MKTG and Perceptual Engineering unite to humanize 2018

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Lifestyle marketing agency MKTG, and creative technology team, Perceptual Engineering hosted an experiential future think event for clients over breakfast yesterday.

Guests were invited to interact with some of the unique creations at Perceptual Engineering’s Kingsland studio, including Interactive Earth, an experience which gives the audience control over the fate of the planet, the structure is based on a two metre fibre glass sphere projected onto from all sides, the fate of the earth changes dramatically and visually by manipulating the parameters 'nature', 'development', 'control' and 'chaos'. 

Perceptual Engineering Co-Director Jon Baxter demonstrated their award winning work and talked about some of his favourite projects including a ‘time machine’ built for Te Papa and their involvement in the recent hit theater production, Pleasuredome. Baxter explained that for the production, the team not only produced the visual effects, they created the entire set as a VR preview experience for the cast and crew before it was complete, enabling them to visualise the production and make key decisions about what the live experience would actually be. 

Baxter says that a shared sense of perspective has brought the two agencies together to share ideas and create the Humanize 2018 event experience;

“Despite technology being an intrinsic part of our toolkit, we are ultimately driven by ideas, stories, and the opportunity to create human connection.”

A senior panel from MKTG comprised of General Manager Fleur Skinner, Head of Strategy Jacquie Bennett and Head of Engagement Jacqui Marks then presented key insights and trends, as well as an introduction to Isaac; a new proximity sensor for tracking people in experiential and retail environments, offering measurement and insight previously unavailable to brands.

Key insights
Brand relationships are increasingly digital relationships, and while consumers want seamless digital experiences, they’re still searching for enriching experiences to share.

Digital brands are therefore recognising the power of live brand experience, take Amazon Go andAirbnb’s Van Gogh Bnb as examples

Experiencing a brand trumps broadcast advertising; according to the Dentsu Aegis Network’s proprietary Consumer Connection System (CCS) research tool.

The best brand experiences are driven by a powerful human truth. Dentsu Aegis Network Head of Strategy Jacquie Bennett called out her two favourite MKTG experiential campaigns of the year, both based on a clear human truth; firstly the NZ launch of Cars 3 for Disney Pixar. The Cars 3 racetrack activation connected kids’ passion for the film with their innate desire to express their excitement physically, they just love to run. The solution allowed the kids to be part of the Cars 3 action – usually reserved for the screen, they got to run on a replica Cars 3 track and of course, climb the podium for the trophy moment at the end.

Secondly Bennett gave a nod to the MKTG UK team for their London launch of Adidas boost. For the active female target audience the team tapped into another powerful human truth, when it’s dark in London women just don’t feel safe to get out and exercise. The solution landed in the form of a unique activation space where women could generate energy (‘from jumping, jogging to downward dogging’), all with the aim of generating enough kinetic power to light up a running track.

Key trends for 2018 

Hyper Personal
MKTG General Manager Fleur Skinner explained that events and experiences will move from personalised to hyper personal; offering a completely unique experience per person.

“Hyper-personal is deeper, more meaningful, memorable and sharable.” IBM’s Watson as Museum Guide in Brazil is a great example of how Artificial Intelligence can be deployed to offer a deeply personal experience of a large space. And it’s worth visiting The Old Claire Hotel in Sydney if you want to experience their take on personalisation. They collect (public) social media insights about their guests before they arrive and leave personal touches in guest rooms, your favourite chocolate perhaps, or a framed portrait of your favourite musician. 

Retail as venue
Retail has the opportunity to be a leisure destination, not just to compliment, but as a primary motivator for visitors – one which fuels the secondary consumer motivation, to shop. A fun example is the world’s largest Lego store in London, where you can create your own Lego Mosaic portrait. Step into a photo booth and the camera will scan and map your face, offering you a print out and a corresponding Lego kit to get creating your Lego self. 

Glass Box Brands Go Live
There’s no denying the global transparency trend, consumer expectations around ethical corporate behavior and sustainability are high. Patagonia apparel has long embraced a self-aware state in terms of their role in consumerism, famous for their Black Friday ‘don’t buy this jacket’ ad campaign, but the brand has more recently been demonstrating their values with brand activation. The shift, from saying to doing is evident in their recent campaign called the ‘Worn Wear College Tour’, where a bio-diesel truck, customised with a built in sewing room, toured campuses to repair and renew clothing. This might be the best of both worlds for the brand, the experience connects the audience to the brand in a deeper, more meaningful way building brand equity, which in turn leads consumers to um, buy more stuff.

Tech Enhanced
Technology isn’t a reason to activate, it’s an enabler to enhance experiences and to help extend them to new audiences. But technology will always play a big role in inspiring new ideas and fulfilling our potential as marketers. The tech we expect to be enabling activation in the coming year includes biometrics, (the return of) holograms, and augmented reality - through a social lens. One of this year’s best biometric experiences came from Mountain Dew. The Mountain Dew 2017 ‘Dew Tour’ offered event goers the chance to experience ‘the art of doing gallery’.

During the event athletes wore sensors to capture the unique physical and sensory experience of each skateboarder. The information was analysed and translated into digital art. A personalised led canvas was created for each skateboarder. Facial recognition sensors in each canvas then captured the emotional response of event attendees and projected their emotional reaction onto a wall of 100 skateboards.

The tech application is impressive, but more importantly it’s meaningful because the campaign was based on a core human truth, that there is ‘no feeling like doing’. When you get out there and live your passion you have a unique connection with a sense of self, the technology and the execution allows the audience to visualise that, and connect with the idea.

MKTG, Technology, New Zealand, 2018, Trends