Amid the eye-popping scenes at VidCon this year are an Awesomeness-branded Ferris wheel, a double-decker Fullscreen convention floor booth, and a Live.me-sponsored interactive ball pit. And all are the creations of Mirrored Media — an experiential marketing firm founded in 2010 by the 29-year-old entrepreneur Justin Lefkovitch.
Mirrored Media has 18 total activations at VidCon this year. This marks its biggest footprint at the world’s leading online video conference since it began creating activations at VidCon four years ago.
We spoke with Lefkovitch about the importance of experiential marketing within the digital media industry, the company’s strategic approach to conceiving activations, and overarching trends within the space. Check out the conversation below:
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Tubefilter: Talk a little bit about how you founded Mirrored Media, and why you decided to foray into the digital space?
Justin Lefkovitch: Mirrored Media sits at the intersection of entertainment, technology, talent, and art — with a focus on bridging the gap between brands, fans, and consumers. My team is comprised of former talent managers and tour managers along with seasoned industry professionals, so we understand the needs of talent, creating a win-win for all parties involved.
From the beginning, the majority of our projects have included elements from the digital media space — whether it be the client itself or the technology we embed within our experiences. We pride ourselves in pushing the envelope of what is thought to be possible within the tech sphere. We are creating memorable moments that leave a lasting impression on consumers, reaching far beyond a traditional billboard, print, or TV ad.
TF: When was your first VidCon, and how has your presence grown over the years?
JL: Three years ago, we worked with Fullscreen on an event during our first VidCon for Summer Break 2. Our first VidCon consisted of only one party, but now, four shows later, we have continued our relationship with Fullscreen and our VidCon footprint continues to grow exponentially.
TF: How do you go about bringing a concept to life? What ultimately makes for a successful activation?
JL: The process for creating a successful activation is just as fun for us as the fans who get to experience it.
We are a full-service creative agency as well as a full-service production house. Most projects start with us receiving the overall goals and client creative. From there, we move to the most enjoyable part of the process, which is our team of industry professionals sitting together and throwing out every possible idea. We have no limits when it comes to ideas — the more outlandish, the better. At the end of the day, we want to build something that we would want to experience ourselves, and that we are proud to put our names on.
TF: How much can an activation cost to produce?
JL: Projects can range from small pop-ups to taking over full aircraft carriers, and everything in between. Because each one is custom, we scale to meet the budgets and goals of our clients.
TF: Please describe a few VidCon activations that stand out this year.
JL: As far as out-of-the-box concepts and raising the bar on technology, the ball pit, Ferris wheel, and double-decker booth stand out the most, with each one being a VidCon first.
The Awesomeness ball pit features 20,000 balls, and offers a shareable photo element in which users are captured in slow-mo video from a truss above as they freefall backwards into the pit. Fullscreen’s booth features a two-story LED screen, a custom stage, an LED interactive photo booth, and a social media vending machine. And the Awesomeness Ferris wheel, which stands at 42 feet tall and comes complete with onboard iPads, provides fans with the best views of VidCon along with the perfect selfie opportunity from high above the convention center’s Grand Plaza.
TF: What do you want attendees to say when they leave an experience?
JL: We want to help attendees create moments that they will remember, talk about, and share. This empowers them to be their own influencer, transforming them into an ambassador for the brand.
TF: Are there any overarching trends in the experiential marketing space right now?
JL: As technology continues to advance, the experiential space is constantly evolving and finding more creative avenues in which to use new technology. Livestreaming, live video, and live content capturing are all hugely popular throughout the experiential world. We are also seeing unique drone integration, interactive photo opportunities, pop-up interactive experiences, festival-focused music experiences, and creator-driven amplification across the space.
At VidCon, you will see experiences for fans on-site as well as an experience that others are watching across the world. Additionally, this year, fans will see plenty of Instagrammable moments, live streams, DIY takeaways, fidget spinners, and esports.
TF: What do you think the future holds for the space?
JL: The future of marketing is experiential marketing. As traditional media changes, the best way to connect brands to consumers is through experiences, and that will only grow as more and more ambitious experiential marketing ideas come to fruition.
[Photo credit: Mitchell Overton]