iStrategyBlabs

Summer 2014 Music Festivals Get Social — Coachella Leads The Pack

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With summer coming to a close, we decided to take a look back at how some of the country’s most well-attended music festivals — Coachella, Bonnaroo, Firefly, and most recently, Lollapalooza — used social and digital activations to enhance their crop-topped crowds’ festival experiences. We took a look into an array of  festival activations including RFID bracelets, .gif animators, and Instagram installations; so, whether you found yourself swaying side-to-side at Woodstock 45 years ago, or your Coachella sunburn just stopped peeling, we think you’ll appreciate the great lengths festivals are going to these days to ensure that no experience goes undocumented. After all, how else are you supposed to prove to your future children that you once crowd surfed in the middle of a field in Delaware?

Festival Facts and Stats

  • CoachellaIndio, California // April 2014 // Headliners: OutKast, Muse, Arcade Fire // Launched 1999

  • Bonnaroo: Manchester, Tennessee // June 2014 // Headliners: Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White // Launched 2002

  • Firefly: Dover, Delaware // June 2014 // Headliners: OutKast, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson // Launched 2012

  • Lollapalooza: Chicago, Illinois // August 2014 // Headliners: Eminem, OutKast, Kings of Leon // Launched 1991

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R.F.I.D. Wristbands

If you’ve been to a music festival recently you know that the likelihood of your cell phone battery dying is high (gasp!). Should this tragically occur, how are you supposed to check-in to the OutKast stage on Facebook? Thanks to radio frequency identification technology (R.F.I.D.), several festivals have started implementing R.F.I.D. wristbands that attendees can “personalize” using their Facebook information. Lollapalooza attendees were even able to pay for food and drinks using their smart wristbands as part of the Lolla Cashless system, making them the first music festival to take that leap. Not only is this feature handy for festival attendees, it’s a gold mine for marketers. Think about all the data and analytics you can get by scanning those wristbands, people.

Source: BizBash Erika Goldring, Photo: Erika Goldring

Bonnaroo attendees swipe their wristbands, and have their photo taken and
shared to social media at one of four kiosks around the venue (Source: BizBash, Photo: Erika Goldring)

 

Coachella, #HMLovesMusic

Festival fashion is synonymous with cut-offs, fringe, and fanny packs. This year Coachella partnered with H&M to capture festival-goers’ style with one of our favorite social activations — they’re calling it “H&M <3 Music,” and we’re calling it “The .GIF Runway”. Users were recorded walking on a treadmill-like platform in front of a green screen, and turned into psychedelic supermodels after a little bit of photo magic.  The outcome below is pure genius.

Source: The Bosco

Witness additional hilarity here. (Source: The Bosco)

Festival Frames

Human-sized photo frames are all the rage at festivals this summer. If Instagramming your music festival experience wasn’t already at the forefront of your mind when you walked through the gates, these festival photo frames are an in-your-face reminder to strike a pose with your pals.

#InstaFirefly

Not only were Firefly Instagrammers able to collect free polaroid sticker prints of photos they tagged with #InstaFirefly, little did they know that they were simultaneously helping Firefly paint a much bigger picture with their photos. Throughout the festival, Firefly staff were tasked with strategically placing copies of fan photos onto a wall, creating a giant photo mosaic. At the end of the weekend, Firefly revealed the finished product via their own Instagram account.

Firefly staff arranged fan photos on a mural, creating a giant image of a Firefly artist

Firefly staff arranged fan photos on a mural, creating a giant image of a Firefly artist

Celebrity Activations
Sure .GIF runways are awesome and cashless wristbands are convenient, but get a celebrity to show up to your festival and you have the power to break Twitter. Native Chicagoan Malia Obama was spotted at Lollapalooza this month in true festival fashion — a flower printed tank top accessorized with her Secret Service agents. One lucky fan actually managed to sneak a photo with the eldest Obama, and was kind enough to share the moment on Twitter.

 

We can’t help but think that the only thing missing from this impressive collection of activations is a Social Beer Fridge — like this one – that fans can unlock with their wristbands. Who knows what next summer will bring. Until then, enjoy this Spotify playlist with your crappy headphones while you count down to next summer’s festivals.

What It’s Like To Be A Teacher At General Assembly

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Teaching is something iStratetyLabs fully supports — nay encourages — for its employees both internally and within the community. We have a multitude of opportunities to both teach and learn from our coworkers. We have “Battle Schools”, which allow team members to teach  a topic they’re passionate about to follow ISL-ers. It’s a great way to learn and a great way to practice public speaking. There are other awesome things we do, but they’re G-14 classified! You’ll have to join the team in order to have access to such knowledge.

A few months ago, Samia Khan wrote the post “What’s it like to be a student at General Assembly”. At the time I was just getting started with my Front End Web Development course. I thought I’d give an alternate account to round out the experience so that potential students as well as instructors have an idea of what to expect from a GA class.

I began a GA 10-week front end web development (FEWD) course back in May. Other than the standard instructor preparation I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I walked away with was much more than a teaching experience. Sure, I created lesson plans, spoke in front of people on a regular basis, critiqued assignments, and all the other responsibilities that come along with being an instructor of any kind, but that’s just the beginning.

Having to teach people what you take for granted every day is an incredibly enlightening experience. I found that concepts/ideas that I thought to be simple and straightforward are actually nuanced and fairly complicated. On the other hand, concepts that I thought I understood well, were brought forth and I was forced to reevaluate my own understanding– this is a humbling experience to say the least.

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On the first day of class expectations are set. Students are informed that the course is not designed to create expert front end developers, rather, to provide building blocks and tools that can be used to enrich an individual’s knowledge and experience — “Give a man a fish…” you know the rest. One thing I had to reiterate to my students was that professional developers (and myself by extension) don’t know everything and that asking for help and googling for answers was a big part of the job. I even touched briefly on the myth of the genius programmer.

By far the most rewarding portion of the class was final presentations. There were students who, prior to the course, had never really touched HTML/CSS/JavaScript and whom by the end, presented interactive websites and in some cases the beginnings of web applications! Creating a foundation of working knowledge that empowers students to grow individually is a responsibility I do not take lightly. It was an honor and privilege to take part in that process. Kudos to my TAs Michael Dick and Rami Chowdhury — you guys rock.

iStrategyLabs: Small Agency of the Year 2014 by Ad Age

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backpatWe’ve never been over the top with awards submissions – but this year we felt iStrategyLabs was really hitting its stride so we submitted to the Ad Age Small Agency Awards in the biggest, baddest, most prestigious category: SMALL AGENCY OF THE YEAR

We felt our work had finally reached the point where we could be considered the best in the business….Ad Age Agreed.

We’re proud to announce that iStrategyLabs has been named Small Agency of the Year by Ad Age!

iStrategyLabs’ Creative Director, Zach Goodwin, just picked up our silver award for the South-east region in this prestigious category.

We’re so happy and proud of all the hard work the team has put in over the years getting to this point – and for the wonderful clients we’ve had the fortune to collaborate with over our early years. There’s so much more to come!

Here are just a few animated gif shared by the team when we heard the news:

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Now if only the US could win the World Cup…

iSL’s Adventure to the Core 77 Conference

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Field trips are always a treat for our team — it’s so great to see the work happening in our industry across the country. Several of us recently attended the Core 77 Conference to learn more about designing, manufacturing, and innovating with physical objects.

Core 77 Conference 2014

The conference was an amazing experience for our team. We’ve built lots of awesome social machines connecting the physical and digital worlds, and as we continue to build out an industrial design practice, this immersive 1-day event was well-timed for our hungry minds.

All of the talks were incredible, but the two that really resonated with us were the +POOL project and Carla Diana’s book Leo the Maker Prince.

We heard from Dong-Ping Wong about his enormous and groundbreaking project + POOL. The goal of the project is to put a giant floating swimming pool into the rivers of New York City. The pool will filter the river’s water so that the water in the pool is safe for people to swim in — an innovative solution for a city surrounded by water that’s too dirty to interact with. His team’s experience over the past four years bringing the project closer to fruition was so  different from our internal process, involving so many more parties and moving pieces — it was a treat to peek behind the curtain of such an awe-inspiring project.

Plus Pool NYC

We also got a tour of a Carla Diana’s Leo the Maker Prince, a fiction story that teaches the concept of 3D printing to people of all ages. Involving the next generation in such a simple but fun way is crucial to inspiring future innovation, and it was great to hear about a project that aims to do just that.

Leo the Maker Prince by Carla Diana

Many of the other talks at this year’s conference centered around responsibility in design — making sure that when given the opportunity to design something, that it is done with regard to the environment as well as everyone who will interact with what is created.

 

Two major takeaways:

  • 

As designers, we (have the best job in the world) get to make things that are used every day; it’s important that we take the time to make sure that they are benefiting the people who use them.
  • 

We need to consider the context in which our products are used; an idea might seem perfect in the lab, but we won’t know anything for sure until we get out into the field and test the prototype in the desired context.

Thanks to everyone at Core 77 who worked so hard to make the conference a great experience!

iStrategyLabs team at Core 77

iStrategyLabs Opens DUMBO Brooklyn Office and More

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Hi All! We’ve got a lot of exciting news over here. I’ll keep it short, so here it goes:

We’re opening an office in Dumbo, Brooklyn, NYC. I’m going to be leading the office and splitting my time between DC & NYC.  View from the ISL NYC roof:

[Read] Kroger has selected ISL as their Social Agency of Record!

[Read] Our Twitter SELFIE mirror went viral. Tweets a pic if you smile.

[Read] The hack above turned into an Twitter Mirror project for E3!

[Read] We’ve grown to 50+ people and are moving the DC office to the old Wonder Bread Factory. 17,000 SF of creative technology!

[Read] We’ve launched the 2nd annual Mobileys. $20,000 up for grabs!

[Read] One of our latest internet connected devices give you real-time train, bike and weather info. We call it Transit.