’s mobile or static? The first thing comes to my mind for me is the “Wow Factor”.  By definition “Wow Factor” is a quality or feature of something that makes people feel great excitement or admiration.  And it is that excitement that draws in the crowd.

Taking it to the streets with X-Men (June 2016)

Creating an attractive and exciting display can draw consumers in, promote brands and products and create a rich customer experience.  Here at Jam Van we are fortunate to have a mobile showroom that allows us to be more than a display window in a storefront or an ad on a billboard which in turn is a big proven form of advertising.

LCBO in Toronto (September 2017)

For me there are two main components to create the ultimate “Wow Factor”which are; an eye-catching production and the cast and crew to bring the people in. Creating an eye-catching production that delivers on the wow factor takes teamwork and lots of time to go through ideas on how to capture people’s attention.  The attention to details including displays, props, billboards, and various assets is a huge partaking.  One such activation that comes to mind was for the X-Men Apocalypse movie where after brainstorm sessions the team decided to build a 9-foot-tall scull in the hand of arch villain Apocalypse.  The process to build this out was long and tedious and I won’t lie I was nervous about how this would turn out but the artist/sculptor hit a home run.  It was a spectacular sight and it definitely delivered the “Wow Factor”.  It was a 360-degree piece that attracted people from all corners of the streets and venue spots that we hit.  Step one complete; we have visibly wowed the crowd.

#onlythestrongwillsurvive (June 2016)
Brand Ambassador’s slaying on the streets of Toronto! (June 2016)
Nothing says “Wow Factor” like a giant skull. (June 2016)

Unfortunately, a beautiful display is nothing without its supporting cast.  Our coordinators do an amazing job at finding the right Brand Ambassador and Team Leads to bring our productions to life. This is like finding the missing pieces to a jigsaw puzzle.  How do you find the right people for the campaign that will compliment the visual aspect and bring everything to life?  Creating a great story line to go with the consumer experience is the way to go.  For the most part you want to find enthusiastic and lively people who can reach out to consumers and bring them in for the enhanced one on one experience.  I look at the formula used by Disney World where the staff are known and referred to as “Cast Members”.  Cast members don’t break from their characters when engaging with the public.  This is hard to do but when we have a BA’s and Team Leads that stay true to the task at hand then that equals success!

Wine sampling Toronto, ON (September 2016)

This was delivered in an elegant way when we did a campaign for the LCBO promoting Ontario wines.  Our uniformed Brand Ambassadors were enthusiastic and friendly and engaged with consumers in an inviting way.  Not only did they create a buzz but they convinced people to take pictures and post to social media and stand in lines that were often 30 people deep for their chance to taste a few of the great wines that Ontario wineries have to offer.  Step 2 after attracting people was the main show which was a taste testing that featured two sommeliers who were on board at two different tasting stations. They provided the enriched experience by educating consumers on the various featured red and whites,  which included food pairings for each wine and answering their questions.  Some would say the wine sold itself but without the supporting cast there would have been a less enthused crowd.  And believe it or not with one serving per day policy people would find us again the following day to try a new wine and learn more about the them.

Wine taste testing! (September 2016)
Bring on the day at the TURF Festival in Toronto, ON (September 2016)

And there you have it my two golden criteria to creating and delivering the wow factor.  If you can have the right cast that can stay in character and a good director (Team Lead) and an eye-catching display to suit your brand then you’re on your way to completing the “Wow Factor”!

Want to know how I can help you create the “Wow Factor” for your next campaign? Contact me at or 416-203-2375


What is Experiential Marketing: 5 Movie Examples

The movie industry has always leveraged cutting edge marketing tools. From fan magazines of the 30’s and 40’s to social media today. But that’s not the only way that films use marketing. The industry also uses marketing in their films too. Countless films have ad advertising or marketing execs as main characters’ jobs. Who could forget Matthew McConaughey as fast-talking Benjamin Barry in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days?

Photo opportunity with the Hop bunny mascots (April 2011)

But what about experiential marketing? One of the most common questions we’re asked: what is experiential or event marketing? The textbook answer: a marketing strategy that engages the consumer to experience a brand. But what does that mean? What better way to answer this than to look to Hollywood for examples from movies. Because who doesn’t love a good blockbuster!


First up is What Women Want (2000) with Mel Gibson playing an advertising executive. He and his co-workers are given a box with various items that need promoting. In an effort to understand these items better Mel Gibson’s character sets out testing every single product. The clincher? All items would fall into the category of feminine products; pantyhose, hair mousse, etc. The point however, is that he experiences each and every one of the products as he tries them on allowing him to truly understand the product itself, as well as the brand behind it.

Coppertone sampling at David Pecault Square (Toronto, ON June 2016)

What do the films The Five-Year Engagement (2012) with Jason Segal and Emily Blunt and Chef (2014) with Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara and Robert Downey Jr. have in common? If you guessed food trucks, you’d be right! Food trucks are relatively new to the marketing stage. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, food trucks are experiential marketing. What better way to get the product (in this case food) to consumers than to take it mobile and go where ever consumers are. Genius! From full meals to sampling, food trucks cover all the bases of experiential marketing and the immersive experience.

The Jam Van was turned into a dorm room complete with video games for Disney’s Monsters U (Toronto, ON June 2013)

Next up, a little bit of girl power. When promoting a brand/product, agencies tend to go very linear with their campaigns. But never was there a better example of thinking outside the box or immersing the consumer in a brand than the Oscar award winning, Spiceworld (Just kidding about the Oscar). Featuring the 90’s pop group, Spice Girls. The idea for the film is rumoured to have originated with the girls themselves, which just goes to show that branding has been around a lot longer than Instagram. A 93-minute interaction with a consumer is unheard of in marketing, but in 1997 that’s what was achieved with this film. To put this in perspective, in this fast-paced world, marketers have seconds to make an impression with a consumer whether on a billboard or a commercial, so 93 minutes is an eternity. (It was also probably an eternity for any parent who had to sit through the film with their children.) Spiceworld grossed $77 million at the box office worldwide and over $100 million in DVD sales. This may seem like a small amount compared to what today’s CGI blockbusters bring in but considering the film was pretty much just a commercial for a product, that’s pretty amazing!

hanging out with some eye candy with Trojan in Toronto, ON (June 2015)

Lastly, we have Friend’s With Benefits (2011) where we watch Mila Kunis’ character convince Justin Timberlake’s character to move to New York. Selling New York and all it has to offer, Mila Kunis’ character highlights the classics with the likes of the Brooklyn bridge, street food, sweeping vistas atop a building and lastly the marketing execs hub, Times Square. Where flash mob dancers perform the subliminal classic, New York, New York. This would definitely be categorized as experiential marketing with the characters experiencing and immersing themselves in the brand, which in this case was New York City. Especially, with the use of flash mobs having gained in popularity the last few years and the rise of viral videos. It’s the perfect combination for an immersive involvement with a brand.


At the end of the day, experiential marketing is anything that allows the consumer to get one-on-one with a brand. It’s the up, close and personal for consumers and brands. And why does this work? Because it’s authentic and not to mention shareable. According to an EventTrack 2016 Survey, 98% of consumers create digital or social content during events or experiences and of those consumers, 100% share that content. It’s easy to tell a consumer through a TV spot that something tastes or smells good but how to get them to believe it? Create a scenario that allows a consumer the opportunity to try the item themselves at a pop-up mobile marketing vehicle. And when a consumer finds out for themselves that a product tastes/smells/or is as great as the ads say it is? That’s how you build brand loyalty with consumers coming back again and again. Which is why all marketing should include an experiential component.

To find out how Jam Van can help you add an experiential element to your next campaign, reach out to us at 416-203-2375 or email

Trying out “Martian Food” for The Martian in Toronto, ON (September 2015)

Back To School: A Marketer’s Perspective

By: Gary Francis

For as long as I’ve been a “student” of Jam Van, back-to-school (BTS) has been a key time to connect with consumers. September is the new January, a time of year when people focus on getting back to work after the holidays and set their sights on achieving their personal and professional goals. Students are no different. From those enrolled in preschool through graduate school, BTS is a time to re-affirm ambitions and reset goals.

BMO Mortgage Cross Canada Campaign (Calgary 2015)

As a marketer, I feel this is a good time to establish new connections with students and use the opportunity to build brand connections and trust; especially as we move towards the winter holiday season. However, for optimal business results, I feel brands need to shift their timing to connect with students from the month or sometimes two before school starts – what is typically called BTS “season” – to once school begins.  In a 2016 study conducted by the National Retail Federation, only 15 percent of college shoppers – including students and parents of students – completed their BTS shopping by early August. Additionally, survey participants who had not yet completed their shopping were asked which shopping categories the remaining items on their lists belonged. For college-aged consumers, 61 percent needed to still purchase school supplies, 50 percent clothing and 33 percent personal care items. While many consumers shop early, millions of others shop late, and there are also those who spread out their spending for school-related purchases throughout the year. So while BTS retail season serves as a key time for brands to connect with students, drive brand messaging and execute sampling and trial initiatives, for their valued products and services, the focus and attention should be extended or better yet, re-marketed during to further brand loyalty and trust with students the month(s) before the winter holiday season. There is a tremendous opportunity for marketers to continue messaging and promoting products, building brand loyalty and trust with students in the months leading into the largest consumer spending season – the seasonal holidays.  

Estee Edit for Estee Lauder (Toronto, ON July 2016)

Why change:

Despite the seismic changes in consumer purchase behavior, many brands, organizations and key-stakeholders such as retailers continue to hang onto the old paradigm that reaped them millions and remain tied to calendar milestones i.e. spring break, summer, BTS and winter holidays. The fact is students today can’t be fit into a neatly closed box, as they vary in age, interests, reasons for going to school and rationale for buying. Therefore, it’s important brands are able to serve students’ needs at different times of the year as it relates to school. Although I certainly see a real value in redefining the marketing cycle, focused on more year-round efforts rather than BTS. I feel it most prudent to recommend to brands, to make only a minor adjustment in how they plan and market during the months between BTS season and the winter holidays to reinforce positioning, offerings and trust. The goal is to stay invested and “needed,” in the minds of students during these key purchasing cycles.

Having fun with Sugar Bear and Sugar Crisp (Toronto, ON, October 2015)

The retail world is in a state of constant change.  As such, so should brand strategy and lessons learned. Ironically, it would only require a little more planning, not additional spending to necessarily sustain and reinforce value. Brands who leverage this marketing strategy will surely reap millions from saved monies, not having to discount their products to persuade their hard-earned customers to come back.

Summer Fresh on the Move in Toronto (September 2017)


By: Jennifer Chan

What a summer we had at Jam Van for 2017! Our cross-country tour with Motrin was a major hit. As mentioned in the article, “The Johnson & Johnson brand is touring popular races and marathons to help boost unaided awareness.” ( The campaign ran through May and June with a Motrin-branded Jam Van travelling to four different markets in Canada. For those of you not familiar with the pharma brand, the company is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, with medication that targets pain and fever relief. In order to educate consumers about the brand, its uses and benefits, drive trial to sales, and brand affinity, J3, J&J’s in-house marketing agency, chose Jam Van, with nearly 20 years of experience in mobile exhibit executions.

Shoppers Run For Women at Edworthy Park in Calgary, ON (June 11, 2017)

Motrin offers a wide variety of options for consumers to handle their pain. Shoppers have access to Motrin Tablets, Platinum Muscle & Body Caplets, and Liquid gels to provide families with products to help them feel better and make the most of every day. Motrin is committed to helping consumers push through pain and continue with their busy, active lives. Targeting headaches, fever, sore muscles, inflammation, joint and back ache, sprains and strains, and menstrual cramps.

Signing up and receiving Motrin back packs Calgary,
AB (June 2017)

This was the fuel in creating the Unstoppable campaign targeting the women who are the engine that keeps everything going. In their careers and families, mommy groups and social networks, their energy radiates and is infectious. They’re busy and they love it. They treat decisively, live dynamically, and refuse to let pain put their life, or the lives of those they love on hold. The Jam Van group created an interactive and unique marketing experience at events and local hotspots, included incentives, savings, and trial, leveraged mobility and eye-catching elements to attain maximized outreach.

Motivating athletes with positive messages! Toronto, ON (May 2017)

A Jam Van was fully wrapped in bright orange, while the interior was full of décor that offered an inviting and comfortable space to relax after a race. Branded drawstring tote bags, water bottles, and coupons were given away but the highlight of the set-up was the floral backdrop photo opportunity. A unique structure behind a podium allowed runners to capture a memorable take-home photo that commemorated the event. In addition, yoga mats and foam rollers for post-stretching were well-received.

Post race photo ops in Calgary, AB (June 2017)

The activation visited Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver, participating in several sporting events including: GoodLife Fitness Marathon, Run for H20, Color me Rad, and Shoppers Run for Women. Scheduled locations included hotspots, fitness clubs, and parks such as Trinity Bellwoods Park, Yonge and Dundas Square, Parliament Hill, Stephens Avenue Walk, Eau Claire Market, Seawall, Coal Harbour Quay and Sunset Beach Park. These carefully scouted areas aligned with our strategies to reach the right demographic and accomplish key objectives for this campaign. Combining Jam Van street parking permit expertise and event sponsorship allowed the team to be successful.

Post race Recovery Zone in Ottawa, ON (May 2017)

The biggest challenge when developing and executing a concept for a pharmaceutical company are the regulations surrounding the marketing and distribution of medication. The legalities are long winded and require a large of time and manpower to cover every rule in the book. An issue we had with driving experiential was being unable to deliver physical tablets on location. However, many consumers were just as happy to fill in their information for a trial to be sent directly to them.

“Oddly enough, while I was in the hospital Motrin is all that would work for my pain. Even worked better than percocets, which I know sounds weird. I was just grateful not to be in pain.” – Andrea, 27

“I saw you guys yesterday at the marathon and took pictures to send my friends. I wanted my friends to see what I needed after the run and you were all there.” – Marcus, 45

One stop Recovery Zone on-board the Jam Van in Toronto, ON (May 2017)

It was only natural for pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to join partnership with experiential marketing agency Jam Van Inc. in making this campaign as successful as it was. Together, this mobile pop-up can reach almost 1 million consumers across Canada. Jam Van has optimized their expertise in OOH media advertising to bring the Motrin brand to four major markets. If you are interested in mobile experiential marketing, we can customize a program to suit your personal brand.

Eau Claire Market in Calgary, Alberta (June 9, 2017)