Today's pop culture is rooted in remakes, reboots, and comebacks. From entertainment (Jurassic World, Fuller House, and Queer Eye) to fashion (Tommy Hilfiger, dad sneakers, and fanny packs) it seems that everything old is new again. Nowhere is the cyclical nature of trends more evident than in music. As hip hop continues to dominate the charts, old school icons Cher, Robyn, and Janet Jackson still get airtime with each long overdue release. However, for 500 fans cruising along New York’s Hudson River, it's all about emo.
Event attendees rarely think about the work that goes into its creation – the countless hours of planning, negotiating, and problem solving. And, as creators, we don’t want them to. We want them to walk into a world that seemingly appeared overnight, in which every detail, from the entertainment to the wine glasses, works together in harmony.
Nothing is quite as personal as music. A familiar song has the power to elicit an emotional reaction and transport its listener to another place and time. Music is almost an emotion in itself — an incomprehensible force capable of defying our differences and drawing people together. For brands, music holds power. The power to unite their fans together and create a sense of community. The power to evoke a nostalgia. The power to establish trust. And the power to build consumer loyalty. But, only when it's implemented authentically.
When Pop2Life was acquired in March, Erica Boeke was one of the first names buzzing around our office in NYC's Flatiron neighborhood. As 23 Stories' VP of Strategy and Experiences, Erica was an integral part of finding and hiring our agency, bringing us downtown to One World Trade Center and into the fast-paced world of Condé Nast. Her high-energy, intuition, and creative connection with our CEO, Eric Murphy ("We planned that," he said, when Eric and Erica were introduced together during our acquisition announcement) matched the energy of Pop2Life perfectly.
Pop2Life partner, Future Colossal, is extreme. Extremely creative, extremely passionate, extremely artistic, and extremely innovative. They're the kind of team that can listen to a description of a never-been-done-before, seemingly impossible, out there idea and respond with, "Yeah, we can do that." From digitally altering every car on a busy Manhattan street to creating artificially intelligent, interactive window displays, their team of designers, technologists, hardware fabricators, and coders has literally invented the technology needed to pull off a project when it didn't already exist.
Describing your brand as "socially savvy" means nothing anymore. Every brand is tweeting, 'gramming, and Snapchatting, but is it working? Is a heavy social presence capturing consumers' attention and creating an increase in profit? Or are we all so numb to branded content that we've learned to ignore it on billboards, TV ads, and pre-roll before this?
We've said it before and we'll say it again, Pop2Life loves our partners. We've worked with the team at Angel City Designs for years and share a roster of clients including HGTV (couldn't execute the Lodge without them), NBC, Atlantis, and SyFy. From an event's first brainstorm session to set strike, Angel City has provided innovative design solutions and technology, bringing each experience to life.
At Pop2Life we don’t have clients or vendors - we have partners. Every killer activation we produce comes to life through the blood, sweat, and tears of those partnerships. So, when the CEO of FoxTales, Josh Hubberman, who launched the interactive experience company with his partner Scott Kircher in 2011, told me his mantra is “to just do cool shit with cool partners,” it was a match made in experiential marketing heaven.
I chose to pursue an internship at Pop2Life, obviously, because I feel this company has something special in how they go about the work they do, but it was their use of experiential marketing that initially drew me in.