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Future Thinking

February 2021

TikTok, Prada, Mickey Mouse and Tomorrowland –
introducing the new normal of virtual and hybrid events.


Innovations we foresee based on trends we notice

For most, virtual production came as a necessary pivot: with physicality on a forced hiatus, brands could only communicate virtually. And since we were all craving what we could not have, most virtual experiences were replacing and replicating the physical world we knew for a virtual world as close to reality as possible. Yet as we see the light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines rolling out and physical activations confirmed for late Spring, how do we foresee virtual evolving? First, we do not see it going away. Every client has confirmed that their new normal will include virtual and hybrid. Many of their clients will expect to have the flexibility to attend in person or virtually. Brands have also tasted the benefits of wider audiences and exciting video content created from virtual. Yet how will it evolve from here? We expect to see a reinforcement of the surreal over the real. We believe virtual technologies will allow brands to create and innovate instead of just replicate. What do we mean? Take the innovative concert of Travis Scott on Fortnite. The technology was impressive, the sound system perfect and the audience curated for the experience. Yet the most memorable aspect for us was the surreal environment that transported the audience out of their current physical worlds, and into a cloud-world of beauty. And why not? Why does a virtual concert need to be in a dark field with a stage in front? In the same way, why does a branded experience need to be in a space that replicates a store? Why not make it on the back of a cloud or at the top of Mount Everest if that is brand adapted? Or looking at Prada and their integration of sensorial elements into their virtual runway, we cannot imagine this textural extravaganza going away. Evolving certainly, but the Prada creative team has just unlocked a new avenue to kindle emotion. Why would they ever go back to plain video-casting? A new world of creativity is opening. We are excited by the possibilities.

TikTok going physical at Superbowl

Safety protocols to boost a PR effort? TikTok is successfully combining the two by offering an exclusive in-person Miley Cyrus tailgate concert to fully vaccinated healthcare heroes. Brand relevance with full Covid safety!
ROI: Brand relevance with over 4M social posts, fully positive, weeks before the event

Prada brilliantly bringing ASMR in virtual show

Some content translates better online. Smart brands are now adapting their physical products to the reality of virtual only marketing.
ROI: The company’s “most viewed” digital event ever accumulated over 170 million views the day of the show

Mickey Mouse x Keith Haring x Coach virtual shopping experience

Artists lead the way in experience, and virtual experiences are no different. See for yourself what some call a virtual “Exploratorium”.
ROI: Brand awareness strongly geo-targeted to Asian audiences on wechat

Oreo: Breakthrough experience without an audience

While audiences have felt ambivalent by traditional advertising in these unprecedented times, they have craved entertainment (lucky Netflix…). Shifting traditional awareness budget to stunt campaigns have benefited several brands in 2020. Our favorite? The Oreo Vault.
ROI: Brand awareness uptick with nearly 90M social impressions

Tomorrowland's virtual pivot

Our teams are often asked whether virtual experiences can truly impact a target audience in a similar way to a physical one. While many fall short by defaulting to a basic zoom meeting, the success of Tomorrowland’s pivot and its refined experience for New Year’s Eve proves that a human connection can happen from across the screen. Bizbash covered the experience.
ROI: Over 950,000 paying virtual visitors, almost x2.5 their usual physical participants and over $23M in sold tickets

CES iHeartMedia's floating club with Ryan Seacrest, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa

The tech uncovered at CES was well covered but the format of this year’s key conference networking event is worth noting. With headliners to attract the crowds, and a set-up made for virtual industry catch-ups, this was this unique year’s key event.
ROI: Brand relevance amongst 300+ industry influencers

Cannes Lions will be in person in June 2021

Clients often ask when we expect physical experiences to come back. This significant industry player has drawn a line in the sand confirming we can all plan on being together this June in the South of France. Who wants to join?
ROI: The jury is clearly out, but we’ll keep our eyes on the metrics

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