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

What exactly is an Escape Room? You may ask. Picture this – you are in a locked room. You have a few random clues and you have no idea how to get out. You may think this is just another plot from one of many Saw film franchises however it is certainly the makings of an Escape Room experience. This ‘craze’ involves friends all the way to 12 players – based on where you book – who have to make use of physical and mental agility to unlock door after door, moving from room to room frantically finding out cryptic clues. The catch? You have just 60 minutes to break free.

Obviously this is not a fresh concept but after years of virtual reality parading whilst the cool big brother in the world of immersive experiences, escape rooms have been confidently working through the experiential ranks to take the title of legitimately ‘wow’ ;.And in addition, sharp marketers have tracked this and are now actually finding innovative ways to increase the contact with the experience. The ‘tie-in’ type of marketing agreement is apparently 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 taken over by FOX in time for the launch of a fresh series of Prison Break, and HBO setting up a multi-room installation themed around Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley. Smart.

Although this kind of marketing can also be nothing new by itself, what makes it successful is that the merchandise marry perfectly with the knowledge, and we all know that customers are, a lot more than ever, compelled to pay their money on ‘doing’ rather than through traditional advertising methods, i.e. simply ‘watching’ ;.

This trend may be linked back to the entire world of video gaming and eSports. Marketers would launch games then host ‘real world’ experiences: events, competitions and interactions that complimented the gameplay and caused it to be tangible. This is where clever partnering and collaboration comes in. The perfect partnership here will be founded on a mutually beneficial commercial relationship where in fact the escape room company and the IP (or copyright) owners work 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 when they linked up with Ubisoft, the creators of fantasy behemoth Assassin’s Creed, to obtain ahead of the game and create an escape room orchestrated across the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. America’s Escape Game, Marriott Vacations Worldwide and Vistana Signature Experiences also collaborated to create the worlds of hospitality and entertainment together, that will be now an increasing trend. Alex Reece, CEO of America’s Escape Game, commented in an 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 is no doubt that powerful alliance will bring the exploding escape room experience to numerous enthusiasts through the entire world.”

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