Phenomblue think tank produces Movie Lotto, Daydreamer
For about a year now, Omaha ad agency Phenomblue employees have been seeing what they can do outside their daily tasks of digital advertising. "The agency elects a committee of three team members twice a year to solicit and select ideas and ultimately execute an experiential interactive project," said Joe Olsen, CEO of Phenomblue. Known as Signature Reserve (left), this committee gives team members the chance to blur role boundaries, develop new skills and, by the way, make stuff that's cool.
Movie Lotto, revealed in February, is a game that theaters can make available to movie-goers waiting for a show to start. Text the entry number on the big screen, scratch off a virtual ticket, and you get a barcode to redeem prizes at the concession stand. "Movie theaters make a large portion of their profit through concessions," said Brent Slone, digital strategist and member of the Signature Reserve team behind Movie Lotto. "So to improve a theater's profit margins, we wanted to create an incentive for arriving early (to a movie), thus allowing more time to take trips to the concession stand."
Daydreamer, the latest project from Signature Reserve, requires a little more activity on the user's part than sitting quietly with a smartphone. Utilizing a Kinect and their own bodies, users create music they can see. "We brought Daydreamer to Iowa School for the Deaf to give students the opportunity to create music," said Brandon Bone, an experience engineer at Phenomblue and one of the three brainstormers behind Daydreamer. Nearly a dozen high-school students participated, using the virtual soundboard to create onscreen canvases of musical art (below). "Once the first student stepped up to the experience, we knew we had hit our mark," Bone said. "Immediately, the students were excited watching one another."
Right now, both Movie Lotto and Daydreamer are simply research-and-development products. Exercises in creativity and innovation for Phenomblue employees, if you will. According to Wagner, some other agencies are creating products inhouse with the intention of getting them to the public, but that's not what Signature Reserve is aiming for at the moment. "What the committee decides to do with its final project is up to the team members," said marketing director Kate Richling. "The only rule is that the project must be completed within the time frame given."
"Innovation is just a part of what we do," Olsen said. "We're excited to give our employees the opportunity to be creative and explore projects outside client work from time to time. It's inspiring to not only our clients but ourselves."