The editors of Event Marketer present the 2018 Experience Design & Technology Awards, the world’s only recognition program honoring the best use of design, social media and event technology to enhance live experiences. Hundreds of entries were received spanning 21 categories. Here, we bring you in-depth coverage of the 63 winning programs.
Client: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Campaign: Rose Chatbot Partner: R/GA
THE SETUP: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas created a sassy AI chatbot named Rose as a way to interact with guests throughout their hotel journey. A digital concierge designed to build strong personal relationships with guests, Rose is not only able to assist with tasks like restocking towels, making dinner reservations and giving a tour of the hotel’s art collection, she also offers insider information and special access to entertainment, all through the lens of a carefully constructed personality that reflects the hotel’s brand. Rose was powered by multiple interconnected systems, including an SMS gateway to enabling text messaging, AI-based Natural Language Processing technology, a SaaS chat system to handle content management and data, personal loyalty marketing data services, and a customer service platform that directly integrated with Rose, allowing center agents to take over a conversation with a guest if automation isn’t possible.
THE RESULTS: They speak for themselves. Thanks to Rose’s retail, entertainment and other purchasing suggestions, any guest who engages with Rose since her January 2017 launch has spent on average 15 percent more during their stay. Moreover, 44 percent of all users are highly engaged, meaning they sent more than five messages to Rose. And did we mention she’s great at using emojis? And keeping secrets. Shhh.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Given that The Cosmopolitan competes for bookings not only with the scores of hotels on the Las Vegas Strip but also online travel agencies, creating Rose as an exclusive digital experience for guests who book directly with the hotel was a clever way to offer high-tech, efficient and personalized customer service. What better way to immerse prospective guests in the hotel’s disruptive personality than have Rose communicate with them? An industry first with legs for the future.
Client: FX Campaign: Fracture Digital Video Installation Partner: Industria Creative
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The psychedelic art installation echoed a key theme in season two of the FX series “Legion”—“A sane man in an insane world.” Attendees explored a visual representation of the lead character’s powerful, fractured mind—culminating in a 16-foot-tall chamber in which guests were fully immersed in a short film by visual artist Marco Brambilla, done in his signature, kaleidoscope style. Other highlights: a wall of shattered mirrors where consumers could perceive themselves in a multitude of angles, and bright purple, blue and pink backlighting perfect for surreal photo ops.
Client: Duracell Canada Campaign: Explorer 150 Partners: wonderMakr, Spark Foundry
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Duracell and Canadian news magazine Maclean’s launched the first drone flight across Canada with the Explorer 150, capturing and live-streaming footage of the countryside along the 6,800-mile journey. The brand modified the drone by adding a second camera that was powered by Duracell batteries. The three-week trip, flown by four UAV operators, was streamed to an online hub with a searchable, interactive map and footage to peruse, including 13 stories of everyday heroes.
Client: Instagram Campaign: Storyscape by Es Devlin Partners: Es Devlin Studios, We’re Magnetic, Luke Halls Studio, res.lab, Bay Productions
THE SETUP: Instagram Storyscape, which appeared at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival as part of Facebook’s on-site activation, was a video art installation featuring eight hours of Instagram stories collected from around the world and projected onto an elaborate, cityscape set design. A collaboration between Instagram and artist/designer Es Devlin, Storyscape began with messaging and video reflecting the artist’s vision, which was to represent the power of community and storytelling on Instagram through focusing on vertical IG Stories. Next, they stepped through a rounded doorway, a nod to the Instagram Story icon on the app. Once inside, attendees perched above a reflecting pool of water while viewing a sculpture of a cityscape, lit up by windows featuring Instagram stories and projection mapping across the surface of 242 handmade, plywood windows. A mirrored ceiling and walls and surround sound from eight hidden speakers helped to amplify the narrative.
THE RESULTS: Over the course of four days, 2,825 people experienced Storyscape and hundreds of advertising, marketing and brand professionals shared posts on social. It was spotlighted by a variety of industry publications, including Adweek, Advertising Age and Campaign, and was experienced by both b-to-b industry leaders and—new this year—the general public. Instagram captured the entire experience for post-event sharing using the GoPro Fusion 360 camera.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: This program lived its message. A team of more than 60 people spent 5,000 hours on the collaboration. The cityscape set design itself required 53 hidden display screens and 225 feet of curved scenic walls and windows to produce the desired projection-mapped experience. The film projected onto the building façade was an example of collective storytelling, with each Instagram Story precisely placed to create the overall effect.
Client: Oath Campaign: Build Your Brand at CES Partner: SET Live
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The directive for Oath’s CES appearance was to create a mobile-first environment for high-level business meetings—and it did so with the “Helix.” Inspired by a strand of DNA, the 320-square-foot spiral structure featured 192 mounted tablets across its surface. Guests stepped inside and used a custom-built app to explore Oath’s nine core brands, each brought to life through 20-second video loops, client examples, stats, reach and more. When not in operation, the structure would pulse with light and bursts of sound.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Using an AtlasRTX platform and technology, Dell created a hybrid chatbot that married AI with human support for its annual Dell Technologies World conference. For an event with attendees from 122 countries, the solution allowed the brand to significantly scale customer service requests in multiple languages. The chatbot answered more than 1,000 questions from 357 people, saving an estimated 50 hours of customer service. And when the chatbot struggled to respond, an agent would jump in to provide a human touch.
Best Combination of Event Technologies (B-to-C) – Gold
Client: Land O'Lakes Campaign: The Food Effect Partners: Colle McVoy, Civic Entertainment Group, production glue
THE SETUP: To engage and educate a younger, forward-thinking audience about innovative farming technologies, Land O’Lakes created a four-part tech experience at SXSW. The first portion was designed as a virtual reality experience without the headset. In its place was a giant head of lettuce that, once lowered onto the attendee, played a video—through a 180-degree projection screen with audio playback—about technology revolutionizing the farming landscape. Attendees next tested their DNA knowledge with a color-coded, gene sequencing game with interactive touch screens detailing the benefits of gene editing. A wall of vintage telephones featured prerecorded messages from people struggling with hunger that, when listened to, triggered a meal to be donated to hunger relief. And lastly, a robotic inkjet printer, representative of spray control used by farmers to protect and nourish crops, created colorful works of art from satellite images of farmland.
THE RESULTS: The Food Effect garnered 121 million media impressions in two weeks and 288 media placements, from the likes of Eater, Bloomberg News, NPR, The New York Times, Ad Council, NBC and Fox—all with zero media spend. More than 8,000 attendees directly interacted with the experience, double the number of attendees the brand was originally expecting. Oh, and two of The Food Effect’s components have found a permanent home at Fair Oaks Farms, and more than 40,000 pounds of food was donated to the Central Texas Food Bank.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: In a nutshell: The lettuce head. Its projection system required three short-throw Pico Projectors to create a 4:1 ratio blended, 180-degree projection screen, and it used a small JBL clip speaker for audio playback. Add in some projection blending from Madmapper and VDMX for playback and boom!—the story of modern farming techniques comes to life.
Best Combination of Event Technologies (B-to-C) – Silver
Client: U.S. Air Force Campaign: The Hangar Partner: GSD&M
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The Air Force wanted to generate awareness for its much-needed maintainer positions while showing potential, tech-savvy recruits what it’s like to repair something with their hands. Inside two 39-foot, connected trailers designed to look like an Air Force hangar, attendees moved through six different activity stations featuring Leap Motion, Microsoft Kinect 2, Microsoft HoloLens, and Apple ARKit 2 technology. Combined with actual aircraft assets like a jet engine, an F-16 Fighting Falcon cockpit, and C-130 Hercules tires, the experience simulated activities like finding a hydraulic leak, running an avionics diagnostic test and guiding a pilot to takeoff.
Best Combination of Event Technologies (B-to-C) – Bronze
Client: Visa Campaign: 2018 FIFA World Cup Activation Partners: GMR Marketing, Shiraz Creative, Texel, Inition
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Visa’s Shooting for the Stars activation in Moscow during the 2018 FIFA World Cup began with a RFID-imbedded credential, followed by a 30-second scan to create a personalized 3D avatar. Once the avatar was constructed, attendees played an augmented reality game (with their avatars, of course) using HoloLens headsets to kick virtual soccer balls towards a target for a chance to win a Visa-branded adidas match ball. Meanwhile, serving as the face of the Visa’s global FIFA campaign was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a player recently retired from international soccer whose own avatar offered up tips to attendees on their form. Goooooal!
Best Combination of Event Technologies (B-to-B) – Gold
Client: Epic Games Campaign: FORTNITE @ E3 Partners: FGPG, The Shop@ShowReady
THE SETUP:Fortnite’s first foray into experiential at E3 was an immersive celebration of all things Fortnite, from a 38-foot Battle Bus to a green-screen experience with game characters to a Boogie-Down Dance Challenge at the top of each hour. (For the uninitiated, a flying Battle Bus is where Fornite battles begin.) Design elements like an 18-foot hot air balloon and a 12-foot-tall Fortnite logo drew attendees in. A double-deck structure, built to look like the buildings in the game, housed two green-screen experiences where attendees gripped handle bars and appeared to be dropping down onto the game through a hang glider, mimicking the game’s opening sequence. Or, fans could mimic a dance sequence alongside one of the game character’s emotes for a dance off. Pickaxes, which are integral to Fortnite play, were used as props for photo moments, and a mechanical ride, the “supply llama rodeo,” was a big hit.
THE RESULTS: The booth’s green-screen activations garnered 400,000 social media impressions. And a total of 40 gaming consoles were in continuous use, with more than 3,000 Fortnite tournament games played over the three-day event. But we also gotta give props to the construction stats on this bad boy, too. The experience was constructed over 60 days and involved 3,500 hours of fabrication, 813 hours of scenic painting, 9,000 square feet of printed graphics, 12 life-size 3D printed pickaxes, and one 38-foot Battle Bus centerpiece.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The Fortnite crew staged a Boogie Down Dance Challenge with participants chosen from the audience at the top of each hour. After watching a video on a 60-inch downstage monitor, competing fans would mimic a dance sequence in real time on stage. Three LED screens were synced to the video so the whole crowd could enjoy the dance challenge taking place. Another highlight: those who just wanted to watch an esports tournament could enjoy a live-stream broadcast of the off-site Celebrity Pro-Am via Twitch.
Best Combination of Event Technologies (B-to-B) – Silver
Client: Nike Campaign: Nike x NBA Uniform Launch Partners: production glue, Willo Perron
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Nike’s epic NBA Uniform launch event for 800 influencers and members of the media began with music bumping throughout Sony Studios’ Stage 27 in Los Angeles. A massive, 27-foot-high and 48-foot-wide high-resolution LED video wall offered stories about the game. And then, the screen divided into three 15-foot monoliths to reveal the entire collection of NBA home jerseys on mannequins, with each uniform incorporating NFC Connect technology allowing fans to link to player stats. With a dramatic lighting reveal, a member of each of the 30 NBA teams appeared wearing a jersey.
Best Combination of Event Technologies (B-to-B) – Bronze
Client: PepsiCo Campaign: Next-Level Gatorade Engagements Partner: Mirror Show Management
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The centerpiece of Gatorade’s presence at the 2018 National Athletic Trainers’ Association tradeshow was an eight-foot HydroCube featuring Gatorade’s suite of hydration products. At each of the cube’s “Battle Stations,” attendees queued up, connected to the experience through an RFID check-in “G Band” and engaged in a hydration-related trivia game to unlock rewards. Two 85-inch touch screens guided attendees through athletic trainers’ stories featured in Gatorade’s Beyond the Tape social campaign, and touch-screen pods gave visitors 360-degree views of the newest facilities at Gatorade partner organizations.
Client: Microsoft Campaign: Create Change Partner: Wasserman
THE SETUP: Microsoft, the official sideline technology sponsor of the NFL, has leveraged its Surface devices to drive fandom and boost player efficiency since 2013. But ahead of the 2018 Super Bowl, the brand wanted to show the world that its technology doesn’t just create fans—it creates change. So Microsoft launched Create Change, an integrated campaign designed to foster social good while showcasing the Microsoft Surface. The brand collaborated with six NFL players who run charitable foundations and view technology as a way to improve their organizations’ work. The campaign began with the release of five documentaries on how the players overcame obstacles in their own lives. Next, the brand unveiled a custom 3D illustration app built for its Surface devices at retail locations across the nation. Fans were invited to visit stores and “Create Change” by selecting their favorite player among the NFL stars, and use the app to design artwork on a digital football helmet. Designs were then submitted into a fundraising competition, with proceeds going to the charity of the selected NFL player.
THE RESULTS: The campaign shattered performance metrics across the board, earning an average user dwell time of over six minutes, and more than 1,700 collective hours spent creating the custom helmets. Earned impressions rang in at 386 million, while social media interactions totaled more than 5.6 million. But the most important metric of all, of course, was Microsoft’s positive social impact. The program raised significant charitable donations in both cash and tech grants to the tune of more than $200,000.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Theworld-renowned artists Microsofit partnered with on the helmet designs. And then there was the surprise incorporation of a sixth NFL player, Larry Fitzgerald, who appeared at Super Bowl LII and gifted $25,000 worth of Surface tech to a local underfunded school. Cue Microsoft’s victory dance.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: HBO’s documentary, “The Defiant Ones,” follows the failures and triumphs of two music industry moguls, prompting a campaign that celebrated the defiance in everyone. The brand headed to major events, like SXSW, to interview hand-selected “defiant ones” about the obstacles they’d overcome to achieve success, then shared them digitally. The effort culminated in “The Day of Defiance,” a curated music event that let artists share their personal stories of defiance before performing. The series became the most watched documentary in HBO history.
Client: BMW Campaign: Road to Coachella Partner: Mirrored Media
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT:Coachella is a breeding ground for content creation, so to promote its i Series electric and hybrid vehicles, BMW headed to the desert. The brand enlisted festival headliner John Gourley and 17 influencers to document their individual journeys to Coachella on social media. The campaign concluded with two exclusive nightlife events where attendees could do everything from creating their own instantly shareable, professional-quality music videos to snapping photos with a BMW i3 neon art installation. All to the, ahem, tune of 882 million impressions.
THE SETUP: With a star-studded cast at the helm, HBO’s four-part documentary, “The Defiant Ones,” about two music industry legends, promised plenty of viewers. So the network developed an aspirational goal that went beyond driving tune-in: establishing a cultural foothold for the series by celebrating the defiance in everyone. The brand targeted large-scale events, like Cannes and Coachella, where figures who served as “defiant ones” in their fields were interviewed about their most memorable encounters with skeptics. The resulting content served as the building blocks for HBO’s promotional materials. After announcing the documentary on Instagram, the network continued collecting stories from a cast of artists, entrepreneurs, politicians and scholars who shared the content across their social channels. The campaign wrapped with “The Day of Defiance,” an all-access event that gave consumers a chance to express their rebelliousness and catch performances from musicians with unconventional career paths, like openly gay hip-hop artist Cakes Da Killa, who shared their own stories of defiance before performing.
THE RESULTS: If you’re up-to-date on pop culture, there’s only one metric you’ll need to gauge the success of the program: The social element of the campaign had a view-to-like ratio second only to “Game of Thrones.” For those less acquainted with the world of Westeros, the results are just as powerful: The documentary drew in the youngest audience of any HBO property, served as the most watched documentary in HBO history and racked up 1.3 billion impressions.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The social component of the campaign was paramount to its success, extending HBO’s message and giving participants a meaningful way to connect with the theme of the documentary. By handing over the narrative to everyday “defiant ones” at the live event, the program came full circle. You might even say it defied the odds.
Client: Ford Campaign: Mustang Bullitt Reveal Partner: Imagination
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT:At the North American Auto Show, Ford commemorated the 50th anniversary of the film “Bullitt” by giving attendees a chance to star in their own movie trailer, which re-created the film’s iconic chase scene. Participants posed in front of a green screen for the main shot, then completed three “scenes” with help from a director. The result was a personalized digital movie poster featuring the person’s likeness and name, which could easily be shared on social media. End scene.
Client: BMW Campaign: Road to Coachella Partner: Mirrored Media
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: BMW i’s brand aligns well with Coachella’s forward-thinking attendees, so the automaker documented the journey it takes to the festival while highlighting its vehicles. The brand sent a festival headliner and 17 influencers, all driving custom-wrapped i8 or i3 models, on a content creation excursion that celebrated music’s power to unite people. Add to that two nightlife events featuring killer photo ops—like a neon art installation featuring a metal BMW i3 frame—and the results speak for themselves: 882 million impressions in two weeks.
Best Touch- or Gesture-Based Event Interactive – Gold
Client: U.S. Air Force Campaign: The Hangar Partner: GSD&M
THE SETUP: Today’s youth are a lot more likely to understand how to use a video game controller than a wrench. So when the Air Force set out to fill its severely depleted pool of equipment maintainers with new recruits, it needed to leverage technology to make the hands-on job more appealing and accessible to young people. The solution came in the form of The Hangar—a tech-fueled mobile experience featuring two conjoined 39-foot-long trailers that showcased the variety of jobs maintainers perform. Inside the replica hangar, potential recruits learned what it’s like to work with their hands via interactive tech. Like Leap Motion, which attendees leveraged to find a hydraulic leak inside a CV-22 Osprey using hand gestures to interact with the digital display, simulating an aircraft repair scenario. Or Kinect technology, which let participants step up to a screen and activate footage of a real F-35 Lightning II taking off, triggered by the user’s motion-tracked military salute.
THE RESULTS: Naturally, the experience… took off. The tour attracted 4,636 registrants in just over three months on the road and gave participants a realistic understanding of the critical role maintainers play in the Air Force’s overall mission. What’s more, RFID technology helped further identify leads as a result of an intricate data model that assigned color-coded wristbands to each registrant based on his or her propensity to join. The Hangar has since generated 538 qualified leads.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: One of the keys to the program’s success was recognizing that a single type of technology wouldn’t be enough to accurately convey the various roles maintainers perform, but rather several. But the Air Force didn’t just use your basic digital tools—it leveraged some of the most cutting-edge tech available at the time, from an app powered by Apple’s ARKit 2 with iOS 12 Beta, to large-scale mixed reality never seen before. A tour de force.
Best Touch- or Gesture-Based Event Interactive – Silver
Client: Kaiser Permanente Campaign: Be Like Steph Partners: Octagon, Next/Now
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: As the NBA’s official healthcare partner, Kaiser Permanente wanted to get consumers’ blood pumping for its All-Star Weekend sponsorship. Enter: Be Like Steph, a digital three-point shootout game that let fans step in front of a screen and into the shoes of NBA icon Steph Curry. Infrared motion-tracking cameras created digital skeletons of participants, who were ranked based on their timing, accuracy and motion. Fans were emailed a shareable video of the experience, along with information on Kaiser’s social health initiatives. Swish.
Best Touch- or Gesture-Based Event Interactive – Bronze
Client: PepsiCo Campaign: Gatorade Recovery Showcase Partner: Mirror Show Management
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Gatorade means business when it comes to its portfolio of science-backed products. So at the NSCA trade show, the brand focused its efforts on education via the Gatorade Recovery Showcase. The experience featured touch screens that, when activated by an attendee’s RFID-enabled wristband, became transparent and revealed a physical Gatorade product. Informational overlays featuring “hotspots” then appeared, allowing participants to physically interact with the display and bring up more detailed information, like the product’s nutritional label. A G-force to be reckoned with.
Client: Ford Campaign: Ranger Reveal Partner: Imagination
THE SETUP: The Ranger is a beloved Ford truck that rolled off the assembly line in 2011. So when the brand hit the North American International Auto Show to introduce its redesigned 2019 model, it wanted to rekindle the adventurous spirit that the vehicles—and their drivers—are known for. With a media briefing on its auto show agenda, Ford revved up the standard lackluster press conference (trust us on this one) with a “choose your own adventure”-style unveiling of the new truck. To make it happen, the automaker filmed and scripted different outdoor adventures that could end one of two ways. Then, at the start of the press conference, attendees received handheld clickers and were asked to select option A or B from three of the recorded scenarios. A film was then chosen based on the votes and broadcast on a double LED screen. When it ended, the screens parted to reveal the Ranger driving up and over a sloped turntable stage that rotated to create the illusion of movement against an animated backdrop.
THE RESULTS: The unconventional reveal was, of course, welcomed with open arms. The presentation garnered 91 percent favorability in earned media and snagged the highest share of voice over two other trucks launched on the same day, in addition to generating 446,105 social media engagements.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Ultimately, a number of tools were required to execute the world’s first audience-generated press reveal experience, including A/V assets, voting technology and a bespoke video system. The experience couldn’t have been pulled off without the revolutionary processing technology that allowed Ford to compile its content options on the fly, and broadcast the selected film moments after attendees had chosen it. Talk about a vote of confidence.
Client: Microsoft Campaign: Xbox Experience at E3 2018 Partner: Zed Ink
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Microsoft Xbox upped the ante on its E3 sponsorship this year with an awards show-style press briefing designed for live and digital audiences alike. The presentation stage was filled with tiered gaming stations featuring 4K screens, which were combined to create a captivating backdrop. Through a mix of tools and techniques—including 1,074 feet of Pixel Tape and 700 lighting fixtures—the stage environment and screens were transformed hundreds of times to accommodate the 40-plus presenting brands. gg, Xbox.
Client: LG Campaign: Cinema House Partner: BFG Communications
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: LG understands that while going to the movies is fun, there’s nothing like enjoying your favorite shows and films from the comfort of home. So to promote its OLED 4K TVs, the brand created the LG Cinema House. The experience, housed inside two shipping containers, featured 360-degree surround-sound technology, screens and projectors that, together, seamlessly broadcasted content from popular Netflix series onto the floor and walls of the structure, keeping attendees’ heads on a swivel as they caught the action from a custom couch. No “shushing” here.
Client: NFL Campaign: NFL Experience Times Square Partner: M1 Interactive
THE SETUP: For pigskin fans of every stripe, “fantasy football” took on a whole new meaning at the NFL Experience Times Square. The four-floor interactive experience offered countless opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in and explore the game, from the practice field to the Super Bowl. In addition to a state-of-the-art 4D theater, the Vince Lombardi Trophy and team exhibits, the experience entailed an array of interactive games. A Suit Up interactive let fans choose a team and jersey number on a tablet, then step in front of a 70-inch screen to watch as a virtual uniform appeared on their body, piece by piece. Participants then posed for a final shot for their “trading card.” The multi-player Quarterback Challenge featured a virtual tight end or wide receiver that appeared on a life-size screen ready for a toss. A brand ambassador yelled “Hike!” and the participant got three chances to “pass” a real football, which was sent through infrared sensors that recorded the speed and accuracy of the tosses. Fans could then compare their skills with friends, family—and their favorite quarterbacks.
THE RESULTS: For attendees, the best part was the ability to become active participants in football-centric activities, rather than spectators. It’s also worth noting that the experience could be enjoyed by consumers of all ages, and fans that ranged from casual to diehard. Or as Sports Illustrated Kids put it, “Whether you’re a huge fan or new to football, you won’t be disappointed.”
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: From multi-projector displays, to projector blending software, to 3D modeling, to infrared light curtains, to Microsoft Kinect motion-sensing devices (phew!), the NFL leveraged best-in-class technology to deliver the most engaging and innovative experience possible for football fans. Not to mention the expert use of personalization that today’s sports buffs crave. A real technological blitz.
Client: Lyft Campaign: Auto Tunes Partner: Deeplocal
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Lyft and Uber are constantly vying for mindshare in the rideshare category. For the Grammys’ 60th anniversary, Lyft set out to show consumers why it was more playful than its rival. The brand turned to its lifeblood, its cars, to deliver tech-infused mini concerts that leveraged the horns, wipers, alarms, door-locking beeps and subwoofers of five vehicles. Each car played a different part of the rhythm through a medley of Grammy-nominated songs, turning typically aggravating sounds into an enjoyable shared experience.
Client: Pandora Campaign: Personalized Moment Partner: Next/Now
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT:When it comes to Pandora’s annual pop-up concert, extending the program’s reach is a critical piece of the strategy. This year, Pandora designed an interactive experience built for organic social sharing to make it happen. The brand asked concert attendees a series of questions, with topics ranging from their perception of Pandora to their excitement level, and transformed the answers into a hyper-personalized, projection-mapped backdrop placed on a Pandora logo installation. Brand ambassadors used attendees’ own phones to capture the shareable moment.
Best Use of Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality – Gold
Client: Samsung Campaign: A Moon for All Mankind Partners: Cheil Worldwide, Iris, Framestore, Mannetron, GCVRS
THE SETUP: Space exploration has come a long way since NASA launched the Apollo program in 1968, yet only 12 Americans have walked on the moon over the last 50 years. Samsung aimed to (digitally) change that while inspiring the next generation of astronauts via its hyper-realistic “A Moon For All Mankind” virtual reality experience. The brand teamed up with NASA to develop an authentic 4D lunar gravity adventure powered by its Galaxy S9+ smartphone and Gear VR headset at Samsung’s brand home in New York City. Before the experience kicked off, the participant stepped into a custom flight suit and harness, and slipped on a helmet tailored to accommodate the VR headset. Next, a state-of-the-art rig calibrated to the individual’s weight hoisted the participant into the air as if they were one-sixth of their mass on Earth. From there, thanks to real-time tracking sensors and a wide field of view, the consumer was immersed in an untethered VR experience that gave them total freedom to explore computer-generated lunar landscapes and, of course, plant a flag on the moon.
THE RESULTS: The interstellar experience was a hit from the get-go, with 98 percent of consumers viewing Samsung as a leader in tech innovation following the activation. In addition, 86 of participants were more interested in buying a Samsung product, and 97 percent valued the collaboration between Samsung and NASA.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The NASA partnership provided a level of authenticity that was critical to the success of the experience. Samsung drew on the organization’s actual communications systems, for instance, to simulate the experience of receiving audio transmissions, giving participants a chance to hear the sound of passing meteors, ambient lunar noise and their own footsteps. The brand even modeled the virtual lunar surface off of NASA’s own data. Remarkably lifelike space experience? Mission accomplished.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT:Alcon, a medical company specializing in eye care products, knocked the socks off of doctors and staff alike at the American Academy of Ophthalmologists with the Virtual Eye Experience Academy, a VR experience that delivered various curriculums for learning the anatomy and physiology of the eye. Launched alongside a virtual lobby environment, the experience also included a data capture component that allowed Alcon to instantly see the results of the project on a larger scale. Talk about vision.
Best Use of Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality – Bronze
Client: USAA Campaign: Army Navy Game Parachute Partner: IMG Live
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: USAA is known for its long-term support of the legendary Army-Navy Game. So to elevate its sponsorship activation, the brand gave fans a chance to virtually participate in a rare experience—parachuting into Lincoln Financial Stadium on game day. Using 360-degree footage captured from an actual Navy jump, USAA created a multisensory VR experience brought to life with a real parachute harness. Fans could feel the wind rushing, the weightlessness of the descent and the vibrations from screaming fans. Sing it with us: “Free faaaaaaallllin’…”
THE SETUP: McDonald’s biennial Worldwide Convention aims to inspire and inform 15,000 global stakeholders, and in a year marked by unprecedented disruptions within the business, the brand needed its 2018 event to be more engaging than ever. Just as the fast food giant makes decisions based on customer insights, it designed the convention to be driven by attendee insights—and that meant personalization was paramount. McDonald’s took a three-pronged approach to the task, building a website to tease the event, a mobile app that offered customized convention experiences, and bespoke application program interfaces to interconnect it all. The key component, the app, leveraged attendee data and preferences to deliver a host of personalized touchpoints. Users could create a custom app interface, build a personalized agenda, rate convention experiences, receive tailored content, share and comment on a private social network, get group-specific push notifications, earn digital badges and leverage an interactive map that included a special signifier for their favorite exhibits. Phew.
THE RESULTS: Attendees were lovin’ it. In just 18 days, the app had 12,000 unique users, more than 127,000 unique sessions, over 39,000 digital badges earned and an average dwell time of four minutes and 24 seconds. We’re betting even Instagram was jealous.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: From educational sessions, to exhibits, to networking to entertainment, every angle of the convention could be tailored to maximize its value for each individual attendee. The app put the event in the palm of each person’s hand, allowing them to navigate information—and the experience—effortlessly. What’s more, the app was the chief method McDonald’s used to communicate with attendees, going far beyond the average meeting tool.
Client: Cisco Campaign: Cisco Live Partner: Eventbase
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Cisco’s premier customer event, Cisco Live, features everything from product announcements to 1,500-plus technical training sessions. What the conference doesn’t offer, however, is printed signage, making the Cisco Live app the only way to navigate the event. In 2018, Cisco leveraged a new app design to deliver more personalized experiences. AI-driven content recommendations, AR-based wayfinding, an integrated chatbot and in-badge beacon technology all contributed to a more efficient experience.
Client: Microsoft Campaign: Create Change Partner: Wasserman
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Microsoft’s Surface technology is often seen on the NFL’s sidelines, but its impact stretched beyond football thanks to Create Change, an integrated campaign designed to foster social change with the help of five NFL stars who run charities. Its retail component featured a custom illustration app that let customers design digital helmets for a cause in a 3D environment with a stylus that allowed them to intuitively draw directly onto a Surface screen. Consumers spent over 1,700 hours designing helmets, exceeding metrics with flying colors.
Client: Google Campaign: Google Cloud Next Partner: Sparks
THE SETUP: Google Cloud Next offers developers, partners, customers and IT professionals the “what’s now and next” across Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, Maps and Education. It includes 450 breakout sessions, 250 sponsor activations, boot camps for 2,000, an on-site executive briefing center, keynotes with overflow theaters, multiple expo halls, outdoor networking and F&B spaces, four embedded summits and more. It’s certainly a logistical tall order, but from a design perspective, it is also a challenge in making all of the parts fit the whole. Strategic design choices encouraged that union. Rather than unleash attendees into a sea of expo hall booths, Google gently immersed attendees in what it called “The Showcase.” Divided into seven zones and themed around Google Cloud product categories, attendees engaged in 80 vignettes that told customer stories through playful décor and revealing demos. To help attendees navigate the space, Google embraced civic planning strategies used by the likes of the World’s Fair, Olympics and Epcot in creating The Avenues, intuitive traffic arteries that provided visual cues for attendees.
THE RESULTS: For Google, it was a record breaker. Not only did conference attendance double from the previous year (at 25,000 attendees), it sold out as well. A record 100-plus product and solution launches, customer stories and announcements were shared on-site.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Google infused “encounters-based” experiences across the landscape at the massive Moscone Center in San Francisco, that felt cozy and creative. This included human wayfinding between spaces and buildings (there’s nothin’ like a friendly face), imaginative art installations, local culinary delights, appearances by imagineers and artisans, pool noodles, stress balls and plant life. Bright colors against neutral backdrops completed the full Google look. And sad ballrooms everywhere collectively sighed.
Client: Microsoft Campaign: One Week 2018 Partner: Zed Ink
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: At its 18,000-person One Week and Global Hackathon event, Microsoft employees explore Microsoft products and business objectives for the year ahead. A standout experience this year was The Expo, a 20-foot by 20-foot by 20-foot outdoor triangular structure with an architectural entrance and colorful awning strips. Underneath the “tent” were activations surrounding self-expression, such as a motion-sensing camera activation, customizable buttons and a data visualization wall. Microsoft experienced a 70 percent year-over-year increase in social hashtag activity. What’s not to share?
Client: Heineken Campaign: National Distributor Conference Partner: Proscenium
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Heineken USA typically hosts its annual 1,500-person conference in a traditional proscenium setting. This year, the brand created a black box theater with bleacher seating within the Dallas Convention Center in a space surrounded by massive, full canvas, 270-degree LED screens and an 80-foot by 40-foot LED floor for presenters to walk on. With a push of a button, the environment changed to match that of the “core four” U.S. brands represented by executives on the stage—like four shows in one.
THE SETUP: More people tuned in to the “Westworld” series premiere than any other series in HBO’s history. But with a 16-month hiatus between seasons, HBO needed to reignite and excite the fan base in the lead up to season two. What better place to light a fire among its fandom than SXSW? HBO recreated the Westworld “luxury theme park” at a top-secret location outside Austin. Consumers booked reservations at discoverwestworld.com and completed a “personality assessment” to determine their character archetypes before visiting the park. Participants entered the park through the train from the series and had 16 structures to explore—including iconic establishments from the show—across 90,000 square feet of space. They were free to explore and interact with the AI “hosts” played by more than 60 actors. Personal letters awaited each participant at the post office that directed them toward unfolding storylines within the park.
THE RESULTS: No surprises here—it was the hottest ticket in town. Tickets sold out in under two minutes each day and the standby line stretched over two city blocks. “Westworld” became the most discussed TV show on Twitter during SXSW, and social impressions reached 1.9 billion. Nearly 500 pieces of press were published from sources spanning the globe, with some touting SXSWestworld as… drum roll, please… “one of the best publicity stunts of the 21st century.”
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Two words: Total customization. No two consumers had the same experience as they scoured the park in search of hidden clues. As such, the park became a massive content generator where thousands of consumers shared unique experiences. All five senses played crucial roles: real horses and their odors, dusty roads, whiskey at the saloon, fresh straight razor shaves at the barber shop and coin currency that was heavy in weight.
Client: Nike Campaign: Just Do It HQ Partner: Gallagher
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Nike marked the 30th anniversary of its iconic Just Do It campaign with Just Do It HQ, a 21,582-square-foot futuristic facility in Hollywood that offered indoor-outdoor gyms, locker rooms, a media studio, a recovery center complete with cryotherapy, infrared light therapy, massage, NormaTec compression boots and electromagnetic pulse therapy. And… let’s not forget the full kitchen. Among highlights: a gym floor made of “regrind” rubber tiles created from ground-up Nike shoes and a hall of athlete signatures. Nothin’ but net.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The Bumble app helps people date, make friends and network, and for three months the Bumble Hive L.A. pop-up offered a functional and fashionable space to meet live. Among design highlights (that Architectural Digest covered, mind you): Gleaming yellow colors, backlit mirrors, chandeliers, plush seating and a hexagonal hive pattern throughout that screamed “Bumble” without any overt branding. The engagements were sweet, too: a headshot studio, custom claw machine of merch from Bumble Bee.tique and partner Casamigos tequila cocktails. Talk about buzz.
Client: Uber Campaign: Ride and Dine Partner: Manifold
THE SETUP: To demonstrate to a group of power users and frequent riders the new Uber Visa card and its four percent cash back on dining offer, Uber built a restaurant on wheels and invited Alex Guarnaschelli, a New York City chef, “Iron Chef” and Food Network judge to create neighborhood-inspired meals. After responding to a personal invitation, consumers arrived, boarded the bus and began their evening on the lower level with a 15-minute welcome by the chef followed by amuse-bouche. Upstairs, they enjoyed appetizers, entrees and dessert, with wine pairings—all served by five-star waiters and waitresses in traditional black attire. The star was that sleek bus, of course, that featured Uber’s signature rainbow gradient on either side. Motifs included white marble and subway tile and mirrored accents. There were butcher block counters, bouquets of flowers and wool throw blankets in seating areas, in addition to square tables, candles, soft music and a glass canopy overhead offering views of the skyline.
THE RESULTS: Over three days, Uber entertained 108 guests for two hours of uninterrupted engagement. The program yielded 200,000 direct impressions, 4.5 million media impressions, nine million social media impressions and more than 150,000 applications for the Uber Visa card in the first 30 days of the program. Charge it, baby.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: With its subtle nods to the Uber Visa card design, the bus was stylish and functional, too. The canopy above the second floor was designed as a removable piece to accommodate for warm nights when Uber wanted an open air feel and on cooler evenings that needed shelter without compromising the view. The experience was intentionally low-tech so attendees would feel present in the experience using all of their senses.
Client: Applegate Campaign: The Bacon Express Partner: Cyrano Rox
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Applegate launched a seven-city holiday tour to sample bites made from its organic bacon, traveling from Florida all the way up to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. The vehicle had a fully functioning kitchen with a menu by celebrity chef Ian Knauer that included items like Applegate bacon brownies. (Uh, YUM!) And the design—the hand-illustrated graphics, the reclaimed wood siding, the blinking Applegate marquee signage—was warm, inviting and simply delicious. Oh, and the bacon? It sold out that season.
Client: Absolut Elyx Campaign: Elyx Mobile Bar Partner: Legacy Marketing
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Absolut Elyx’s brand identity is luxurious. Its sparkling mobile bar, that could serve up to 1,000 people at any stop, certainly did the trick in positioning it in the high-end spirits space at lifestyle events across the country. Anything that was metal on the truck was wrapped in copper, from the fender to the wheel bolts. Other elements included tropical patterns, hand-cut shelving made from Balsa wood and copper vessels and the tagline “with love from Absolut Elyx xxx” imprinted on the back. We love.
Client: NBC Campaign: The Good Place Partner: Oaken Anchor
THE SETUP: If there is one thing Comic-Con attendees like most it is immersions. NBC, in taking over a 4,000-square-foot space in The Gaslamp Square in San Diego across from the convention center, created “The Good Place” world from the series. Forty consumers entered at a time through the big doors and into the neighborhood with actors waving and welcoming them to The Good Place. The experience included a nine-minute, three-act, immersive theatrical experience using a cast of comic improv actors. The actors played a variety of characters who would test the guests’ ethics and use RFID technology to judge and score them accordingly via their linked wristbands. Every inch of the experience was shareworthy, including the replica of lead character Eleanor’s home, scaling 30 feet high. There was also a 15-foot fork sticking out of the ground (a moment from the show), a mechanical, oversized lady bug that crawled over the wall to surprise attendees (another moment) and a shrimp carousel (yep, another moment). In other words, Easter eggs abounded in this space.
THE RESULTS: Daily throughput exceeded the brand’s goals by 30 to 55 percent and the activation served as one of the most buzzworthy campaigns NBC has ever experienced. But perhaps the biggest indicator of success of all was the three-hour-long wait to get into The Good Place. NBC cleverly built an eight-foot-tall hedge around the perimeter so those in line could hear the fun on the other side (perfect torture, and so on-series).
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: As the series is all about “good and perfect” actually being “bad and torturous,” the entire experience was gamified, embracing the show concept that every action humans take is scored with a point value that determines whether they are good or bad. RFID technology linked to each attendee included a score they received from pre-registration as well as collected scores they earned from actors in the activation. Most activations are about freebies and photos. This activation required action.
Client: Nutrien Ag Solutions Campaign: Farm of the Future Experience Partner: Osborn Barr
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: To demonstrate a “Farm of the Future,” Nutrien A Solutions activated the Futuredome, a bright, 60-foot in diameter white dome that stood out among the scores of trade show exhibits. Inside, attendees learned about the Nutrien Digital Platform on a 70-foot touch-screen monitor and developed their own custom logos on the spot using software that generated a file and printed a vinyl window sticker. Along with the dome was a 50-foot branded tower acting as a “beacon” and two 20-foot shipping containers that served as billboards.
Client: Constellation Brands Campaign: Pacifico Porch Partners: Friasworks, The Shop@Showready
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: If there is one color that gives off good vibes it’s yellow. Paired with porch swings, you’ve got a pretty comfortable setup that just screams, “Come, sit down for a while, and crack open a cold beer.” No, this was no ordinary beer garden. Pacifico at BottleRock, an upscale music festival, built a 30-foot by 30-foot, four-post installation with swings, a branded buoy photo op, beer, of course, and plenty of shade from the sun—an important amenity at festivals. Wood panels, shipping rope and metal trusses were as functional as they were surf-style, and aesthetically pleasing.
Client: Oculus by Facebook Campaign: Campus Oculus Partner: FGPG
THE SETUP: Taking a page from disruptive Silicon Valley tech company “campuses,” Oculus by Facebook at the Game Developers Conference created Campus Oculus, a space for developers to reimagine how they “live, work, and game” in the context of VR. The 60-foot by 100-foot double-decker exhibit looked and felt like an energetic tech campus with trees, communal seating, gathering spaces and open-air balconies. Upstairs featured private meeting rooms to showcase product in development. Strategically placed LED walls on the exterior of the exhibit promoted new game releases. A stage and seating area facilitated “Lightning Talks.”And rather than offer your standard product demo station, Oculus offered a showcase of Oculus Go, where large groups of attendees could interact with the product, each other and product specialists. Best of all, a transparent glass exterior and the open lounge seating meant anyone could see what was happening outside in a space that felt inviting enough to stay a while.
THE RESULTS: Sometimes, designs look good on paper but don’t quite translate in the physical setting. The renderings and customer journeys were nearly identical to what actually happened in the booth, according to feedback. Reportedly, Oculus executives continued to invite industry friends in to enjoy the experience. Talk about an endorsement.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: At a show about virtual worlds and, essentially, make believe, Oculus’s campus was a refreshing “living, breathing” space with materials like wood, metal and glass, succulents and full-size trees. An interesting fabrication note—the build involved a proprietary custom double-deck structure that used C channels and V brackets welded to joists in place of a standard I-beam design. Not only was it ultra-lightweight, thereby reducing drayage costs, but crews set it up in half the time.
Client: Cisco Campaign: Mobile World Congress 2018 Partner: Mirror Show Management
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT:Cisco’s booth made a dramatic statement on the outside and inside with 23 fabric louvers that undulated overhead and created a sculptural effect. Inside, the two-story structure formed an atrium with demos in the center and on the second floor, conference rooms. Visitors could look down from a wrap-around balcony on the second floor that offered stunning views of the footprint. The intriguing, inviting design led to a 42 percent increase in overall booth and demo activity shot up by 88 percent.
Client: IBM Campaign: IBM Think Welcome Experience Partner: George P. Johnson
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The design goals of IBM’s Think Welcome Experience were to spark inspiration, spur emotion and showcase how IBM and its clients are solving world challenges together. The 14-foot LED tunnel that ran underneath the second floor of the exhibit was a super-highway of content and branding. On either side of the tunnel were 10-foot LED screen walls that told different customer stories. A mirrored finish on the ceiling above created movement. It was a feature worth passing under—and then stopping and staying awhile.
Client: Intel Campaign: 2018 CES Keynote Partners: Clarity Creative Group, John Halloran + Associates
THE SETUP: To demonstrate Intel’s role in developing smart, data-powered experiences and technologies like autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, the brand staged a massive keynote at CES 2018 in Las Vegas featuring immersive demonstrations leveraging Intel technology—including the first U.S. flight of an Intel-powered flying car, the Volocopter. The event kicked off with a live music performance from four musicians whose gestures controlled the composition through the use of Intel-powered smart gloves. AI-powered drones and avatars joined in on the jam session, with the latter learning parts in real-time along with the human musicians on stage. A dancer’s movements, through the use of wearable sensors, RealSense depth cameras and location technology, were translated in real-time to a data-powered A/V experience. The keynote also featured an NFL game experience in Intel True VR.
THE RESULTS: Intel wowed more than 4,000 attendees at the event, including key decision-makers, media and tech-industry audiences. A massive stage featured 1,700 LED tiles, three types of 70-foot retractable screens, indoor location technology that allowed positioning without GPS, and Shooting Star Mini-Drones, all to demonstrate Intel-powered tech. The event also earned a Guinness World Record for the most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously and controlled by a single computer.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The future is here, people. AI-powered avatars playing and learning music in real-time. Drones performing a rendition of “Chopsticks.” An actual flying car. And human beings making music solely with gestures, giving a whole new meaning to air guitar. All taking place before 70-foot LED screens over the course of 90 minutes. The keynote kept on giving post-show, too. For the first time, ever, on the Strip, Intel staged an outdoor drone show over the Bellagio fountains featuring 300 drones moving to music.
Client: Walmart Campaign: Associates and Shareholders Week Partner: LEO Events
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: An audience of 14,000 people from 29 countries attending Walmart’s annual meeting received a special visit from company founder Sam Walton—in the form of a hologram. Projected by two 30K laser projectors and reflected against Holo-Gauze fabric, the 3D animation of Walton was able to “meet” the next generation of the company’s associates and shareholders. Other highlights: stage design included 18 million pixels of video surface and LED video flooring that melded seamlessly with the LED center screen.
Client: Hilton Campaign: Global Owners Conference Partner: agencyEA
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: This one was a show-stopper. The conference’s super-wide screen spanned 460 feet and featured 2,050 panoramic LED panels, curved elements to enhance the dimension and motion of the design, and an LED band overhead that ran the width of room. The screen configuration allowed for two days of speaker walk-on animations, interstitials, speaker presentations and video moments. The event’s graphic representation was a nebula, which swept across the screens in between videos, presentations and performances before an audience of 2,500 attendees from 36 countries.
Client: Museum of the Bible Campaign: Hebrew Bible Experience Partner: BRC Imagination Arts
THE SETUP: Stories from the Bible are vivid, emotional and chaotic. To tell them requires an epic storytelling mechanism, and for experience builders that means a balance of physical and screened effects. The Hebrew Bible experience at Museum of the Bible, a 30-minute immersive journey that spanned 15,000 square feet and included five mini theaters and 10 theatrical walkthrough environments, delivered. Highlights included a prologue with projection effects that “let there be light,” pulsating lights and simulations like a hyssop bush suddenly bursting into three-dimensional flame effects as the “voice of God commands Moses to liberate his people from Egypt,” and a long narrow space with a fiber optic star field above that told the story of the rise and fall of the Kingdom of Israel. The exhibit took a year of planning as designers modeled crowd flow patterns and used custom software to pre-plan for and make sure each visitor group’s experience, 35 at a time, would feel special and personalized.
THE RESULTS: Overall attendance for the Museum of the Bible has reached nearly one million visitors since opening. As the Washington Post wrote, “The new Bible museum tells a clear, powerful story. And it could change the museum business.” Quite the endorsement. But, one visitor’s comment may say it all: “Did we enjoy it? I wanted to jump out of my seat and cheer.”
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Storytelling took center stage with special effects built around the “red thread,” or crux of each story in the Bible. Media was incorporated in non-traditional ways. While the museum on the whole incorporates many screens and technologies, in this particular exhibit, technology played a strategic, supporting role letting visitors use their imaginations. “Guests never notice pixels, projectors or speakers,” the museum describes. “All of the technology is painstakingly hidden so that the story and emotion shine through.”
Client: Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Campaign: This Little Light of Mine Partners: Hilferty & Associates, Transformit, Monadnock Media, CED, Exhibit Concepts
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The galleries of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum don’t “shy away from difficult truths,” but they also bring forward stories of hope, courage and action. What could have been a straight-forward reflection space highlighting people and songs from the Civil Rights movement instead was a dramatic, 50-foot-tall, circular gallery illuminated by 6,000 responsive LED lights thanks to Microsoft Kinect sensors. As visitors leave the space, the lights and music dim, and when they enter… well: “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”
Client: Thomas Cole National Historic Site Campaign: The Parlors Partners: Publicis.Sapient, Second Story
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Tapping into that innate desire many of us have to peer into other people’s lives, The Parlors exhibit allows visitors to learn about artist Thomas Cole, the man. The storytelling device: an A/V presentation projected onto seven canvases that include “windows” in the space and onto period furnishings, like Cole’s desk, tea table and more. Visitors feel as though they are eavesdropping on conversations surrounding Cole’s life. Attendance has increased by 25 percent since it opened. Quite the story, indeed.
Client: Frontier Developments Campaign: Jurassic World E3 2018 Partners: Envy-Create, Display Fabrication Group
THE SETUP: To celebrate the release of its new game Jurassic World Evolution, British game developer Frontier Developments created a rather unconventional trade show booth at E3 2018 in Los Angeles. The game allows fans to construct and run their own Jurassic Park. But rather than merely setting up game consoles for attendees, the company designed an experience similar to that of the Jurassic World movie series, beginning with 24-foot-tall looming gates at the footprint’s entryway. Beyond the gates were raptor and T-Rex escape zones featuring half-destroyed fencing, fabricated T-Rex footprints, claw marks on container walls, and other details that conveyed a chaotic dinosaur escape. Once past the initial entry, attendees were invited into a dark theater where the rules of the game were explained by a “scientist,” and then escorted to the T-Rex cage where consoles were set up for play.
THE RESULTS: The experience drew long lines throughout the duration of the conference. The activation received a visit from Frank Marshall, producer of the “Jurassic World” film, who gave his blessing. Frontier also staged a live stream of the game and worked closely with Twitch to launch the experience.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Necessity is the mother of invention. With the event coinciding with the movie release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the team found itself experiencing a prop shortage. The solution was to redesign the raptor area to suggest a T-Rex “escape” in order to accommodate the lack of dinosaurs in the space. Frontier also used fans’ Jurassic Collectable Jeeps to fill the area at no cost. T-Rex footprints, broken fencing, exposed concrete flooring and incorporating a broken lighting fixture (accidents happen) were other creative solves to budget constraints—none of which detracted from the world itself.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The entire exterior of Munchkin’s exhibit was wrapped in vacuum-formed panels featuring LED video tiles—100 feet of them—that showcased an adaptation of its animated campaign film “Miracles.” Portions of the film, which interprets the world through a child’s imagination, along with animated animals that are featured on the cups, were projection-mapped onto larger-than-life-sized sippy cups. An art installation of 7,000 hearts matching the colors of the Munchkin logo were hung overhead with monofilament line, spun slowly to reflect colors and light onto the space.
Best Trade Show Exhibit (50′ x 50′ and Up) – Bronze
Client: IBM Campaign: Watson Health at RSNA Partner: 3D Exhibits
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT:With the goal of clarifying the role of artificial intelligence in healthcare and humanizing a technical subject for radiologists and healthcare providers, IBM created three separate areas for attendee education: theater-style presentations functioning as an overview, demo kiosks featuring real-life applications of AI in healthcare, and private meeting room spaces to facilitate more in-depth conversations. Meanwhile, two sets of 20-foot tall beams with dynamic LED displays and a 20-foot LED cube hanging in the center of the exhibit attracted attendees from all across the show floor.
Client: Sleep Number Campaign: CES 2018 Partner: Centerpoint Marketing
THE SETUP: The Sleep Number 360 bed isn’t just an adjustable bed—it’s a smart bed. It includes biometric sleep tracking technology. It identifies and warns of a heart attack symptoms and detects sleep apnea. It’s a glimpse into the future of health and wellness and at the Consumer Electronics Show, Sleep Number built a small but mighty exhibit designed to help it establish itself as a leader in the SleepTech category. But, beyond being a demo of the beds, the exhibit needed to entertain and educate the media, tech enthusiasts and consumers. In this sanctuary of smart beds, Sleep Number invited visitors to come in, lie down and relax to learn about the features via LED screens hanging above each bed. Biowave patterns attracted consumers from afar. A “brain”-like design structure hovered over each bed to enclose a video monitor, where the attendee could watch and listen to video content from the perspective of the bed while “she” was adjusting to the perfect level of comfort
THE RESULTS: The brand received placements in publications like Engadget, Good Housekeeping, the “Today” show, and overall, media impressions exceeded goals by three times and social media engagements by four times as 4,000 attendees experienced the bed in person. To boot, the engagement rate was 84.37 percent, compared to an average of 39 percent.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Less is more in the case of Sleep Number, which let the beds be the star of the show set against glossy black and mirrored surfaces on the structure and flooring. The attendees could see, hear and feel the beds intuitively sensing and automatically adjusting to their individualized preferences. Nap, anyone?
Best Trade Show Exhibit (Under 50′ x 50′) – Silver
Client: Rubrik Campaign: VMworld 2018 Partner: Astound Group
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Some exhibits go for function, others for maximum exposure. Rubrik went with the latter, creating an art installation for a booth that integrated 500 suspended beams that emerged from the back wall to create a live-wired canopy. The beams were internally lit and programmed to undulate in unison, creating waves of shimmers and movement. The canopy was surrounded by a four-foot-wide LED video screen that wrapped around the perimeter. A bright idea? Oh, yes.
Best Trade Show Exhibit (Under 50′ x 50′) – Bronze
Client: Taco Bell Campaign: Fantasy Freeze Partner: Cyrano Rox
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: Taco Bell went after Gen Z at VidCon with an Instagram-worthy sampling bar of a new frozen beverage called Fantasy Freeze. Not only did attendees get to taste the freeze and customize it with a variety of toppings, they then got to take a video selfie of their creations in a small-scale, 180-degree GIF video booth. There was merch, too. This “Willy Wonka”-style engagement also included conveyor belts, sound effects and fog.
Client: Google Campaign: Google Home Mini Pop Up Tour Partner: MAS Event Design
THE SETUP: To celebrate the launch of the Google Home Mini product, the smaller version of the Google Home, the brand created an experiential campaign bringing to life its slogan, “The Size of a Donut, the Power of a Superhero,” with an interactive, brick-and-mortar donut shop. Google created three versions of the donut shop—a small pop-up, a VIP truck and two 26-foot trucks-turned-patisseries. Consumers posed questions to the voice-activated Mini, received responses and got either a gourmet donut treat or a “superhero”—the Google Home Mini itself. The pop-up design had a retro diner feel, with bright pink countertops, pink leather chairs, diner-themed menus featuring suggested questions to ask the Mini, and wait staff donning pink bowties, high-top Chuck Taylors and white aprons. A conveyor belt, carrying both faux donuts and Minis, lined the shop’s perimeter, and in the center of the space was a 12-foot-tall tower filled to the brim with colorful sprinkles.
THE RESULTS: Throughout the tour, lines were wrapped around multiple city blocks, with an average of nearly 3,000 interactions per day. Google was generous with its giveaways as well—and not just to satisfy the crowd’s sweet tooth. While setting up shop in Manhattan, Google gave away 3,840 donuts per day, and 2,880 Minis were awarded each day as well.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: The interactive conveyor belt displaying faux donuts and Home Minis allowed consumers to pick from a menu of suggested questions, which, when posed to the Mini, triggered the belt to release a branded, pink box shaped like an A-frame house—filled with either a donut or a Home Mini. The Willy Wonka-inspired moment created a whimsical, surprise-and-delight engagement for consumers. The shop also had a GIF station where guests tossed handfuls of colored confetti into the air, emulating sprinkles, just as a gust of wind blew them around, snow globe-style. On trend and yet totally unique.
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: To attract a younger audience and infuse motion into an otherwise static environment, Mercedes-Benz created video content that incorporated local cultural influencers, from street artists to musicians to photographers. Consumers test drove a Mercedes-AMG GT R through a 4D virtual reality experience including smells, wind and visual triggers. And an interactive Audio Bar let shoppers listen to playlists curated by brand ambassadors through Mercedes-Benz, Harman-Kardon and Bose headphones. The aesthetic featured leather, light wood tones, raw concrete and modern, minimalist materials to convey a younger, coffee-culture experience.
Best Permanent or Pop-up Retail Experience – Bronze
Client: TOTO Campaign: Washlet of Wonderment Partner: satoriteller
WHY THE JUDGES LOVE IT: TOTO created a showroom of private bathrooms featuring its Washlet product, an electronic bidet, where attendees learned about its features from an animated holographic character by the name of “Shizukun.” Triggered by a motion and door-sensor system when the consumer entered the bathroom, the story told by the childlike blue creature encouraged attendees to take a break and experience all the luxury the TOTO commode has to offer. An immersive projection wall featuring motion graphic animations and a 6K video scene of the San Francisco Bay added to the tranquil vibe. Quite the royal flush.