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How to increase ROI with a Mobile Bar at a Brand Activation

April 20, 2022 by Tom Bronock

A mobile bar solution offers much more to a brand activation than a location to serve drinks from.

They give brands the opportunity to connect with consumers in a real-life environment, something which is increasing valuable in the digital first marketing world.

With over a decade of experience providing mobile bar pop-ups for drinks brands and private events, here’s what we’ve learned about why you should consider a mobile bar at your next event.

What is a Mobile Bar?

2m wood panel bar

A mobile bar is a free-standing bar unit which can be installed at multiple locations.

This can be just the bar unit itself, or a bespoke bar built into a trailer or modified vehicle. Like a food truck, portable bars are designed to be easily transported and installed at external events.

The mobile bar is so much more than the image the term conjures.

We see a mobile bar as serving consumers high quality drinks in a connected and engaged environment.

A mobile bar at Warm Up festival

The possibilities of having a mobile bar integrated into an activation are endless. Here are a few ideas:

Fully Branded Mobile Bar: branding a mobile bar from top to bottom through vinyl wraps, Foamex and custom POS

Bespoke Mobile Bar: start from scratch and build a fully bespoke activation bar from the ground up to be reused and repurposed at other live activations or tradeshows.

Clad Mobile Bar: create a custom fascia, bar tops and other elements to create a more immersive aesthetic for the mobile bar.

What are the benefits of a Mobile Bar at a Brand Activation?

A TCS bartender sets up a themed mobile bar at a private event at Euridge Manor
A TCS bartender sets up a themed bar at a private event at Euridge Manor

The benefits of a mobile bar as a component to a brand activation are numerous:

Mobile bars create value in the “experience economy”

A study by Eventbrite recently found that nearly eight in 10 (77%) millennials said some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended or participated in.

69% believed that attending live events and experiences makes them more connected to other people, the community, and the world.

This shows that as generational shifts are happening, brand marketers need to take heed and understand a blend of digital and live experience is essential as online fatigue creeps in post pandemic.

We feel that brand activation is about connecting people and in terms of drinks brands, a mobile bar is an obvious starting point to build a live experience around.

Mobile bars influence customer behaviour

A mobile bar integrated in a brand activation creates a focal point for consumers to go too.

In general, consumers need a draw, a place to head towards initially.

Without a bar this could simply be an ambassador or promotional team on the stand.

But ask yourself, what triggers the initial impulse to approach the stand?

How do you manage high volume with your whole promotional team already engaged with consumers on the stand?

Design your mobile bar to be eye-catching and inviting, a place consumers can go and engage with the bar teams and enjoy a drink.

It acts as a waiting area, staggering arrivals to the stand, meaning that each guest gets the full attention of the brand ambassador team.

Having this first smaller brand touchpoint is a fantastic way to build trust with guests who need more encouragement before engaging with an ambassador team.

Mobile bars create energy

Brand activations are all about dynamics.

To achieve success for brand activation you need multiple elements that create atmosphere and a dynamic that attracts consumers.

This can be anything from a great sampling or promotional team, great production, consumer engagement tools or a mobile bar.

Bars in general are known for atmosphere, energy, and fun. Mobile bars allow you to bring this experience to multiple locations, allowing you to access new potential customers.

Mobile bars offer value trade off

A mobile bar serving delicious cocktails, drinks or samples is the ideal value trade off mechanic.

What we mean by this is it’s an opportunity to trade a consumer’s time, contact details or sign ups with a drink. Value trade-off is important and it’s a key pillar of marketing, particularly online, but increasingly in the live experience market.

Asking yourself what your brands value trade off will be is important and there’s no better way to do this then via a mobile bar serving great drinks.

Mobile Bar Examples

Don’t just take our word for it; learn from these innovative examples of how a mobile bar can be a cornerstone of successful brand activation.

Red Bull Lab Bar Activation

A bartender in a black hat and sunglasses pours from a vodka bottle into a spirit jigger with a Red Bull branded cup in the foreground and the Red Bull logo behind. From the Red Bull Lab Bar activation at Latitude Festival 2021

Brought in by Red Bull to help deliver their activations at Wilderness and Latitude, our team were required to communicate key brand messaging to consumers in a fun and engaging way.

They also needed to serve high volumes in a challenging arena, drive revenue and maintain absolute continuity across the perfect serves from a mobile bar.

TCS developed and delivered the ‘Lab Bar – Cocktail Masterclass’ concept to 1,000 guests across the activations, which was a critical consumer engagement tool at both festival sites.

We created the cocktails and ran informative and educational cocktail classes for up to 20 guests per session.

These cocktail masterclasses gave guests the tools to create incredible Red Bull cocktails at home, and created important brand touchpoints in the busy festival environments.

Grenade Product Launch

Two brand ambassadors serving at the launch of a a zero sugar energy drink by Grenade

Grenade approached our team to help deliver their product launch for the new Grenade Energy Drink.

The mobile bar solution was the focus of the launch which saw our

team of mixologists mixing cocktails for 200 guests, made up of press, VIP’s, and Ambassadors. which added to the multiple activities Grenade were producing at the launch.

Adding the mobile bar created focal point for the multiple activities at the event.

A critical atmosphere and energy was so important to Grenade for the launch, and the mobile bar delivered a great user experience.

Bunga Bunga At Queens Club

Long-time client Inception Group approached our team to deliver a mobile bar solution that would cater for a busy VIP brand activation at Queens Tennis Championships.

We delivered mobile bar operations for the exclusive members enclosure at the world-renowned Wimbledon warm up tournament.

The Cocktail Service team handled all logistical bar operations onsite including venue management, cocktail bartenders, equipment, glassware, and EPOS systems.

Our teams delivered an incredible live event service before full financial and stock reconciliation before debriefing.

The mobile bar solution was a critical aspect of this brand activation for Bunga Bunga and showed the potential that a mobile bar can bring to activations.

Why having a Mobile Bar at a Brand Activation drives ROI?

Successful brand activation is about connecting with as many consumers as possible in a brand positive way.

As we’ve covered, a mobile bar can be a great tool to achieve this. As we know, marketing spend needs to be proven to get results.

Top line this comes through assessing total spend vs. consumer engagement and a mobile bar can help deliver additional footfall as well as keeping dwell time high.

How much is Mobile Bar hire?

We offer several cost-effective mobile bar options for every budget.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Mobile Bar Hire, including our tips for mobile bar hire, or find out more about our Mobile Bar options.

For inspiration, check out these best outdoor mobile bar companies.


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