2020 has seen a significant shift in experience culture, experience marketing and immersive spaces the world over. But as the United Arab Emirates sees its major industries awaken post-lockdown, and their borders welcoming tourists again, it has seen the need for engagement awaken too. But what does that look like in our 'new normal'?
We spoke with our Partner, Amiel Baluch of Power Interactive, and asked him what his 'new normal' looks like, what innovations he's been seeing in the Middle East, and how his client landscape has changed through 2020. Because if 2020 has taught us anything, it's to keep creativity and connection alive. No matter where you are!
How have Power Interactive had to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of experience marketing?
Back in March as the pandemic truly started to set in and we knew that, unfortunately, this would not be a short and forgetful blip in business; we started adapting. Experiential for us was always groups of people interacting with fun and engaging activations at malls, events, museums, and festivals.
We now needed to counter the “new normal” with the “new experiential”. We quickly started creating digital activities such as augmented reality phone experiences, Instagram gamification, Snapchat filters, and more.
Luckily, now it seems that brighter days are ahead. We have been implementing touchless sensor based games, motion activated windows, and most recently developed cross platform gamification so people can stay home but still have similar experiences to the main mall activations.
How are you and your team encouraging interaction in a Covid-world?
That's a question we have been asked A LOT recently. We are fortunate that humans are curious by nature and love to engage and interact with the objects around them. We haven’t changed our style but what we have done is made interactions safer. Instead of”touch here” its “stand here”; we are encouraging touchless interaction with motion, gesture, and proximity based activations.
Are you currently working on any exciting projects that defy this new world of engagement?
Last week we implemented the first interactive Jimmy Choo store window. It was a bold step by a high end retail brand as most of those brands shy away from anything that isn’t the “tried and tested” window design.
The way it works is that consumers would walk past the window and a pair of brand new Jimmy Choo heels would appear and walk on the screen in the window. If you stop walking the shoes do to, if you turn around the shoes do to, it’s a lot of fun to play around with. Most importantly, in the first week, it has been a success and has stopped customers in front of the store.
We are working on a few more exciting projects but those are confidential for now; but i’m very excited to share those the moment they go live.
What is the biggest change Power Interactive have had to adapt to?
Definitely the closure of stores/malls and the reduction of client budgets. The malls here were closed for a long period of time and that is where most of our activations took place. The event industry took probably the biggest hit of them all and that also affected us. On top of that, technology is great but it is not cheap and the reduced budgets from most clients meant that we couldn’t utilize some of the newest technology developed in 2020 which is a change of pace as we typically are on the cutting edge of tech.
What is something positive you’ve taken away from this experience as a business?
I think we all grew closer as a team and we supported each other throughout this time. Prior to this whole situation we were going full steam ahead with some of the most ambitious and exciting projects and working around the clock.
This experience has helped us value health, well being, work/life balance, and each one of us got to learn new practical skills whilst we were in lockdown that I am sure will be very beneficial in the near future.
As a fun, final takeaway, what’s a stand out project in your region that you’re the proudest of?
Our latest adidas project was just dismantled yesterday after an amazing 8 weeks. That project was a huge success for us as a business as well as for me personally. I have been a huge fan of the brand since I was a kid buying my first pair of football boots. I got to pitch for an entire marketing campaign for their flagship ZX 2K Boost sneaker, I really took a step back to capture the story of ZX and used that to build our proposal.
The campaign was focused on a custom game we built that users could play in store, on PC, on mobile, in any country in the GCC. There was a leaderboard that reset every week with the top weekly player receiving gift vouchers. I can’t wait for the next one; coming soon!
Thank you to Amiel for his work on this power interview, and we hope to see you at an activation some time soon!
If you have a design project on the go, an immersive activation in planning, or a need for show-stopping solutions, Power Interactive are our Partner in the UAE, and can assist you with all our Pufferfish solutions in region. Get in touch for more information.