Captivating brand activations can help shape the experience of an event. Coachella, one of the world’s biggest music and art festivals, returned in April 2022 in the USA along with its Pico-activated landmark HP Antarctic Dome. Inside was REGEN, an immersive 360-degree multi-sensory journey combining tech, art and music which was experienced by more than 80,000 festival-goers.
Created by Infinity Marketing Team (IMT), member of the Pico Group, in collaboration with nine renowned digital artists and music duo ODESZA, REGEN gained even more attention by being minted into a 1:1 NFT art piece which became the largest 1:1 art piece ever traded on the Solana blockchain.
Below, IMT’s Creative Director Pedro Tristan Ferreira, who activated the creation of REGEN, offers insights on its origins, its development, and how its content and technology struck a chord with festival-goers.
In your opinion, what was the most groundbreaking/stunning aspect of the REGEN experience?
There is a moment I hope all artists and creators get to experience in their careers, and that is witnessing a physical and positive response from an audience to their work.
REGEN aimed to engage all your senses from the moment you walked through the doors. Everything the audience saw, felt and heard had been designed by an amazing and talented artists, technicians, fabricators and producers that shared a common goal of creating something spectacular.
The long queues, the cheering and the smiling faces leaving the show all were a great affirmation that our very ambitious campaign had been a success, and in my opinion, the most stunning aspect of REGEN was the team that made it possible. Nurturing a concept from sketch to final experience, and having the positive reception it did, was breathtaking.
We aimed for the tallest creative peak we could see and planted a flag on top of it.
What was the inspiration for the experience, or for a scene that you found particularly memorable?
We have been seeing sustainability become a foundation to many of our creative campaigns, and with REGEN, we wanted to inspire the audience to individually become the positive impact we all want to instill into the world.
The seed that became REGEN looks at sustainability as more than an ecological trend, but as a drive towards social equality, cultural and digital equity, and the power behind small-yet-impactful choices we make for a better future.
Coachella has been a successful music festival for several years. Was that a kind of ‘burden’ when taking up this task? Or was it always a project you wanted to orchestrate?
We have had the pleasure of activating at Coachella for a few years now, and though our budget and story may change each time, our approach is still the same; to create a meaningful and memorable experience while connecting the brand and event goers in a relatable way.
Coachella has been a success for many years because of the creativity behind the experience, and being able to be a part of it is more of an artistic challenge than a burden. It is quite rewarding to end each campaign thinking about how there is no way to do it better, only to exceed every expectation the following year.
Were there any special challenges in designing the film for a geodesic dome?
Writing a sustainability story for a 360-degree show that emotionally connects with the audience in one of the biggest music festivals in the world is quite exciting.
Creatively, our story needed to feel fresh, relatable, aware of its audience and setting, mindful of our musical partnership, and relevant to the brand. Technically, not many artists are familiar with the medium, so the creative process is very collaborative. It is our job to guide and bring out their best while bridging their skills into a new, more immersive format.
Aside from that, you’d find similar challenges in many productions that have creative collaboration across multiple time zones.
How did the NFT initiative affect the creative process, if at all? Were any decisions/changes made so that the film and the NFT would cater to each other?
Other than producing an additional version of the piece that could live outside of the dome format prior to the event going live, the NFT initiative ended up affecting our creative process much less than we had anticipated.
Our approach allowed the NFT campaign to pull from assets already being created for the Coachella experience; and at the end, the dome format also translated nicely into VR as part of the NFT winnings.
REGEN was seen by about one-third of Coachella’s total attendees – a very impressive number. Coachella is very famous as a music festival. So how did you convince so many music lovers (who may not be art lovers) to experience REGEN? Was there any special pre-promotion/on-site promotion?
HP had an amazing pre-event social campaign that targeted the Coachella audience through multiple social media platforms. Additionally, our musical partnership with ODESZA leveraged the release of their new singles to generate curiosity and drive awareness to the REGEN campaign.
Once live at Coachella, it spread like wildfire; with queues the length of a football field, and wait times of up to two hours.
REGEN was also curated as an immersive experience that connected with the audience both visually and sonically. The 90-foot dome was enhanced with the addition of light effects that extended the content further into the environment beyond the projection surface area, and the L-Isa immersive sound system allowed us to fully map our sound effects around the space.
How did you collect and analyze data to measure different touchpoints for this experience?
We were able to follow our campaign hashtag on multiple social platforms, as well as keep track of the number of people that engaged with our on-site activations and their overall sentiment. On top of our own promotion efforts, the campaign was covered by multiple media outlets, bringing our overall impressions into the billions.
Did it meet HP’s expectations? Will it affect HP’s future event planning?
It already has. HP gave us complete creative control over the storyline and direction for REGEN. Their trust was founded on the fact we have repeatedly and successfully elevated the bar of our success through the years. Projects like Coachella end up becoming a case study discussed internally, and a beacon of reference on how to frame their values and reach the audience in a creative way.
How do you think the whole REGEN experience will affect our future planning for physical/virtual/hybrid events/experiences?
I hope experiences like REGEN serve as inspiration to both clients and teammates to allow themselves to try new and exciting things.
Our audiences and markets change with time, and our storytelling approach ought to evolve with it. Whether it is a physical, virtual, or hybrid experience, audiences want to connect with meaningful content. As creators, we have the opportunity (and obligation to ourselves) to try new ways to tell that story.
Any last thoughts about REGEN and its impact?
It is up to us to instill confidence in our clients to expand their creative horizon.
The REGEN experience is one of the many branches of a tree planted years ago. We have built relationships, pushed our campaigns further, and with that work, built a foundation for the projects we have done this year. REGEN will allow us to push even further in the future.