Once upon a time, event technology was viewed as a “nice to have” or “if budget permits,” but it has rapidly evolved into the driving force behind some of the industry’s most spectacular campaigns. And in 2020, when we needed it most, event tech served as the backbone of countless program pivots, affording event marketers the opportunity to get closer to their audiences, even from afar. Indeed, as much as we relied upon event technology to power brand experiences in the past, its role has been supersized in the midst of the pandemic. And if the widespread success of virtual events over the last year has proven anything, it’s that event tech’s prominent positioning is surely here to stay.
Spanning 22 categories, the 2020 Experience Design & Technology Awards program illustrates the best of both worlds: the in-person experiential programs that leveraged innovative design elements and cutting-edge technology to live-wire physical experiences, and the virtual campaigns that relied on up-and-coming digital solutions and design concepts to power experiences in the new reality. And as you’ll see, the marketers behind the winning campaigns were not faint of heart. Combining an array of leading-edge solutions to fuel a single program? No sweat. Developing proprietary technology when other options just won’t do? Piece of cake.
And the creative concepts behind this year’s crop of winning programs were nothing short of incredible. Consider AT&T, which showcased its 5G chops by creating full volumetric scans of “Friends” fans, delivering a video to their phone that “shrunk” them, and using that 3D footage to place the participants inside a physical mini replica of the main characters’ apartment. Or VMware, which pivoted its conference to digital and implemented a seven-channel video viewer organized by category that allowed attendees to watch current content, preview future content, access information about all channel sessions, and engage in interactive Q&As. And don’t forget MTV, which allowed Missy Elliott fans to recreate her famous “The Rain” music video via killer hologram technology.
As we mark another year of ingenuity in the event marketing industry, we can’t help but look ahead to what 2021 will hold. Considering how event marketers fearlessly grabbed 2020 by the horns, it’s clear this industry can handle anything the year ahead throws at it. So here’s to all of this year’s winners—and a brighter future on the horizon.