MINNEAPOLIS—In September, Ecolab, a global sustainability company based in Minneapolis, celebrated its 100th anniversary with an employee event held at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. More than 4,000 people attended the one-day event that featured a private concert by Kelly Clarkson.
But the popular singer wasn’t the only thing to make a splash. For the event, experiential agency Red Paper Heart created two interactive features—"The Power of Water" and "The Spark"—that captured the imagination of guests.
Zander Brimijoin, co-founder and creative director of Red Paper Heart, explained that the agency worked directly with Advoc8 to conceptualize the project. “For 'The Power of Water,' we were directed to make immersive digital water that punctuated the narration that their team was crafting,” he said. The narration was about the importance and preciousness of water as a resource; the interactive water installation allowed the guests to “hear the words as the subject matter flowed around them.”
Using 3D creation tool Unreal Engine, the agency was able to transform static LED walls and murals into an immersive pool of water, ice, and mist that reacted to attendees as they walked through it.
More than just a giant, illuminated logo, "The Spark" sculpture was powered by attendees—glowing brighter in real time to reflect the activity at the event. It shone brightest when Clarkson performed.
“For 'The Spark' sculpture, we were asked to create a centerpiece for the event—a physical embodiment of the spark from the Ecolab [logo]—that would charge over the course of the night based on participation,” Brimijoin said. “We proposed the idea of a digital water bath underneath the sculpture that would serve as a wishing well of sorts—a circular gathering point with access points on all sides.”
"The Spark" translated two kinds of activity: passive engagement from key points at the event and direct interaction with the sculpture itself. Guests were given RFID bracelets at check-in, each with an assigned color. Reader mats at various activations recorded guest interaction, which was relayed to the sculpture.
At the sculpture itself, six readers would react to people actively tapping in. "Each interaction created a new point of light that would enter the digital water and flow up to 'The Spark.' The direct tap-ins created brighter moments to reward direct participation,” Brimijoin said. The installation generated more than 1,900 RFID tap-ins.
As for why these experiential tech installations work at engaging attendees, Brimijoin said it’s because they allow guests to feel something.
“The most impactful installations offer attendees a novel, captivating, and thought-provoking experience," he said. "Our goals are to draw people in with a visual spectacle, create new worlds to explore, and to leave attendees with something to think about. ... The value is in giving people a sensory experience where they feel something and understand the client’s goals and purpose rather than only learning about it without engaging the user.”
Keep scrolling to see key vendors and more of "The Power of Water" and "The Spark" installations...