It Pays to Get Locked Up! Escape Rooms: The Marketers’ New Playground


One may think that being locked up is just a thing of nightmares, well now it’s the new cool. Sweeping en-vogue industry events like the South By Southwest (SXSW) Conference, the Escape Room is the attraction getting everyone talking. And it’s not merely the participants, because this newfangled love of immersive experience is opening a door to innovative marketing opportunities, too.

What precisely can be an Escape Room? You could ask. Picture this – you’re in a closed room. You’ve several random clues and you have no idea getting out. You might think this really is just another plot from one of the Saw film franchises however it is in fact the makings of an Escape Room experience. This ‘craze’ involves an organization as high as 12 players – depending on where you book – who’ve to make use of physical and mental agility to unlock door after door, moving from room to room frantically figuring out cryptic clues. The catch? You’ve just 60 minutes to break free.

Obviously this is simply not a new concept but after years of virtual reality parading since the cool government on the planet of immersive experiences, escape rooms have now been confidently working through the experiential ranks to take the title of legitimately ‘wow’ ;.Not surprisingly, sharp marketers have tracked this and are now finding innovative ways to increase the contact with the experience. The ‘tie-in’ design of marketing agreement appears to be the ruling formula for this.

Famous examples currently include Disney hosting a pop-up escape experience related to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Escape Game in Austin Texas (America’s most popular escape experience) being absorbed by FOX over time for the launch of a new group of Prison Break, and HBO creating a multi-room installation themed around Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley. Smart.

Although this kind of marketing can also be nothing new in itself, why is it successful is that the merchandise marry perfectly with the knowledge, and we all know that individuals are, significantly more than ever, compelled to spend their money on ‘doing’ as opposed to through traditional advertising methods, i.e. simply ‘watching’ ;.

This trend could be linked back once again to the world of video gaming and eSports. Marketers would launch games then host ‘real world’ experiences: events, competitions and interactions that complimented the gameplay and made it tangible. This really is where clever partnering and collaboration comes in. An ideal partnership here could be founded on a mutually beneficial commercial relationship where the escape room company and the IP (or copyright) owners come together to garner maximum exposure and expand the customer base, prompting a ‘win: win’ arrangement.

Escape 60 in Brazil pulled off a blinding example with this in 2015 if they linked up with Ubisoft, the creators of fantasy behemoth Assassin’s Creed, to have in front of the game and create an escape room orchestrated around the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. America’s Escape Game, Marriott Vacations Worldwide and Vistana Signature Experiences also collaborated to bring the worlds of hospitality and entertainment together, that is now an increasing trend. Alex Reece, CEO of America’s Escape Game, commented in a interview at the time (October 2016), “We view a very bright future of incorporating escape rooms powered by America’s Escape Game in multiple Vistana locations in the coming months and years. There’s without doubt this powerful alliance will bring the exploding escape room experience to many enthusiasts throughout the world.”

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