doritos curated event space
February 29th, 2024 | 8 min read
  • Immersive Experiences

Curated Spaces: From Viewing to Experiencing

All curated spaces — in museums, galleries, or experiential marketing — are designed with intention, every item carefully selected. But in museums and galleries, the focus is on the items being curated — and when it comes to experiential marketing, the focus of curation is less on what’s being curated and more on who it’s being curated for.

This shift in focus requires us to consider not just the objects, but also the experience they create. No longer is the audience viewing the space — they’re immersed in it.

When it comes to pop-ups, activations, and other brand expressions, curation is about turning the space into a story. The strategic use of curated rooms and spaces in experiential marketing captivates an audience, creating an immersive, cohesive experience that makes a powerful impact. Whether the goal is brand awareness, increased sales, or just a fun, memorable experience, curated spaces offer visitors a personalized, relevant experience that tells them a story about your brand and how it fits into their lives. Here are some tips for how you can develop and curate spaces for your target audience.

Start with the Narrative

What story does your brand want to tell? It might be a literal story, with a beginning, middle and end, or it might be more conceptual, guiding visitors through an environment rather than a narrative. Regardless, the story must align with your brand’s values and identity — it needs to be consistent with your messaging across other media.

For a 2023 event that was part pop-up, part activation, bone broth brand Kettle & Fire wanted to tell the story of America’s flawed food system in a way that would resonate with the public. The immersive six-part activation led guests through an installation that was part museum, part demonstration, and part game, mixing sensory stimuli with hands-on activities.

For eBay’s Hype House, the brand challenged visitors to imagine the online auction site as a house filled with vibrantly colorful, interactive rooms, each focusing on a different category of popular eBay goods: collectibles, handbags, watches, sneakers, and other eBay mainstays. For example, an all-blue bedroom served as a photo booth and featured sought-after books, concert tickets, and iconic sneakers, while the all-red game room featured vintage arcade games and collectible cards. The narrative eBay tapped into was the stories of consumers’ daily lives, and the ways they’re made better by the online auction brand.

ebay house custom installation

For the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), content hub Reddit created an immersive, curated experience that modeled a hypothetical user’s journey through Reddit, and the opportunities created for brands who advertise on the channel. Described in detail in an article, the exhibit consisted of a series of curated spaces depicting the user’s Reddit browsing activity, from planning a road trip to seeking tech advice to sharing beauty tips.

When Doritos launched its first spirit, the brand celebrated by curating a Doritos-central space that felt like a nightclub, not a sales pitch. Triangles and intense red decor, rather than overt branding, evoked the brand’s nacho cheese flavor. And the space had a story to tell, too: “The storyline for the marketing campaign was that the Doritos flavor went missing and the reveal was that the nacho cheese flavor was found in the Doritos x Empirical spirit,” according to a bizbash article. Working within that storyline, the brand and its partners created an environment that aimed to intrigue attendees and give them a reason to explore the entire event.

Design for All the Senses

Lighting, sound, tactile materials, scents, and tastes help make visitors feel like active participants in the story. The specifics of these sensory inputs will vary by brand, of course, but with some creativity, it’s possible to hit multiple sensory channels regardless of product.

For Kettle & Fire, a taste of the brand’s signature product combined with compelling visuals created a well-rounded picture of the story.

And for a masculinity-redefining activation, grooming products brand Axe worked with Promobile to create an immersive environment on a luxury tour bus. The Axe ChillMobile gave its teenage audience a hyper-cool experience rich in sensory information beyond the many scents of Axe products. Cool lighting and Instagram-ready photo ops created a space that was visually fun and engaging. A styling area offered tactile stimulation along with style tips. A video game area hit on several channels — kinetic, visual, auditory — to provide another immersive dopamine hit.

Incorporate Interactive Elements

Touchscreens, AR/VR and other elements that respond to visitors’ inputs make them feel like part of the journey. Brands have approached this in many ways, from saturating the experience with interactive elements to dropping in a few big-impact experiences within a mixed-media space.

Reddit’s entire CES experience felt like a hands-on museum, according to, with keys and knobs to turn, buttons to push, and, in case visitors miss the cues, a crossed out “Don’t Touch” sign at the entrance.

One of the rooms in the eBay Hype House, a bright-yellow office, featured a custom display case that let visitors visualize luxury watches on their own wrists.

The Kettle & Fire activation offered similar thrills, such as a mock grocery store called “Unlock the Toxin Truth”, where visitors explored shelves stocked with traditional Thanksgiving items and used flashlights to reveal hidden herbicides and additives.

Create Opportunities for Personalization

Interactive features hold visitors’ interest, but allowing visitors to see their actions or choices reflected in the experience forms a powerful connection. Let visitors choose their own path through the “story.” Incorporate sensors that respond to visitors’ actions to make noticeable changes to the environment. Create a way for participants to contribute to the exhibit, such as by taking photos that become part of a photo mosaic.

Celebrity rum brand Ten To One hosted a two-day event to celebrate Black History Month and the launch of its newest spirit. An artist floated through the crowd in the Harlem Renaissance-themed space, drawing portraits of guests and writing custom poems for them — a period-appropriate alternative to the photo booth that makes both a powerful impression and a cool, unique souvenir.

ten to one curated event space

Create Shareable Moments

By now we’ve all seen our fair share of Instagram backdrops — and with good reason, because visitors like them, too. Consider increasing the photo ops by adding a photo booth and custom installations, or by building multiple visually striking vignettes into your curated space. Shareable moments let visitors extend the experience beyond the physical space, and they have that sought-after viral potential.

Incorporate Guided Tours

Encourage discussion and interaction by walking visitors through the curated space and explaining it or inviting them to try interactive elements, play games, take samples, and the like.

Offer an exclusive peek into the inner workings of your brand, product, or the curated space itself. This glimpse behind the curtain creates the transparency modern consumers crave.

Gather Feedback

Curating spaces and experiences around known customer preferences or demographics increases user investment and makes them feel personally invited to participate. Brands can take advantage of this connection by designing interactive features that gather valuable data about customer preferences and behaviors. Here are some other ways to gather feedback about your brand’s curated spaces.

Involve your event staff

Collecting data on experiential marketing efforts requires buy-in and enthusiastic participation from the team members who’ll be staffing the event, but they are a source of priceless information such as the number of people passing through your space, samples handed out, questions asked by visitors, and the like.

Collect visitors’ emails

Build some means of collecting visitors’ contact information into the experience. If the space includes a tech-driven product demonstration, consider requiring an email to unlock it.

Run surveys or conduct brief interviews

You might not be able to get every visitor to spend time taking a survey or answering questions, but it’s worth a try. Offering swag or free food or beverages may persuade them to participate, and conversations with participants as they leave your curated space can offer invaluable information about how they perceived the experience and whether it changed their opinion of your brand.

After the event, following up with leads is also a way to measure your brand’s trade show success by quality of engagement and long-term impact on brand relationships and sales. If you begin tracking those leads immediately after the show, you’ll get a sense of how effective the show was for your brand — and whether it’s worth repeating, tweaking, or changing altogether.


Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.