Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinna-Party


The Cinnamon Toast Crunch (CTC) Cinna-Party was a two day livestreamed event where individuals played CTC-themed online games to gain points and trigger real-world activities. As players achieved specific accomplishments online they saw real-world results play out on a customized set. The Cinna-Party was a huge success — becoming the longest viewed page on the client’s website with more than  200,000 views in just 2 days.

Experiential campaigns such as this are comprised of a number of non-traditional components and a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Here’s an overview of a few elements we focused on:

Set Design + Construction

Screenshot 2014-11-10 17.08.57

We designed and constructed a set centered around a large milk-bowl and raised platform from which a human-sized Cinnamon Toast Crunch square was periodically blasted with “cinnamon” and “dunked” into the bowl. Special set considerations included a primary “cinnamon meter”, secondary activation indicators, and the cinnamon blaster design and function. These were designed for optimal viewing on a live-streaming web video.

Costume Design:


Screenshot 2014-11-10 17.08.45

We sourced the design and fabrication of human-sized Cinnamon Toast Crunch square costumes and actors to fill them. These characters populated the set and played out on-set activations throughout the entirety of the live event.

On-Set Activations


Periodically throughout the engagement, in-game accomplishments online triggered real-world activations on our physical set. These included the primary cinnamon blast and milk bowl dunk and secondary intermediate activations.

Enjoy our Cinna-Party? Check out some similar projects: Nickelodeon SpongeBob Skill Crane and Miller Coors’ Redds Apple Ale launcher.

Summer 2014 Music Festivals Get Social — Coachella Leads The Pack


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


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.


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.

iSL’s Adventure to the Core 77 Conference


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 Plus Ben & Jerry’s Equals Love At First Bite


I scream, you scream, iStrategyLabs 3D prints a teeny tiny Ben & Jerry’s truck for free ice cream!

We’ve had our eyes on the Ben & Jerry’s Core Tour since we caught word that it was rolling through DC this month. We took the whole “core tour” thing as a personal sign from Ben & Jerry’s that we should invite them to our office, seeing that we’ve referred to the iStrategyLabs staff as the “Core Team” since its inception. We’re a pretty passionate group here in general. Our passion for ice cream is matched only by our passion for design, development, strategy, and creating exceedingly awesome stuff for great brands.

So, what are we going to to do to stand out amongst the hundreds of Twitter invitations begging you to come to this, that, or the other office for a taste of these fine flavors? A stop-motion video starring a 3D-printed miniature Ben & Jerry’s truck, of course:


Demetri and Ryan begin the stop motion process.

Between this and our 2013 Ice Cream Social Infographic, I think you could safely refer to the iStrategyLabs Core Team as ice cream enthusiasts. We love visitors as much as we love ice cream (see The One Where Uber Delivered a Christmas Tree), so we cordially invite you to follow in the tiny truck’s tracks, and roll on up to Dupont Circle office (1630 Connecticut Ave. NW)  while we’re still here. We promise we’ll show you a fun time, and if you’re lucky there will even be 1-3 dogs in tow.

P.S. If your life’s priorities are inline with ours, apply to join the Core Team here.

[UPDATE] Well, that was fast (24 minutes to be exact):

Breaking Down Video Production


Video is on the rise; 52% of consumers said watching product videos made them more confident in online purchasing, but only 24% of national brands are using online video to market to consumers. Why the discrepancy?

It’s about what you don’t know as much as what you do. Mike Monteiro says that clients don’t know what you do, and it’s your fault. He’s right and this isn’t limited to web design. With the rising prevalence of videos on the Internet, there’s a lot more clients do not know and it simply scares companies off. Here are three things companies need to know about video production before kicking off:


“I thought you just needed a camera.”

Companies are simply unaware of all the factors that go into making a video including cast, crew, and equipment. The crew includes a director and/or producer along with a director of photography and/or camera operator. Depending on the scope of the project, a two-man crew may suffice, but if there are actors and lots of equipment to move, a couple of production assistants may be needed. Equipment includes lights, cameras, lenses, tripods, and sound recording equipment, which can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars in assets. On top of everything, a video production team may need to rent more equipment for a specific shot. This is all reflected in the day rate.


It’s generally true that the shorter the duration of a video is, the shorter the production time, but that doesn’t always translate. For one video, we scheduled a full three-day shoot with a video production company, ranging from 8-10 hour days. There were multiple locations and they shot hours of footage. We squeezed out about 20 seconds of video from it. It’s not that the footage was unusable, everything looked great. However, there are unforeseen circumstances such as weather and emergencies that require booking long hours as a precaution. Video isn’t just limited to time on the set, but extends to the editing room. It takes hours of editing to produce minutes of video, which includes color correcting, color grading, syncing audio and music. After the first cut is submitted for review, there’s a back and forth between the client and producer until the final product.


Video is a tangible product as you’re paying for the cast, the crew, the equipment, the editing, and all the time that goes into it. But it’s so much more. It can invoke an emotional response to a brand, demonstrate a product, or simply entertain. Industry standards price video at $1k- $20k per finish minute of edited video or animation, but no one can predict the response to the final product. That’s a risk we all take in every good endeavor, but it’s one worth taking.

tom shoot

Next Steps

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Companies with video production capabilities are happy to answer any questions you have especially if it’ll help the entire process, plus everyone will sleep better at night. And when you hire the right team for the job, trust them with that job.