Campfire | The Mill’s strategic experiential creative team

Campfire is an Emmy, Lion and Clio award-winning team that creates strategies and campaigns to launch new products and entertainment franchises. They specialize in world-class participatory programs and immersive experiences that ignite fan cultures, encourage growth and drive awareness.
Work July 10, 2020

Who are Campfire and what do you do?

Campfire is a specialized team that develops world-class participatory programs and immersive experiences that ignite fan cultures, encourage spread, and drive awareness. This includes press and influencer focused programs like the LEGO Hidden Side, physical activations such as the Hunters Grindhouse & Immersive 70s Experience for Amazon Prime Video or content programs such as The Man in the High Castle: Resistance Radio. It could also start with strategy and positioning work in partnership with HBO leading to a launch program for Watchmen.

 

How would you describe your work?

From content and digital experiences to physical activations, all of our work is connected by a deep understanding of how communities and fans interact, a focus on earned media to generate organic word-of-mouth, and designing for engagement and participation rather than just impressions.

 

What makes how you work unique?

No matter what the outputs might be, our core principles and proprietary approach to designing for communities and earned media applies to everything we do. Give us a call if you’d like to hear more and see how we put our principles into practice.

 

Describe your favorite kind of brief

We love briefs that articulate the business challenge that needs to be solved rather than the solution that needs to be executed. Understanding the true end goal means we can come up with the right solution for a client’s needs.

It’s no secret Covid-19 has hugely impacted Experiential marketing, however do you think it’s affected the business of influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing was undergoing serious changes even before Covid-19, especially around questions of authenticity and value. Influencers who have been more performative/less authentic are struggling to transition to the changes Covid-19 has caused to our culture, which is ultimately a positive shake out.

 

What do you think the future of Experiential Marketing looks like post-covid-19?

That’s a big question with answers that are shifting week to week —  anyone who says they have the answer is lying! That said, we always design our experiential work to spread online, and that will become more essential than ever. While it may take a long time for events and experiences with large crowds to come back, Covid-19 should make clients consider how to bring in the kind of immersive and participatory experiences that achieve results with smaller groups or even individual experiences, such as our Westworld Experience for HBO, or reimagine traditional content through an experience lens, such as our interactive film Deja-View, for Infiniti.

 

What do you predict will be the next craze in fan community/social culture?

Trendy crazes are fun, but they rise and fall in popularity so fast that we rarely recommend jumping on those bandwagons. Fans want to interact with each other, they want to celebrate their passion for the things they love, and they want to feel like their participation in a fan community or with a brand is meaningful. Stick with the tried and true principles and whatever you do will resonate with the people you want to reach.

What’s keeping you inspired during isolation? 

Here are some of the things that are collectively inspiring us:

Reading: The Ghastly One by Jimmy McDonough, Coyote Rage by Owl Goingback,  Untamed by Glennon Doyle, Freedom, Designing Miracles

Listening:  Lungfish, Guided by Voices, various shows on WFMU and KCRW, Yo La Tengo’s entire catalog on shuffle, and Downtown Soulville and Burger Radio. Many podcasts, including Armchair Expert, Death, Sex & Money, Hidden Brain, Winds of Change, Sound Opinions, and the NY Times Rabbit Hole

Watching: Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye, Tales from the Loop, Ozark, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, Succession, Joe Pera Talks with You

Misc:  Regular exercise, family meals, board and card games, Peleton biking and YouTube workouts, Tik Tok videos with the kids!

 

Can you give 3 pieces of advice for any client looking to build ultimate buzz and ignite fan culture around their brand? 

  1. Think beyond novelty. While PR is an important KPI, if the fans don’t adore what you are doing then you’ll get a momentary boost but miss the opportunity for long-term benefits.
  2. “Fandom” doesn’t describe what someone is, it describes something they do. That’s a subtle but important distinction.
  3. Call Campfire!

 

You can find out more about Campfire on their Creator Profile.