Stories of design across all media


Embrace Your Inner Nerd

By Steve Deitz

The following column first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Storyboard magazine.

No matter what your focus is in marketing or advertising, it’s an exciting but challenging time—technology is finally catching up with our imaginations. Marketing departments are scrambling to understand this constantly changing landscape, so join this tech-driven nerd as I explain some of the newest applications being integrated into innovative marketing campaigns.

Our Audience
To understand technology needs, we have to understand consumers.

“If you don’t have A.D.D. these days, you’re not paying attention,” said Jason Silva.

People are receiving, interpreting and reacting to information like never before. Simply launching a product and pushing one-way messages doesn’t work. Therefore, campaigns need to shift toward interactive and collaborative experiences. Experiential marketing builds a memorable and emotional connection between people and brands—social media allows them to trumpet that brand value to their connections.

So what can tech do to maximize those impressions and connections?


It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing
Many types of interactivity can be created with infrared motion-sensing devices like Microsoft’s Kinect 2.0. The typical recipe includes a depth camera (Kinect, Leap, etc.) and content on a backend media server: the backbone for a system that feeds projected screens or LEDs in interactive installations.

This technology gives us the ability to create “brand in hand” interactions that both educate and entertain users. And when the audience is given control over content, the experience resonates more deeply: magic happens. The technology also helps us gather data metrics that are a truer reflection of the consumer.

Siri, Where am I Now?
Spacious environments with high foot traffic, like experience demo centers, museums and hospitals, are beginning to explore the incredible data collection that Bluetooth technology provides. It was originally created with retail in mind, but creative marketers have found ways to guide visitors through a seamless experience while adding customized and personal interactivity. An app still needs to be installed, but the impact of directional way finding that integrates with LEDs creates an unrivaled experience

The Holodeck is Here
900lbs of Creative recently created a Virtual Holodeck Experience for Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Kids often don’t fully understand what it is like to be a scout until they experience it first hand.

To help BSA generate more recruits, we digitized exciting adventures with our custom 360° video production. The installation tent came alive as we seamlessly transported potential scouts to the high-adventure base of their choice. Data and analytics were important—our easy-to-use app gathered critical feedback and proved to be a successful recruiting tool. The Holodeck and interactive experiences like it speak the language to pint-size audiences (and their parents).

Author Jonah Berger says “if it’s built to show, it’s built to grow. If we care, we share!” Brands have to focus more attention on innovation. As marketers, we must stay on top of the latest trends and evolve with technology. The goal of the experience is to form memorable and emotional connections between consumers and brands. Embrace your inner nerd!


PhotoFromJamaalCShootSteve Deitz is cofounder and creative director at Texas-based 900lbs of Creative, a collective that focuses on events, installations and interactive exhibits. He is an innovator and advocate for utilizing emerging technologies in design and experiential marketing to create connections between technology, people and brands.

Author: Aaron Berman

A former writer and editor for USA Today, Aaron Berman is also the editor of PaperSpecs, and covered the newspaper industry for the Newspaper Association of America’s monthly magazine, Presstime.


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