Brands stage unique experiences to help strangers connect

Two-thirds of youth think that finding new ways to form friendships gets more difficult as they get older. New apps have been developed for niche meetups, such as connecting with fellow travelers or meeting romantic partners with similar interests. Brands are also producing campaigns that help connect strangers, both online and in person, to create an emotional touchpoint.


Though it’s not a fully immersive VR drinking experience, Label 5 consumers can enjoy a whiskey virtually with a fellow drinker. To participate in the brand’s "High 5: Say Cheers to the World" campaign, users upload a selfie of themselves with their drink to the website. Two user-submitted photos are paired up to appear as though they’re raising their glasses in a toast together, which can be shared to the brand’s photo gallery and on social media. The two users are also connected via email to extend the virtual experience.


Rather than a dating app to help people find romantic connections in airports, the Nonstop Music Moments campaign by Southwest and Coca-Cola brought traveling strangers together virtually over their common taste in music. Travelers in Dallas or Atlanta airports over Memorial Day weekend and in Nashville and Chicago airports one weekend in June were invited to answer questions about their music preferences to be connected via a live audio and video feed with a remote stranger. Participants earned Coca-Cola rewards and shareable photos of the interaction.


Ten lucky Tinder users in London who swiped right when a Ford Mustang appeared on their app were set up with a partner to go on a blind date sponsored by both brands. Users were treated to a drive in a Mustang with in-person entertainment by comedian Jarred Christmas to their date destination at a drive-in movie theater. The interactive campaign had more than 1.5 million interactions; Ford also produced an immersive test-drive experience through an Escape the Room-style game for consumers in NYC.