Campaign: #ShowMeYourWalk Client: JPMorgan Chase Partner: On Board Experiential
When commencement ceremonies across the world were canceled in the wake of COVID-19, Chase sought a way to help graduates celebrate while underscoring the impact that education can have on a person’s life. And with growing unrest around racial injustice in the U.S., the brand needed to reevaluate what its programming looked like. The result? #ShowMeYourWalk, a campaign that encompassed the first-ever virtual graduation ceremony on May 2, as well as a virtual ceremony that specifically focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities two weeks later.
To build buzz for the events, Chase kicked things off with a #ShowMeYourWalk social media challenge on TikTok. The brand invited grads to show off how they would walk, roll, strut or dance across their own version of a graduation stage—all to the beat of a custom remix. To get the campaign rolling and encourage participation, Chase talent Kevin Hart, Stephen Curry and Serena Williams each recorded their own graduation walk videos. And to ensure it was inclusive of teens without TikTok, Chase designed animated GIFs and digital stickers that could be added to videos on Instagram and Snapchat.The results were something worth strutting over: #ShowMeYourWalk became the top trending hashtag on TikTok with 2.8 billion views.
Stella Artois was on the hunt for a way to translate its successful Port de Stella event program into a virtual offering. Bringing the program’s expert-led “Sessions” component to life, the brand delivered Stella Artois [email protected], a weekly content series hosted on IGTV and YouTube featuring celebrities and chefs whipping up their favorite dishes and interacting with consumers. To wrap the campaign, Stella hosted [email protected], a virtual livestreamed concert that helped launch its newest beer, Solstice Lager.
Campaign: Gamescom Client: Airbus Partner: 2Heads Global Design
To attract top IT talent and demonstrate its inclusive ethos, Airbus traveled to Gamescom, where it delivered a League of Legends tournament between its all-female gaming team and attendees at the show. To build buzz for the tourney and draw people to its parallel livestream event, the brand leveraged inclusive #LEVELUP messaging before, during and after the event. The brand also worked with gamer and content creator Lewpac to leverage his robust social following.
Campaign: Mustang Mach-E Reveal Client: Ford Partner: Imagination
A standard launch event for the all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach E simply wouldn’t do, so Ford dreamed up a TV show format designed to drive excitement and buzz. With actor Idris Elba starring as host alongside an array of special guests, the fast-paced show produced across three stages at the Jet Centre in Los Angeles revealed the new vehicle through bite-sized segments spanning live performances, heartfelt interviews, demos and technology displays. Each segment was three minutes or less, ensuring both in-person and livestream audiences stayed tuned in, and Ford even incorporated an augmented reality overlay into the livestream to enhance product demonstrations. With more than 5.9 million views of the 35-minute show within 48 hours of the event, it seems the strategy paid off.
In addition to engagements like a performance by the Detroit Youth Choir, Ford leaned on the focal point of the space—a 28-foot-high pony that served as a platform for projection mapping. During the reveal, electric currents were projected onto the structure to demonstrate the capabilities of the all-electric Mustang. Then, the pony transformed into a portal where a video was played to highlight Mustang’s past and future. Ford’s efforts earned it the third highest-reaching global product launch of 2019.
Campaign: Wonderful Weekends Client: Google Partner: Deeplocal
Google’s products are designed to help consumers make the most of every day and encourage local discovery. Enter: Wonderful Weekends, a festival that helped families experience the communities in which they live. The centerpiece was a gigantic gumball machine that educated attendees about Google products, then dispensed gumballs filled with prizes from local partners. The campaign scaled digitally with an interactive tool that demonstrated how to use Google apps to plan adventures in any city.
Campaign: Wake Up Call Dubai Festival Client: W Hotels Partner: 160over90
To build buzz for the Marriott Bonvoy app and the newly opened W Dubai, W Hotels produced the Wake Up Call Dubai music festival, a multi-stage, hotel takeover featuring a variety of performances, some of which included pyrotechnics and lasers, along with activities like dj masterclasses. To expand its reach, the brand attracted millions of viewers at home through a livestream offering content captured with artists on and off stage, including intimate behind-the-scenes footage.
Dell Technologies’ explorable launch event for press and industry analysts during the Dell Technologies Summit could have relied solely on the set—literally. The experience, developed for the reveal of Dell’s PowerOne server, took place at Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas, on the set of “Alita: Battle Angel,” a 2019 sci-fi film about a cyborg set centuries in the future. The set tied seamlessly into the summit’s theme, Next Data Decade—about the power of data to advance human progress—but it also helped set the scene for attendees who’d be experiencing cool tech first hand.
Among the interactive experiences was a custom virtual reality program, where attendees stepped into a custom built PowerOne “lab” and learned about what’s possible now and what will be possible in the future with the PowerOne server. Later, attendees were treated to a custom drone show that underscored the autonomous infrastructure story that Dell Technologies wove throughout the summit. The choreographed show featured images like an outline of the state of Texas, Dell’s logo and a classic UFO symbol.Other touchpoints included photo ops, marching bands, live music and projection mapping. Ultimately, 90 percent of attendees experienced the activations, a 40-percent increase over the previous year.
Campaign: Coke Energy Launch Clients: Amazon Alexa, Coca-Cola Partners: AGENC, Zeno Group
Energy-boosting drinks are essential to the CES experience. So Coca-Cola teamed up with Alexa Shopping on an interactive experience for the Coke Energy product launch. Attendees interacted with a branded wall, asking Alexa for “Energy.” A voice responded with one of a library of witty quips before a secret trap door opened to reveal a can of Coke Energy. Taking up only 400 square feet on the show floor, this small but mighty activation served up 6,500 samples and 74 million impressions.
Campaign: Next Visions at InBound 2020 Client: Porsche Partners: The XD Agency, Active Theory
Porsche’s Next Visions sponsor experience invited remote attendees to shape and express their personal vision statements. A quiz revealed their “vision spark”—a defining attribute such as “bold” or “brave,” accompanied by a 3D, abstract shape with a customizable color gradient. “Vision coach” voiceovers provided instruction. The graphical statements could then be downloaded and shared, and all the posters created were featured in the interactive Next Visions gallery alongside Porsche content.
Campaign: Museum of Missy Elliott Client: MTV Networks Partner: BMF
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott has become a music video icon, so to drive tune-in to the MTV Video Music Awards, during which the artist would become a Video Vanguard Award recipient, MTV decided to recreate her most iconic video moments. The resulting Museum of Missy Elliott pop-up exhibit served as an interactive, bookable consumer experience primed for producing user generated content. The Instagrammable space shined a light on MTV’s history of connecting artists to audiences through the Video Music Awards, and celebrated the work of Elliott and her collaborators. Among engagements, attendees could snap photos on the sets of popular Elliott videos, visit the Fly Gal nail station to get their “nails did” and relax in the Supa Dupa Fly lounge with a beverage from a Pepsi-sponsored bar.
At the heart of the museum experience, however, was a gesture-based interactive that placed attendees in Elliott’s “The Rain” (Supa Dupa Fly) music video. Leveraging 3D technology to create a hologram experience, MTV allowed fans to virtually wear the famous trash bag dress from the video. The hologram moved with the wearer’s movements, creating hyper-realistic footage that participants could share out to their social followers. Now that’s supa dupa fly.
Campaign: Pixel 4 Motion Sense Experiment Client: Google Partner: Deeplocal
Google’s Pixel 4 smart phone features cutting-edge Motion Sense technology, and to showcase the tech to its Latinx music-loving target, the brand hosted an outdoor Latin Grammy’s performance starring Karol G and DJ Felo. A custom dj rig was built for the event using eight Pixel 4 phones and Google’s Motion Sense technology, enabling DJ Felo to use motion-tracking instead of turntables or a mixing board to perform his set, allowing him to wave his hands over the phones to deliver music.
Campaign: Interactive Storytelling at Davos Client: Cisco Partner: MSM
At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Cisco activated a multi-functional space to showcase how its products and services are driving a more inclusive future in business. One solution came in the form of a wall of 3D-printed, RFID-tagged objects. Attendees were invited to place one of the 12 objects on a glowing pedestal (an RFID reader), which triggered related content on a Webex board about a global organization Cisco had partnered with to make an impact on its cause.
You’re no doubt familiar with the interlocking red and yellow circles that form Mastercard’s brand identity—its visual brand identity, that is. In 2019, Mastercard introduce its first-ever sonic brand identity, a short jingle without words that is meant to form the card issuer’s audio calling card. Part of the rollout for the sonic identity involved activations at Mastercard-sponsored events like the Grammys, Brit Awards, League of Legends esports championship series and Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament. There, Mastercard introduced a first-of-its kind, artificial intelligence-driven social app to create a unique version of the tune for each user based on information they shared about themselves.
At each event, the Mastercard exhibit featured an iPad kiosk running the app, which guests could use to choose a musical genre, a mood and a style. Based on those inputs, the program drew from a database of instruments, sounds, melodies and rhythms to create a personalized music track for that person—after which the app added Mastercard’s brand tune, but in the same style, key and rhythm as the guest’s song. The brand also developed a mobile version of the app and a dedicated microsite so that anyone who wasn’t at Mastercard events could try it out.
Campaign: Daytona 500 Client: NASCAR Racing Experience Partner: N3 Marketing
NASCAR Racing Experience gives fans the chance to drive actual stock cars on actual NASCAR tracks. So what better place to engage possible customers than the Daytona 500. The brand used a web-based video gaming platform (a simple digital “Wheel of Fortune”-style spinner, for example), awarding promo codes, travel certificates and other enticements to winners. In three days around the 2020 race, the company interacted with more than 12,000 fans, and collected 10,000 potential leads.
Campaign: The Rinspeed X-Ray Experience Client: OSRAM Partner: The Taylor Group
Considering that OSRAM develops photonics used in autonomous vehicles, you’d figure they could come up with some rich event technology. And they did. Because its components are often “invisible” to users, the company mounted a 55-inch X-ray monitor on a motorized track so it could move back and forth across the length of an autonomous vehicle, highlighting the inner workings powered by OSRAM technology. Users could control the movement using a 42-inch touch screen that also displayed product information.
To connect with the movers and shakers at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Cisco transformed a cheese shop into a reception area and meeting space. To entertain guests between meetings and networking, the brand showed off stories about how its technology helps clients solve their toughest challenges.
But it was the technology Cisco used to tell those stories that really turned heads. A Cisco Webex video screen was mounted on one wall, a white pedestal positioned just below. On shelves to either side were a dozen all-white 3D-printed objects, each about the size of a large coffee mug: a fleur-de-lis, a small stack of books, a mini washing machine and so on.
Once a user selected any of those items and placed it on the pedestal, an RFID token embedded in the object triggered a brief video on the screen with a story, related to that item, about a client that used Cisco technology to achieve its goals. The washing machine, for example, prompted a vignette about Orange Sky Australia’s mobile washing machine vans providing clean clothes (and Wi-Fi) to homeless people. (The fleur-de-lis, in case you were wondering, led to a story about public safety in New Orleans.)
Intel was set to introduce a new generation of processers and a new platform of premium laptops, but in the new world of COVID-19, how could the brand keep things feeling real? Its solution: a virtual launch event relying on videos shot in extended reality, or XR. The technology enabled Intel execs to appear in a series of hyper-realistic scenes—living rooms, tech labs, even a redwood forest and a San Francisco park—for product demos and consumer use-case videos.
With the pandemic shutting down in-person events and meetings, Dell Technologies needed a way to engage customers that would at least feel like an event. The brand created a virtual headquarters where, from the comfort of their own computers, customers can interact with animated hosts, get a “fly-through” of virtual spaces modeled after the company’s actual offices, attend webinars in a virtual auditorium and join one-on-one meetings. The setup even generates valuable customer data for Dell’s sales team.
Amid a sea (1,900 to be exact) of brands exhibiting at IFA Berlin 2019, Europe’s largest trade show for consumer electronics and appliances—most focused on the show theme of AI and IoT—TCL needed to demonstrate how AI powers its 8K TVs and smart home products without adding to the overwhelming vibe. The solution: to create a virtual TCL Life2 Town that allowed attendees to explore an AI-powered future with TCL’s product categories with real-life scenarios, like a smart home, movie theater, cafes, restaurants and retail stores.
The message went a step deeper as the brand enlisted digital artists to create the components of the virtual Life2 Town—their impressions of a life altered by AI and IoT together—by using cutting edge tools, from 3D illustrations to Google Title Brush motion graphics. The artists shared their works before the show on their social channels to generate buzz.
The mixture of custom, new media art, storytelling and an explorable VR setting helped TCL gain recognition far beyond the show—35,000 new followers on social media, a 733-percent increase in social media engagement, and a 19.9-percent increase in total impressions as compared to IFA 2018.
Campaign: AI Bugs Bunny Clients: AT&T, Warner Bros. Partners: Brightline, Warner Media Innovation Lab
Bugs and the Golden Carrot” at AT&T’s Pinnacle Experience Store in Dallas, Texas, honored Bugs Bunny’s 80th anniversary and offered a futuristic take on entertainment. Consumers engaged with Bugs on-screen to help him find his golden carrot. Afterward, he posed for a 3D selfie. It was all made possible with 5G, cloud computing, AI, speech detection and, of course, AR. What’s up, Doc?
In the age of COVID-19, augmented reality can add dimension to our restricted lifestyles. Capitalizing on the murals well known in Nashville, the Tennessee Titans drummed up excitement for 2020 NFL season by commissioning an immersive mural around the theme “Tennessee Tough.” Located across from Music City Center, consumers could activate the mural, designed with local artist MOBE, by scanning a QR code with their devices. Consumers then pointed their devices at the mural and watched as an animated football player summoned cheers.
Campaign: Jeep Champion of Adventure Client: FCA Partner: Inspira Marketing Group
Jeep is a veteran Winter X Games sponsor, but in 2020 it needed a new strategy to generate purchase intent among the event’s thrill-seeking fans. Enter: The Champion of Adventure experience. The activation featured new models on display for live demos, meet and greet opportunities with X-Games athletes and a keychain-engraving station. But it was the 4D, multisensory viewing experience inside a 30-foot geodesic dome that helped turn consumers into prospective customers.
To participate, attendees hopped in one of 18 authentic Jeep seats where they experienced a 360-degree film and accompanying sensory elements like rumble packs, wind effects, the scent of pine and cedar, and high-fidelity audio. Along the immersive journey, consumers felt the rush of crawling over boulders, hitting epic mud bogs and cruising through the open desert. The activation relied on a combination of top-of-the-line tech. Like the dome projection system, which was comprised of a dome master server utilizing 10 5K lumen HD laser projectors, all blended and warped together to create a seamless 4K UHD spherical screen. Or the studio-grade Adam audio AX3 sound system that ensured every splat of mud was heard over the roar of the engine.X marked the spot for Jeep—attendees spent an average of eight minutes, 51 seconds engaging with the brand on-site.
Campaign: Follow the Vine Client: Santa Margherita Partner: Factory 360
Santa Margherita’s Follow the Vine experience was a dramatic grapevine maze where attendees discovered tasting notes, flavor pairings and brand experiences around every corner. A key touchpoint was a seven-minute, 360-degree film experienced in a geodesic dome theater where a multi-projector immersed the audience in footage that told the brand’s story. Santa Margherita blended software, servers and projector calibration that delivered a seamless viewing experience that earned 915 million media impressions.
Lighthouse Immersive transformed its educational Van Gogh art exhibit into a pandemic-friendly activation that offers drive-thru and walk-in options. On-site, attendees are immersed in 60,600 frames of video and 90 million pixels, encompassing 600,000 cubic feet of projections that animate the artist’s work and place visitors directly into his landscapes, still lifes and portraits. The projections highlight the artworks’ brushstrokes, details and colors, ultimately helping to attract 150,000 people.
Campaign: Helpful Hub Client: Google Partner: Grow Marketing
Education was the name of the game at Google’s Helpful Hub, an environment designed to teach the brand’s retail sales associates about the key features of its flagship hardware products. Leveraging storytelling and eye-catching design, the brand took associates on an immersive, tech-fueled product journey that featured the integration of 144 devices and services and ultimately scored a 14-minute average dwell time.
In the connected Helpful Home area, Google display devices powered the homey environment, which featured a variety of first- and third-party device interactions designed to showcase how Google hardware simplifies typical routines. In the #TeamPixel mobility zone, Pixel diorama boxes and viewfinders promoted the phone’s Night Sight feature, while productivity demos conducted in an airport environment showcased how Google helps consumers on-the-go. The centerpiece of the experience was the Google Diner, powered by Google Nest Hub Max and the Pixel 4. Attendees were greeted by a host and then reviewed a list of specials that highlighted various features and devices that work with the Google Assistant. In small groups, they ordered their “courses.” And as each course was read aloud, the space came to life with tricked-out routines and hands-free demos, all conducted from behind the diner counter. Attendees ate it up, with 95 percent saying they’d recommend the experience to others.
Campaign: Technology Innovation Center Client: DuPont Partner: InVision Communications
At its Global Innovation Center, DuPont sought to engage key stakeholders in conversations around how its materials have an impact on sustainable vehicles. So the brand created a game and configurator that allowed visitors to digitally construct a vehicle for the best sustainable results and view their creation across eight 55-inch monitors. Visitors could also place RFID-tagged items on a reader embedded into the conference tables, triggering educational animations on a monitor.
Campaign: VMworld 2020 Client: VMware Partners: Freeman, RainFocus, Brightcove, Pigeonhole Labs, Source of Knowledge, Eventbase, Jack Morton Worldwide, Nth Degree
For VMworld 2020, VMware pivoted to digital. Armed with 900 sessions, the brand designed a seven-channel video viewer organized by category that allowed attendees to see current content, preview future content, access information about all channel sessions and engage in interactive Q&As. There were also curated playlists, deep dives into content, a points-based gamification element, a mobile app used for networking and a dramatic general session produced using extended reality technology.
Campaign: Gamescom 2019 Client: Airbus Partner: 2Heads Global Design
With its sights set on attracting top talent for IT and digital roles within the company, Airbus headed to Germany for Gamescom, an annual b-to-c trade fair for video games that attracts its young target. With a message of inclusivity to deliver, Airbus leaned on its all-female gaming team Out of the Blue, designing a knock-out-style League of Legends tournament that invited both Gamescom attendees and virtual viewers to get involved.
Invitations to the tournament were sent out via social media, influencers and Twitch users, and were reinforced by physical invitations like the brand’s “carry-away” chairs—lightweight, reusable chairs featuring Airbus’s #LEVELUP messaging. During the show, in-person attendees could pre-book via an app or apply on the day of to challenge Out of the Blue in a 5v5 matchup held within the Airbus booth. The matchups, experienced on caster control monitors and beamed onto 90-inch LED screens, were continuously streamed live on Twitch, giving viewers at home a chance to chat with players as they battled. To boot, the booth experience featured streamed debates, live robotics, a coding competition and a HoloLens experience that allowed attendees to explore Airbus’s engineering capabilities.
The results: 3,000 direct gaming and tech demo interactions, 36,000 booth visitors and 1.64 million impressions. Game on.
Campaign: Friends 25th Anniversary (The One with 5G) Clients: AT&T, Warner Bros. Television Partner: Twenty Four 7
The 25th anniversary of “Friends” gave AT&T a chance to tap into a cultural moment to introduce its newest 5G network, which improves the speed of streaming and sharing content. Within a Guinness World Record-breaking Central Perk set replica, the brand created full volumetric scans of fans, then quickly delivered a video to their phones that “shrunk” them. Participants could then leverage the 3D footage to place themselves inside a physical miniature replica set of Monica and Rachel’s apartment.
Campaign: Stinger Racing & Telluride Driving Experience Client: Kia Motors America Partner: EWI Worldwide
Kia didn’t want to tell consumers about the capabilities of its Stinger and Telluride models, it wanted to show them. At the LA Auto Show, the brand unveiled a pair of full motion simulators that transported attendees to Germany’s Nürburgring racetrack and the “Kia Woodlands.” The three-minute journeys included vehicle-specific steering wheels, an immersive three-screen array, powerful audio and rumble packs, and lifelike in-car motion simulation, creating a realistic track experience that included engine vibrations, impacts and gear shifts.
Campaign: Three Olives Vodka Festival Activations Client: Proximo Spirits Partner: Engine Shop
A well designed, strategic build can accommodate multiple journeys and allow attendees to step up and into the brand’s message. For Three Olives Vodka, this meant “laddering up” and integrating the brand’s “3’s a Party” thematic in its festival activation build. The result was a bright and bold, two-story, must-stop for attendees that was Instagrammable at every step along the way.
The 2,500-square-foot structure was built with a mixture of shipping containers connected via a “Y” central staircase. Bringing to life the two sides of imbibing with friends, the brand split the experience into the “3pm” zone and the “3am” zone for consumers to explore. As they entered the structure on the 3pm side, a brand ambassador clocked them in. From there, they could explore two bars, take part in a mirror selfie experience complete with a disco ball canopy, snap a photo on the staircase moment, or check out the rooftop with sweeping views of the festival grounds and LED-lighted seating. There was also a glow tattoo station, dj booth and surprise appearances. Ultimately, consumers clocked out at the 3am coat check, returning their tickets in exchange for swag. The longer they had stayed in the space, the bigger the swag reward. Cheers to that.
Campaign: Shoot-to-Win at ComplexCon Chicago Client: Reebok Partner: Jack Morton Worldwide
The pièce de résistance of Reebok’s retro Shoot-to-Win activation at ComplexCon Chicago was a 30-foot-high double-deck structure that housed the brand’s hoops challenge and a dj and a street-ball announcer. Designed with ’90s throwback flair, attendees either shopped for merch or took part in a 25-foot-long distance shot where a successful basket entered them in to win a diamond pendant and chain designed by former pro baller Allen Iverson and sportswear designer Eric Emanuel.
Campaign: Pride Slide Client: Tinder Partner: N/A Collective
Tinder’s 30-foot-tall Pride Slide activated in honor of World Pride in New York City was designed to rally support for the Equality Act. The rainbow-themed double-slide accessed via stairs and an upper deck was exactly 30-feet long, which represented the 30 U.S. states that at the time did not have non-discriminatory laws in place. Each ride earned the Human Rights Campaign $10, and a pledge by consumers to “slide into their senators DMs” to voice their support for legislation to legally prohibit LGBTQIA discrimination.
Campaign: The Drop Shop Client: The Glenlivet Partner: 160over90
With a new product to promote—a 14-year-old single-malt Scotch finished in cognac casks—The Glenlivet introduced a fully decked out Airstream that was a tasting experience-slash-showroom-slash-customization station and called it The Glenlivet Drop Shop. Because the new drink is aimed at a different audience from the traditional single-malt crowd, the environment’s look was intended to break far away from the traditional whisky tasting experience (think: brown leather couches, mahogany finishes, old-library kinda vibe) with a more contemporary and very purple vibe (think: lounge designed by Prince, but purpler). There was a sampling bar, a cart serving ice cream and root beer floats infused with the new drink, purple-covered plants and planters, purple carpet and purple lights for nighttime events.
Following a launch at New York Fashion Week, Drop Shop hit seven U.S. markets. The experience focused on three main concepts. “Innovation” focused on the production process, including letting guests taste flavored jelly beans that evoked the drink’s tasting notes. “Style” extended the excitement of its New York Fashion Week launch by highlighting apparel and accessory collaborations with designers Prabal Gurung, Don C, and Coco and Breezy. And “Creation” let visitors shop and customize t-shirts and totes.
Campaign: Dose of Deux Client: Deux Reines Partner: Timeless Travel Trailers
Online fashion brand Deux Reines wanted to hit the road to connect with shoppers in as stylish a way as possible and a customized Airstream was the obvious choice. The interior was redesigned to include clothing and accessory displays, lounge space, and two dressing rooms that doubled as photo booths. Custom-designed display fixtures included high-end touches like leather-wrapped racks, and the plush velvet seating and color-changing LED signage combined to give the vehicle a chic feel.
Campaign: LandShark Hot Tub Client: Anheuser-Busch Partner: The Experiential Group
If merely cruising around Key West doesn’t sound mellow enough for you, meet the LandShark Hot Tub. To tout LandShark as the world’s most laid-back beer, Anheuser-Busch commissioned a drivable, nine-foot-wide hot tub to transport easygoing guests up and down Duval Street (and, later, around other cities). The vehicle might have looked simple, but cool touches included an onboard generator, a 3D-printed joystick for steering the tub from inside and a chassis capable of supporting the 5,000 pounds of water inside.
Campaign: PROOF Culinary Series Client: Audi of America Partner: 160over90
Aiming to position its redesigned Q3 SUV as a vehicle that defies expectations, Audi held fine dining events in Minneapolis, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Seattle, hosting more than 1,000 guests for dinners prepared by renowned female chefs. Audi took over venues ranging from former restaurant spaces to a neighborhood grocery store, and then collaborated with local experts to create full-service kitchens and procure top-quality ingredients. Among the unique design elements were swing sets made from powder-coated aluminum and featuring Audi’s four-ring logo, located outside of each pop-up, perfect for social media photo ops. And inside the dining rooms, the event setup encouraged socializing and shared experiences with lazy Susans atop large communal tables.
The vehicles themselves were incorporated into the experience as the mode of transportation from home to the dinners—guests got to test drive Q3s to the restaurants, learning more about them from product specialists en route—and during daytime ride-and-drives that were open to a wider group of prospects in each market. There was also a cause marketing overlay: Through a partnership with the James Beard Foundation, the events raised more than $40,000 toward scholarships for women in each market pursuing careers in culinary fields.
Campaign: Cinnamon Toast Crunch: The Cinnaverse Client: General Mills Partner: Mosaic
With brightly colored pop-ups in Santa Monica, CA, and outside of Chicago and Houston, General Mills wanted to immerse consumers—especially Hispanic tweens—in a multisensory Cinnamon Toast Crunch experience. There was frozen affogato on a stick, cinnamon toast cotton candy and a cinnamon-milk luge. Plus guests could walk through a glow-in-the-dark Cinna-vortex exhibit and check out the Cinna-moji photo gallery, where celebs were pictured as Cinnamon Toast Crunch emojis.
Amazon popped up temporary dorm rooms (average size: 150 square feet) at Amazon Hub Locker+ locations on 10 college campuses. The goal: Show students and parents how easy it is to create a cozy, personalized dorm room with goods from the online retailer. The setups were stylish, but simple enough that they could be installed and dismantled within six hours by local production teams with minimal oversight. Foot traffic and dwell time at the campus stores both increased from the previous year.
Campaign: CES 2020 Client: Sleep Number Partner: CenterPoint Marketing
If most of your exhibit’s visitors are going to be lying on their backs, looking up, the ceiling just might be the most important design element of your booth.
So for Sleep Number’s 40-by-50 space at CES, the mattress brand created an overhang made up of 182 multicolor triangle outlines—a clever lift from the brand’s up-arrow/down-arrow logo. Covering all 2,000 square feet of the booth, those triangles were powered by 546 LED fixtures that used hot reds and cool blues, a nod to a new Sleep Number mattress that offers personalized temperature settings for each side of the mattress. (You sorta want to take a nap right now, don’t you?) The triangular shapes also left space through which designers could laser-project graphics into the booth from above.
Guests trying out the beds could not only feel the changing temperatures, but also could see and hear the product benefits thanks to an overhead mirror that projected content onto their bodies. And, this being the 21st century, those mirrors also offered built-in selfie opportunities. But amid all the gee-whiz tech, the booth also featured sheer fabrics to create an inviting and relaxing atmosphere—no small concern for testing mattresses amid the bustle of CES.
Campaign: Strike Midnight Client: Ranch Hand Partners: Bivalve Agency, ImagiCorps
How do you hype a product that, well, doesn’t do much unless it’s attached to the front of a pickup truck? Ranch Hand’s attention-grabbing SEMA display for its heavy-duty steel bumper grille featured a 200-pound steel sledgehammer that, once each hour, crashed full speed into said grille, showing that the product could take a hit. To give attendees a way to engage, Ranch Hand set up a punching bag with an electronic tracker and invited those who punched hardest to trigger the sledgehammer crash.
The cybersecurity platform provider needed a memorable booth in a comparatively small (30-by-30) package. Its sleekly designed environment featured a technologically artful center structure shaped like a tree, but with undulating LED “branches” that reached up to the booth header. The color-changing lights were not only reflected by the booth’s high-gloss finishes, but were also replicated in the bases of displays throughout the footprint. SentinelOne also created a flexible theater area using a large, curved LED display and used sleek kiosks for product demos.
The open-on-all-sides exhibit MSD unveiled at the European Society for Medical Oncology trade show was a distinct break from its previous traditional exhibit designs. The brand, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., focused much of its display on the cancer drug Keytruda, but the booth also needed to convey information about the science behind other oncology therapies. Among the design challenges: The 3,000-square-foot space would have to be built around one of the expo hall’s structural pillars—meaning a traditional linear journey through the booth would have been impossible. So designers turned to Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiral design from New York City’s Guggenheim Museum for inspiration. The resulting layout, with no hard lines or right angles, eliminated dead ends, allowing guests to follow a seamless journey through the booth, regardless of where they entered.
The show also prohibited elements being suspended from the hall’s ceiling, so MSD used 15-foot-tall illuminated sweeping headers to make the booth visible to attendees from far away, and the space incorporated multiple layering elements to give the footprint a three-tier effect. The booth also included e-panel towers and LED billboard displays to share product education and brand messaging, and a virtual reality activity that simulated the path from diagnosis to treatment for people with cancer.
Campaign: Hyatt at IMEX Client: Hyatt Hotels Partner: Exhibit Partners
The exhibit reflected the sleek-but-comfortable vibe you’d expect for the hotel chain. But its neatest aspect was its modularity: Hyatt can size up to 50-by-50 for bigger shows, like IMEX, and down to eight-by-14 for smaller ones. Given Hyatt’s varied brand portfolio, a flexible graphics system uses magnetized tiles that can be easily swapped depending on the chain and event. For guests, though, the highlight was a 20-foot-tall inflatable dome that hosted five-minute guided meditations.
Campaign: Arm at TechCon Client: Arm Partner: ProExhibits
The computer technologies designer hosts more than 3,500 guests at its annual developer conference. For its own footprint at the 2019 event, the company wanted a futuristic space that would invite developers to think about limitless possibilities. The pièce de résistance was a 20-foot-by-40-foot LED screen suspended overhead—flanked on either side by backlit tension fabric screens—that displayed visually arresting digital art that evoked high-tech kaleidoscope images.
Campaign: Mustang Mach-E Reveal Client: Ford Partner: Imagination
Alright, first things first. For its reveal of the hotly anticipated Mustang Mach-E all-electric SUV, Ford barged right into its new competitor’s backyard. The event was held at the Jet Center in Hawthorne, CA—a five-minute walk from Tesla’s design center. Electric or not, that’s a muscle car move.
Now about that stage. Or actually, stages, plural. Aiming for wide social media pickup, the automaker designed the launch event to be digestible for the short attention spans of online streaming audiences. That meant three separate stages, the better to allow cameras to pan back and forth between short (three minutes or less) product demos.
The set’s most eye-catching element by far—other than actor Idris Elba, who lent some star power to the launch—was a 64-foot-wide, 28-foot-tall sculpture of the vehicle’s galloping pony emblem. And because it was covered with projection-mapping fabric, the event team could bring the structure to life throughout the show, making it pulse to the beat of the music, or using it to show video clips of Mustang’s past and future. The event was streamed more than 5.9 million times on Twitter within the first 48 hours, and it even elicited a congratulatory tweet from Tesla chief Elon Musk.
Campaign: The Grove Christmas Tree Lighting Client: Caruso Partner: Mirrored Media
Imagine you’re redesigning your living room. Only your living room has to fit about 20,000 guests, a 150-foot-tall tree and a performance stage (which has to cover up a permanent fountain that’s about 70 feet wide by 50 feet long), and you’ve gotta have a 30-foot fireplace as the centerpiece. Those were just some of the punch list items for the magnificent, huge-but-still-homey set for the 2019 Christmas tree lighting at The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles.
Campaign: National Sales Meeting Client: Kowa Pharmaceuticals Partner: LEO Events
“Building the Future” was the theme for Kowa Pharmaceuticals’ January 2020 National Sales Meeting. So the event’s design tended toward a steampunk/industrial aesthetic, with elements meant to evoke inspiration and forward thinking. For the general session stage, the dominant element was a large perforated metal truss structure (think Erector Set on steroids), and designers layered in touches like vintage light bulbs and translucent “gears” in a nod to technologies that earlier innovators created to build their future.
Campaign: Busch Light Pop-up Schop Client: Anheuser-Busch Partner: The Experiential Group
While we don’t think AB engineered an event marketing program just to win our highly coveted Best Outdoor Environment award, you’ve gotta hand it to them for taking the “outdoor environment” part very seriously. The hook? Fans needed to use clues on social media to find a 3,000-square-foot campsite in an extremely out-of-the-way place: the middle of Mark Twain National Forest in eastern Missouri. The Busch Light Pop-up Schop (the spelling being a play on a Spanish word for a draft beer or a tankard) poked some good-natured fun at the hip, urban pop-ups everyone else has done the past few decades, while playing up the brand’s rough-and-tumble persona.
The environment couldn’t have been more rustic. A canvas walk-in tent served as the main structure and merch shop (key item: red flannel shirts, a la the brand’s spokesman), a standard metal canoe filled with cans of Busch Light provided a photo op, and a VIP section was made up of wooden rocking chairs and not much else. Other design elements? Well, there were trees, sky, dirt and a live stream. (Not the online kind—actual water flowing through the forest.) About 1,500 rugged souls attended, and the program generated millions of impressions and national media coverage.
For an event focused on the future, Dell chose a venue that had already been built to represent what life might look like in the year 2563: the actual set from the 2019 Robert Rodriguez film “Alita: Battle Angel.” Designers pulled cues from the movie itself—including displaying announcements on large monitors throughout the “city,” as in the film, and hiring extras from the movie to work as servers—and added other décor elements drawn from the venue’s location in Austin, Texas.
Campaign: Follow the Vine Client: Santa Margherita Partner: Factory 360
Knowing that wine culture can seem a bit esoteric to many consumers, Santa Margherita produced an experience to inform and excite its audience about the subject. Aiming for the sensory experience of a Northern Italian vineyard, the brand created a modular grapevine maze (executions ranged from 900 to 2,500 square feet, depending on the venue), with wine tasting notes, flavor pairings and other experiences around every corner, all leading toward a domed theater that hosted a 360-degree immersive film.
Campaign: #DellExperience at CES Client: Dell Technologies Partner: Lacy Maxwell Productions
Executing a design that’s exciting enough to lure visitors on the Las Vegas Strip—a street that’s pretty much all about exciting designs meant to lure visitors? That’s a tall order. Dell accomplished it, and then some, with its #DellExperience at CES.
The brand took over the Sugarcane bar and grill inside the Venetian Las Vegas and, in less than 30 hours, turned the 2,500-square-foot space into a high-end, future-forward environment meant to show off a wide array of Dell products, including a half-dozen newly launched computers and monitors. The signature design element was a 25-foot-wide curvilinear lightbox entry, which created a clear passageway from the familiar Vegas mallscape to a bespoke, handcrafted aesthetic.
Inside, individual display areas took on the feel of the products they were showing off: on-brand lighting illuminated hexagonal window treatments and custom-fabricated acrylic alien head graphics for the Alienware space, for example, mimicking the look of gamer keyboard backlighting. An artful arrangement of computer screens against a dark wood façade highlighted Dell monitors. And a stunning hologram gave a gee-whiz view of a new Latitude desktop.
In all, more than 7,000 visitors and 63,000 livestream viewers got to experience the space, generating 119,000 engagements and 28,000 social media mentions.
Campaign: National Kickoff Client: Loblaw Partner: Mosaic
Supermarket chain Loblaw got employees to walk 880,000 steps in their customers’ shoes. Inside the Halifax Convention Centre, the brand used facades and interiors to evoke different living situations in a Canadian town. Attendees experienced challenges their customers might face—hurriedly packing school lunches, looking at the near-empty pantries of a family facing food insecurity and navigating language barriers while shopping—before learning how Loblaw brands contribute to everyday life.
Campaign: UTA House at Sundance Client: United Talent Agency Partner: Mirrored Media
At the Sundance Film Festival, United Talent Agency took over a private residence off of the main drag, but not too far away from all of the action. Guests were treated to a comfortable but elegant experience (and breathtaking mountain views). The venue hosted an array of events—a panel discussion on food inequality, an art exhibition and discussion, an elegant dinner and a high-energy afterparty, with time and space for that all-important Sundance networking in between.
Campaign: Friends 25th Anniversary (The One in San Francisco) Clients: AT&T, Warner Bros. Television Partner: Twenty Four 7
Having the chance to reenact the famous sofa-moving “PIVOT!” scene or sit on that big comfy coffee shop sofa? Could “Friends” fans be any more excited? (Also, what’s with all the sofas?)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sitcom’s premiere, AT&T and Warner Bros. Television transformed a 24,000-square-foot AT&T retail space into an immersive “Friends” experience. There were photo ops aplenty, with full-scale replicas of Central Perk café and Monica’s how-could-she-afford-that? apartment. But the experience went way beyond the sets and props. Functioning lights and cameras gave fans the chance to film themselves in scenes with the cast that looked TV-ready.
To tie back to AT&T’s brand, a 17-screen interactive “tech timeline” offered a window into the evolution of tech gadgets from 1995 through today. There were touch screen “Friends” trivia kiosks, a recording booth where guests could lay down their own version of “Smelly Cat” and analog and digital versions of the pilot episode’s script. And because the venue was inside of a historic landmark building, it all had to be set up above the floor, with nothing hanging from the ceiling or protruding from the walls. Store visits increased by 171 percent over the course of the event, with a 13-percent increase in sales. How you doin’?
In the city where Michael Jordan became a legend, Nike’s Jordan brand made a big—and we mean big—splash around the NBA All-Star Game. To excite basketball fans and sneakerheads, the brand took over 100,000 square feet of an armory building, deploying design elements drawn from the Second City’s distinctive neighborhoods and transit lines, and emphasizing an “Impossible alone. Possible together” brand message. Besides a full-size basketball court, there were workshops andan immersive retail experience.
Campaign: Malibu Rum Beach House Client: Pernod Ricard Partner: 160over90
The Malibu Rum Beach House has been a part of the brand’s marketing attack for summer festivals since 2015. But for 2019, the brand fully refreshed the build with its signature banana leaf wallpaper, a fresh neon color palette, a new Malibu Beach Bar (which allowed for more nimble implementation at certain events) and myriad new Instagrammable photo ops, including a “You Can Call Me on My Shell Phone” phone booth that used a conch shell in place of the handset.
Campaign: Cisco Live 2020 Client: Cisco Partner: In-house
In 11 weeks, Cisco pivoted its 31st annual Cisco Live into a binge-worthy broadcast experience that offered bite-sized content, live hosting and interactive social activities all “served up” on a custom-built platform. The content (cut from 1,000 sessions to 700 new sessions) was split over four distinct broadcast “channels” with two live hosts per channel. Each channel covered a different attendee interest, like “Inspiration,” which offered stories from thought leaders along with musical performances and surprise guests; an “Innovation” channel that explored solutions to modern business; an “IT Heroes” channel with technical content; and an “IT Leadership” channel.
For networking, attendees could access Cisco Webex Teams rooms to chat live, take part in a peer-to-peer matchmaking tool, or join the Meet the Engineer program, which allowed attendees to meet one-on-one with Cisco experts. And then there was the engagement. A social media leaderboard in the #CiscoLive Social Lounge teased attendees’ competitive spirits, as did the contests and clever filters. Ultimately, more than 125,000 attendees tuned in with 53 percent registering for Cisco Live for the first time; 84 percent reporting they “liked or loved” the event, and an average attendee tune-in rate of 3.3 hours per day. How’s that for modern attention spans?
Launch events typically involve a little drama—not an easy task to accomplish in the virtual space. For the launch of its CrossClimate 2 product, Michelin wove in augmented reality and 360-degree ride-and-drive demo videos to raise the virtual roof. On the main stage, presenters stood within an ever-changing 3D virtual set via the Unreal Engine platform. They stood “on” the performance tire product, while the set and conditions around them evolved during the presentation.
Campaign: Upfront 2020 Client: Univision Partner: FIRST
The Upfronts, even virtually, are crowded, so in its pivot Univision launched a month-long campaign to drive interest and registrations, which included mailing viewing kits and launching a digital hub and viewing guide. For the live event, which 3,000 attendees tuned in to, the brand broke up the mundane livestream routine by employing dynamic overlay and augmented reality graphics, motion graphics, sizzle reels and a musical performance by Pitbull. A private virtual media Q&A followed.
BravoCon celebrated popular Bravo franchises and catered effortlessly to Bravoholics in attendance and remote viewers at the same time. Designed as the biggest activation and taping of “Watch What Happens Live” with host Andy Cohen yet, the feast for the eyes in person and on-screen took place across three New York City venues totaling 60,000 square feet. Original art transformed entrances, sponsor activations offered plenty of Instagrammable moments, and neon-lit “Bravoleb” catchphrases adorned the venue walls throughout.
On top of a “Real Housewives” museum, and a full recreation of Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” set, a photo booth had fans creating their own “Housewives” opening sequences and strutting their stuff on “Project Runway.” Fans, and talent, enjoyed cocktails in highly immersive themed bars based on top Bravo shows, while the “Top Chef” food hall served guests with bespoke cuisine inspired by the show. To boot, attendees could shop their favorite Bravolebs’ brands in the Bravo Bazaar marketplace (like Kyle Cooke’s Loverboy and a coaching session with Teddi Mellencamp).
BravoCon was referred to as the “The Church of BravoCon” by the New York Times, among the more than 200 stories published about the event.
To connect with its creator community during Black History Month, TikTok produced the #MakeBlackHistory summit, a three-day event for more than 100 Black creators. Touchpoints included ultra-premium room-drop welcome kits featuring shareworthy swag, a Family-Style Welcome Dinner as well as masterclass sessions, a portrait studio with celebrity photographer Matt Sayles, a gala, and a farewell brunch. Did we mention the appearances by Terry Crews, Tracee Ellis Ross and Doja Cat?
Campaign: All-America Games Client: Under Armour Partners: InterSport, Oz Tech Media
Under Armour’s All-America Football and Volleyball Game brings together the top 100 high school football and top 24 high school volleyball players in the nation to train, network, gear them up and indulge them in a week’s worth of stunts, experiences and opportunities designed to support them on their individual journeys. The event space: a massive, 7,000-pound shipping container structure with two seven-foot-tall by 12-foot-wide steel doors. The 120 linear feet of LED screens contributed to the event’s shareworthy status.
Campaign: Wake Up Call Dubai Client: W Hotels Partners: 160over90, Eclipse Staging Services
W Hotels’ Wake Up Call Dubai music festival needed to work hard. Not only was it designed to help bolster W Hotels credibility in music, it needed to support the launch of Marriott Bonvoy, the loyalty brand for parent company Marriott International, as well as help launch the newly opened W Dubai—The Palm. No sweat, right? With a rich on-site experience that gave attendees insider access to their favorite artists—driving organic social media reach—the recruitment of celebrities and tastemakers to push it out even further, and a live-stream program that reached millions more consumers via Marriot Bonvoy’s YouTube Channel, the strategy was robust.
Wake Up Call Dubai was the fourth in a series of music festivals that traveled to Barcelona, Bali andHollywood—a multi-day, multi-stage, hotel takeover that offered deck parties, dj masterclass sessions and, yes, performances. Technology live-wired the experience for remote viewers with features like a laser show, pyrotechnics, top-of-the-line A/V, live roaming audience cameras and pre-shot footage interspersed with the live-stream during performance breaks. The Dubai festival earned 10.6 million livestream views and 100 million livestream impressions as well as a whopping 2,986 hours of livestream view time. W Hotels targets disruptors, and it certainly got their undivided attention.
Campaign: Corona's Cinco at Home Benefit Concert Client: Constellation Brands Partner: Cogent World
Amid a volatile season for experiential as well as for restaurants and bars, Corona set out to celebrate a key holiday in its year, Cinco de Mayo, with an uplifting tie-in. The result? A virtual fiesta promoted with #CincoAtHome that scored $1 for the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund for every viewer that tuned into the virtual concert, up to $500,000. The lineup included satellite dj sets from local musicians on the Mad Decent Twitch channel and a concert put on by Live Nation featuring Dillon Francis and Diplo.
Anime brand Funimation participates in more than a dozen conventions each year. But in response to the pandemic, the brand launched a virtual con withpanels, workshops, cosplay meetups, screenings, a live trivia game show, and an esports competition. A highlight we loved: The VShouts attendees could purchase—authentic autographs and a personalized video from the voice actors of their favorite anime characters. Some 14.7 million minutes viewed later, and Funimation certainly had fun with fans.