Fake Blood and Dungeon Walls: A Very Metal Case Study in Experiential Branding
Are you familiar with the metal band Gwar? If not, the bar dedicated to them in Richmond, VA, might not make any sense to you. But for fans, it's a shrine to the costumed heroes of theatrical rock.
GWAR is known for the members' outrageous and intricate costumes, the characters' backstories and lore, and an over-the-top live show that can leave your clothing ruined by the night's end.
So, if you're designing a bar meant to celebrate a band like that, how do you use decorations and installations to accurately capture the band's unique vibe?
A writer in SPIN Magazine recently took the trip to the Richmond bar, and an article shows images like blood-splattered floors, metal fencing, monstrous signage, and other very on-brand decorations.
Every visionary metal band/art collective needs a bar of their own, don’t they?l
The @gwar Bar is an inspiration to flesh-eating metal bands everywherehttps://t.co/VsN3fLQ4E4
— SPIN (@SPIN) April 10, 2023
In terms of menu items, there are specialty drinks like the "Blood Geyser" Gear-themed beer, or the Ragnarök Rye whiskey, which retails at more than $100 per bottle.
During the pandemic, the walls were decorated to look like dungeon walls. And the members come and go, borrowing and dropping off memorabilia, costume items, and props as they see fit, turning it into a rotating museum as much as a night out.
This is, of course, an extreme case in decoration. But, it's a case study nonetheless in capturing a certain brand aesthetic and turning it into an immersive experiences. Brands have been going beyond just signage and T-shirts for their promotional events, so maybe they can take a page from Gwar's book here. Also, musical artists and bands have been going beyond their own typical branding playbooks, so this shows where there's room for even more creativity in music marketing.
You just don't have to use as much fake blood in your own promos if you don't want to.
Brendan Menapace is the senior digital editor for Promo Marketing. While writing and editing stories come naturally to him, writing his own bio does not.