Richard John explores two new engaging brands using technology to the full
In a world where the buzzword is ‘disruption’ – technology wreaking havoc on traditional ways of doing things – it can be a challenge to even contemplate what’s coming next; Is that new shiny gizmo actually the next Betamax?
One agency looking to solve the dilemma is Engage Works. From their trendy offices in East London the company produces what they describe as ‘connected experiences’.
As part of the ambitious growth strategy, the company has recruited David Preston as MD. His background includes numerous agencies, as well as heading the events divisions of IBM and Kaspersky Labs.
Under Engage are two distinct brands. Preston explains. “Engage LDN is an interactive technology company aiming to connect leading brands with their to audiences in more effective ways. That means combining innovative thinking with robust, scalable methods, to deliver interactive experiences that transform our clients’ businesses.”
That process means thinking about current technology in a different way. For The Leadenhall Building (aka The Cheesegrater), the company took interactivity to a new level. The traditional video wall became a powerful interactive tool for would-be tenants, allowing visitors the opportunity to visualise the opportunities. It was slick combination of the latest 4K presentation techniques, blended with robust interactive technology.
And with ROI being high on corporate agendas, Engage are also ensuring effective measurement. Sky Broadcast have used Engage for several years, and commissioned them to support the company’s CSR programme aimed at reaching more than a million students by 2020.
Sky wanted to provide schoolchildren with a fun, interactive and educationally beneficial service where they could experience first-hand what it is like to work in a broadcasting studio. Engage realised this vision in both Sky’s England and Scotland headquarters by designing intuitive, digitally enabled environments. Over 1,000 students each month are experiencing first-hand state-of-the-art ‘green screen’ studios, video-wall immersion rooms and cutting-edge editing suites.
Engage also works with many automotive clients, a sector known for embracing innovation. For the unveiling of the Octavia vRS, Skoda wanted to convey the ease, and excitement of the new driving experience. The Engage solution was a driving simulation experience where participants got to sit in the driver’s seat and star in their own TV commercial. Their footage was combined with pre-recorded commercial footage to make a full-length, professional TV advert which could be shared through social media.
At the other end of the market, Engage was brought in to show off the new Porsche Panamera on an eight-country Middle Eastern tour. Here an augmented reality app interacted with AR markers fitted to two display vehicles to bring the vision and features of the brand to life. The app allowed customers to learn more about the car features through a variety of content including photo galleries, text, video and animation.
“It’s one thing to be creative,” says marketing manager Vanessa Whiteside, “but it’s another to thing to create something that allows for mass participation.”
She points to the success of Facebook’s participation at the Lyons event in Cannes; 12 large plasma screens, each with 24 video capture windows playing at once allowed 3,000 people to upload video vignettes.”
Entertaining big crowds was also the order of the day when Sony wanted to showcase their Make-Believe concept at Heathrow Terminal 5. Visitors entered a self-supporting black helix and enjoyed a 360-degree audio-video movie experience. The wraparound film took visitors on a journey through Terminal 5, the sky, space and ultimately into a Sony make-believe world.
The other Engage brand, Flux LDN, is a virtual and physical collaboration space where ideas and technology meet. “We see it as a hotbed for bleeding edge innovation, where we explore the art of the possible, ideas and technology in an ever-evolving interactive environment,” says Preston. “By getting hands on with cutting-edge interactive work,” he adds, “brands and agencies can explore the potential of emerging technology. It acts as our shop window for the Art of the Possible”. It’s also become a popular networking space; since it opened in 2014 more than 1,500 visitors from over 600 companies have passed through.