Our Co-Founder, Jeff Boedges, has coined a mantra: “Go analog (don’t be afraid!)” and we invariably consider it when developing experiential programs in this digital age. We define “going analog” as building an experience that isn’t centered on technology. Digital enhancements are included––but they are not central to the solution. Instead, they further the core analog strategy.
The rationale? Our overall goal is to keep consumers present. Digital technologies like AR, VR, and social sharing have become omnipresent at events. Beyond becoming predictable, they filter the user’s experience, rendering it indirect. This becomes problematic when 74% of millennials attend live events because they believe that events “help them gain perspective beyond what they read online.”* If that’s the case, we need to carefully construct how they gain perspective. Certainly, in many cases, the best way to gain perspective on what’s read online is through analog strategies––not necessarily more digital ones. Sure…capture the moment at the event to share, but, as Jeff Boedges says, “not at the cost of the moment itself.”
Recently, we put together a program for Citi that is a spot-on illustration of the discussion above. We completely inverted the familiar approach and began with a low tech, analog concept, in this case a Ball Pit located right in the middle of Times Square. Nothing could be more tactile than the experience of leaping into a pit of blue and white plastic balls. Even some of the core technology was decidedly low tech––almost punning on Citi’s high tech reputation. A JOYTM (playing on the familiar ATM) delivered redeemable tickets that consumers could present to our “Joy Tellers.”
At the same time, critical high tech touch points surrounded the event. A live feed of all the JOYTM winners was broadcast on the seven-story cylindrical NASDAQ sign. Citi also partnered with BuzzFeed to create live content at the event and was the first financial brand to ever take over BuzzFeed’s organic Instagram Story.
This demonstrates how, although we’ve focused on the importance of going analog, we believe that the most successful programs weave together a combination of both formats. Analog programs thrive when extended by digital, like the Citi Ball Pit. Likewise, digital programs thrive when supported by going analog. Finally, there are no hard and fast rules––just customized programs that fit the client, meet objectives and deliver results.
*Sources: Ipsos Research, DNA