brand launch

blockchains llc

Date: July 2018 - November 2018
Client: Blockchains LLC
Role: Associated XD Director

In 2018, Blockchains LLC had a plan that was going to change the world. In Prague, Czech Republic, they announced they were building a smart city run on the blockchain.

my role

My client was looking to change the world and had invested billions of dollars in jumpstarting that dream. An event was to be created to make that global announcement coinciding with a famed developers conference in the host city, which also acted as a call to the blockchain developer community.

From July 2018, I led the experience design of the Blockchains LLC launch event, collaborating on a very tight deadline with our animation partner, Digital Domain on the digital content, as well as, with Algorithm Productions on the event design and development.

Blockchains LLC globally launched in Prague, Czech Republic, November 2018.

experience strategy & vision

I designed several sketches and moodboards to align and evangelize the vision of the event experience with my internal team for buy-in before being sold to the client and communicated to our various partners. The concept was to transport our guests from Prague to the blockchain, immersing them in a digital utopia of digital touch points and sculptures.

oversight & coordination

Through an RFP process, I sourced a number of outside vendors that would handle various aspects of the project deliverables. With a tight deadline, daily check-ins were needed over several different time zones to meet weekly milestones. I coordinated with our internal producers and our external partners managing the visual production, as well as, coordinating efforts with our event production partners tasked to develop the immersive experience.

Leadership

I designed up and presented works to gain buy-in from senior stakeholders internally, as well as, stakeholders and executives on the client-side throughout the project lifecycle.

The Challenge

Design the most influential event of 2018 in the developer industry.

Blockchains had an ambitious plan to change the world for the better, tapping into the blockchain technology. To make this dream a reality, they proposed building a utopian society of the very near future on a plot of land outside Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Needing an army of visionaries, developers, and investors, they tasked my team to develop a launch event as a call to action to the world’s best developers, freethinkers, and investors.

A launch event was proposed to coincide with a major blockchain developers conference in Prague. This event was aimed to sell the idea of a blockchain city and excite, inspire and energize our 1700 attendees of invited business leaders and developers.

A crowd of 1700 enthusiastic Developers and business people enjoying the evening.

The approach

integrated disruption

The event I was designing wasn’t officially associated with the developer’s conference, so it competed with offsite conference-related events. We needed to draw as much attention to Blockchains LLC and the event it would be hosting, as the most hyped event in the developer world.

To pull it off, my team developed media campaigns, taking over 85% of Prague’s outdoor signage, blasting social media sites like Twitter and Reddit. This stirred up the much-needed attention and conversation.

Days before the event, we began an evening campaign of projection mapping videos highlighting the client’s brand, as well as, hinting to the event.

For security reasons, we needed to shroud the event in secrecy, never giving away too much. This was a frustration point for many skeptical developers thinking this was some lame publicity stunt with no substance.

BTS of the Prague event curtesy of our partners, Algorithm Productions.

tools of immersion

Our client was an out-of-the-box visionary, and the announcement of this high-tech utopia needed to have an equally extravagant event, unlike any other launch in it’s industry.

I proposed to immerse our guests in the blockchain. I wanted them to feel they were being transported from Prague inside the blockchain network. To achieve this, the plan was to develop the experience employing the following visual tools:

  • Projection Mapping
  • 3D Holographic Projections
  • Dynamic LED Tunnel
  • Dynamic LED Sculptures
  • GenerativeArt that Visualizes the Blockchain

The vision

visualize the blockchain

The Prague event was a recruiting tool for developers and business leaders to help produce the ultimate tools on the blockchain that will make the world a better place.

Our collective vision was to design a one-night experience that would inspire, motivate and energize the future Blockchain visionaries. They needed to live and breathe the blockchain, as well as, envision themselves in Blockchains City.

I designed a user journey that started in Prague then crescendos entering the blockchain network through a transformative LED tunnel at the event space. This user journey meticulously dictated each moment of the guests’ experience from the coiffured bus ride to the keynote presentation. Everything had to be a visualization of the blockchain, a showroom of things to come.

A chart that tracks the user journey throughout the Blockchains' Prague launch event.

I wanted the entire evening to be wallpapered in the blockchain. I would achieve this with a number of different design techniques to create the right atmosphere and consistency throughout the night.

By night’s end, the expectation would be our newly energized evangelists would be sharing their experience in Prague, while dreaming of how they can contribute to this beautiful future.

The framework

designing the blockchain

Because the idea of the blockchain ledger is a little complicated and doesn’t make for great storytelling, I opted to look it as an entity that lives everywhere and nowhere. It had no real form, but what it did have was people’s dreams, ambitions, and ideas decompiled into 1’s and 0’s. Not wanting to repeat data visualization techniques like The Matrix, I looked at it organically, as if the blockchain were a living multicellular organism or a blood system of fast-moving cells or even a neural network of photons firing.

This biological direction worked well into translating the core blockchain concept into a visual language served up throughout the event experience inside and out.

With an established visual motif, bringing onboard a generative artist with a similar mindset on how to tell the blockchain story as generative art made the development experience for my team and I ever more pleasant with little time to onboard and micromanage the design and development process with all the vendors we had onboard.

An early concept moodboard of how we would visualize the blockchain.

creating flow and focus

At the event venue in Prague, I wanted to create mystery and anticipation right to the very end. Busloads of people would be coming in from the convention center to our event and funneled into the bar lounge area. With the first wave of people, it was cramped, as we had blocked off the tunnel that would transport our guests from Prague to the blockchain.

We took over the Forum Karlin, an open concept space used for events like concerts and conferences. I wanted to create boundaries, depth, and flow throughout the space starting with the tunnel, a natural choke point that forced everyone to walk through. There were no other entry points to the main hall.

Walking through the 20ft. long tunnel, attendees would have a choice to exit either to the right or left, past a large Blockchains LLC logo– you have arrived in the blockchain.

We positioned lounge seating, F&B and gaming stations all around the exterior of the space, allowing guests to flow out and around naturally avoiding any unnecessary bottlenecking. Wherever you were situated, you always had a direct line of sight of the stage for when the presentation began.

We later opened up the second and third-floor balcony for additional guests to view the presentation with additional F&B and gaming stations provided.

(1) Floor plan of event space, provided by our partners Nteractive (2-4) Concept and technical renders of our LED tunnel, provided by Algorithm Productions.

an avatar in the blockchain

Our client wanted a youthful spokesperson to represent the company for years to come. This spokesperson would reflect the boldness and unjaded perspective of his 12-year-old daughter, for whom was the catalyst for the company’s creation.

While another team was looking into the casting of a child actor for this role, I proposed we digitize the actor into an avatar that lived in the blockchain.

Putting the entity, now known as Iggy, on the blockchain allowed her to move in and out of different digital touch points. We wanted to pair her rigged mesh with an AI system to think, learn and better representBlockchains LLC anywhere in the world.

This proposal opened up opportunities like developing AR/VR apps, interactive kiosks and holographic projections you could connect with Iggy through. These touch points would need to connect to the blockchain and Iggy would appear.

We took this a step further and opted to present the Iggy avatar in Prague as a holographic keynote speaker.

After we cast our Iggy, my team and I partnered with Microsoft’s MetaStage to volumetric capture the Iggy actor.

Throughout the day, we worked with the team generating all sort of muscle movement permutations in various lighting conditions so that final rigged mesh could be used however we like.

We filmed a canned conversation over the green screen and uploaded the rest of the 3D data to the blockchain to work with later.

The avatar Iggy came to life in Prague in front of 1700 guests who couldn’t believe what they were looking at. We showcased a photorealistic digital avatar that was holographed and projected onstage.

(Above) The volumetric capture stage at Microsoft's MetaStage in LA. (Below) MetaStage staff showing us a preview of the volumetric capture with a stand-in.

telling the story

So how do you tell a heartfelt story to a skeptical, tech-savvy developer crowd and launch a global brand at the same time?  We chose an immersive event in Prague at the DEVCON 2018 – the world’s biggest blockchain event.

We took over the Forum Karlin in Prague with projection mapping on the outside, and a 60ft LED wall on the inside, featuring the broadcast films, a live hologram of our brand icon, a holographic demonstration of the proposed blockchain city, and a generative art experience detailing the history of the blockchain.

The hologram, holo city, projection mapping, and films brought together a complete integration of top tech companies including DigitalDomain, Algorithm, and Marshmallow Laser Feast to help tell a very human story to a tech-savvy crowd.

(Above) Our Iggy hologram on stage with Blockchains LLC in Prague. (Below) A design comp that depicts the three layers that made up the stage design.

visual sync

All the visuals inside and outside the event space were synched up with the data on stage and the blockchain network. When attendees thought they were looking at looping animations, what they were seeing was the blockchain visualized.

During the keynote presentation, the hundreds of LED strips throughout the space lit up and became the extension of the stage creating a visual experience that wrapped around you.

The execution

What should have been accomplished in at least nine months we completed in only half the time from ideation to delivery. We produced a one-night event to high praise from the world’s media and the blockchain developer’s community. What was initially met with great skepticism was later embraced and evangelized by people around the world.

Our event employed OOH social media marketing to drive awareness, employing projection mapping sites throughout the city, culminating to evening event filled imagination and inspiration.

Outdoor projection mapping at the Forum Karlin gallery.

The results

the numbers don't lie

6100% increase in website traffic.
289% increase in Twitter followers.
2,283% increase in Twitter profile views.
259,488,533 earned media impressions.

We also made the front page of the New York Times, Reddit and countless other news outlets.

Case study of the overall program, execution and results.
American Advertising Federation Awards
  • 2019 ADDY's Judge's Choice
Adweek Experiential Awards
  • 2019 Winner – Best Event/Conference Activation
  • 2019 Finalist– Best Experiential Activation $2-$5 million

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