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Does a Person Need to Be Physically Present for a Brand Experience to Resonate? | Adweek

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Perhaps one of the best, and most awarded, examples of how resonant a purely online experience can actually be is the project at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Through a series of incredible short films, live audio recordings and realistic 3-D animation, the site artfully helps us imagine (and feel) what it might have been like to be aboard that first manned spacecraft to the moon. Initially broadcast live to coincide with the actual timing of the original mission, the site is now in self-guided mode. But there is no doubt that it is an experience that makes you feel as if you were there. Emotionally and physically. And it’s presented entirely online.

There are those who still argue that real-life experiences resonate much deeper with consumers than their virtual counterparts. In his book Spectacle, author David Rockwell writes, “The experience of a virtual community pales in the face of the physical experience of a spectacle.”

While his point has some validity (I can’t imagine a virtual Burning Man), the Internet, mobile ubiquity and social media are radically reforming the frontier of what it means to have something happen to somebody.

It’s just a matter of time before technology erodes the foundation of Rockwell’s claim.

Case point: You can actually explore Seinfeld's apartment online.

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