Emily Haworth, Author at Mirrored Media

Billboard: Inside Mac Miller’s Circles Pop-Up Listening Event in Los Angeles

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On Thursday (Jan. 16) the Mac Miller Estate opened its arms for a preview of the Circles: Til’ Infinity listening event for Mac Miller’s first posthumous album, Circles.

Held at the revamped D.O.M. Gallery at the busy intersection of West Hollywood’s Melrose and Fairfax Avenue, the brightly lit, two-room Mac Miller museum pop-up glowed from blocks away on an otherwise quiet, rainy evening in Los Angeles. Organized by Warner Brothers Records, Mirrored Media, and Mac Miller’s family and former management, the minimalistic event was first advertised on social media five days ago as “Circles: Til Infinity. Intimate front-to-back listenings of Circles by Mac Miller. Art by fans and friends. Exclusive merch at all locations, with all net proceeds going to The Mac Miller Fund.” 

Upon entering the venue, attendees are met with a space resembling an art gallery, with a square, barbed-wire-enclosed merchandise station in the center of the room under a strikingly tall ceiling. Fans are given the opportunity to purchase over a dozen styles of shirts and hoodies, all of varying colors, with a Mac Miller logo and various phrases decorating the clothes. As mentioned on the “92tilinfinity” Instagram page, all sales’ proceeds are funneled to The Mac Miller Fund.

This first room tells a condensed tale of Miller’s life via visual mediums: Floor-to-ceiling windows take up one of the walls, while the other three are adorned with photos, paintings, posters, and personal polaroids (from Miller’s own cameras) of the late artist. A common theme among the photos is a smiling Miller, either at the studio, with friends, or in the midst of a carefree activity such as bike riding, portraying the Swimming MC as most fans and loved ones remember him.

While a majority of the photos depict the rapper as an adult, several childhood photos are also included, showing Miller with his mother and other family members. On the largest wall in the back of the room hangs a collage measuring over 40 square feet, boasting dozens, if not hundreds, of fan-art pieces — the fans’ devotion and love palpable. To the left of the collage is a placard listing the social media handles of the collage contributors. Glass cases with cartoonized Mac Miller POP! figurines by Bram Valure & Thomas Wadtke stand at one side of the room, emblematizing Mac as a pop culture fixture for this generation. 

The room had a pacified atmosphere as attendees moseyed around the crowded gallery, reading placards and examining photos. Most notably, Karen Myers and Mark Mccormick, Mac’s mother and father, and Miller Mccormick, Mac’s brother, were present. The late rapper’s immediate family remarkably did not formally address the guests, but rather nonchalantly socialized amongst the crowd, as strangers and friends alike approached the relatives to exchange greetings and pay their respects. The room buzzed with somber conversation and friendly chatter as a quiet playlist featuring the likes of The Eagles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, and Mazzy Star filled the background, with the tracks said to be selected by the estate as some of Malcolm’s personal favorites.

Through an entrance to the gallery’s side is a black-and-red decorated, dimly lit, sitting area intended to be the listening room. This second room is smaller in area than the gallery, with a bar on one side of the space. Couches, chairs, and other lounge furniture fill the room, inviting attendees to sit and take heed to the Circles album, which is played consecutively from the speakers at the top of every hour for the duration of the event. Unlike traditional listening events, there is no DJ working the crowd nor is there rambunctiously loud, upbeat music. Rather guests are implicitly encouraged to relax and become immersed in a sonic adventure, provided by Mac Miller and his producers.

The two-day listening experience is free of charge and will be open to any and all fans on a first-come, first-serve basis on Jan. 17 and Jan. 18, in Los Angeles, New York City, and Miller’s hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While the album is already officially released, phones are reportedly not permitted in the venue.

Read more at billboard.com

The BMW Group at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in Las Vegas

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At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 – taking place in Las Vegas on 7 – 10 January 2020 – the BMW Group will be presenting its visionary approaches to creating the mobility experience of the future. The premium carmaker’s presence at CES 2020 can be summed up by the hashtag #ChangeYourPerception. At its heart is the company’s firm conviction that a change in perspective is essential in order to not only understand the requirements of future mobility but also address them. The BMW Group stand at this year’s CES showcases this new angle of thought, while close-up experiences and practical demonstrations anchor it in reality for the show’s visitors from all over the world.

One of the highlights of CES 2020 is the BMW i Interaction EASE at the BMW Group stand, which offers a glimpse into a future where autonomous driving has become commonplace. The concept car has deliberately been given an abstract exterior appearance in order to focus attention purely on the interior. Not only is the cabin meant to give passengers the feeling of having already arrived at their destination while still en route, it also underscores the potential of intuitive, almost human-like interaction between passenger and vehicle.

The headline feature here is the innovative gaze detection system in the BMW i Interaction EASE. The vehicle’s artificial intelligence detects when a passenger fixes their gaze on an object outside the car and offers them relevant information on it or other ways to interact with it. A second highlight of the CES reveals how close the BMW Group is to turning such visions of the future into reality. Three BMW X7 models have been fitted with the luxurious ZeroG Lounger, which will be ready for series production vehicles in just a few years in a similar form.

The ZeroG Lounger presents a brand new way of relaxing while out on the road. The occupant can tilt the seat back by up to 60 degrees while still being able to enjoy the usual creature comforts and without any compromises in terms of safety or protection in an accident.

The third highlight on display at the show is the BMW i3 Urban Suite, which is designed to offer a mobility experience tailored precisely to the passenger’s needs. To this end, series production BMW i3 cars underwent a complete transformation – with only the driver’s seat and the dashboard left untouched – to recreate the ambience of a boutique hotel, while paying particular attention to sustainability. 20 examples of the BMW i3 Urban Suite, which can be summoned using an app, are in action on the streets of Las Vegas. The interior of the car welcomes passengers with a laid-back ambience. This is partly down to the lounge chairs, which offer generous legroom and feature a special Sound Zone allowing passengers to shut out all noise from the outside world.

This trio of standout exhibits re-affirms the BMW Group’s commitment to employing technologies in a way that delivers tangible benefits for customers. 5G technology also features very prominently in the carmaker’s line-up for this year’s CES. The BMW iNEXT due to be launched in 2021 will come with 5G capability, which will likely make the BMW Group the world’s first premium carmaker to offer the new mobile standard in a production model. BMW’s outdoor area at the event will host a live demonstration – starring a BMW i3 and a smartphone – that shows how 5G can take road safety to the next level.

Past editions of the Consumer Electronics Show have seen the BMW Group unveiling a number of key technologies (and their potential applications), which have subsequently been readied for series production and incorporated into the company’s product portfolio. For instance, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant presented in Las Vegas last year made its debut in a BMW model barely six months later.

Similarly, just a few months after being revealed to the public at CES 2016, the BMW Connected digital mobility assistant was featured in the BMW model range and on customers’ mobile devices. And BMW’s revolutionary Remote 3D View tech likewise celebrated its premiere in Las Vegas shortly before market launch.

The BMW i Interaction EASE.

Autonomous mobility is once again a key theme at this year’s edition of the CES. The BMW Group partnered Designworks together with their Research and Development department to create the BMW i Interaction EASE; which addresses the topic from a totally fresh perspective, while highlighting the premium carmaker’s culture of innovation. The BMW stand will offer a glimpse into a future where autonomous travel has long since become part of everyday life. The BMW i Interaction EASE has deliberately been given an sheer, abstract appearance on the exterior, contrasted with a rich, immersive interior to create a luxurious mobility experience. The high-quality materials, the cabin’s tailored geometry, and the cutting-edge technology are geared squarely to the passenger and their requirements. Particular emphasis has been placed on natural interaction with an intelligent autonomous vehicle making the most engaging use of time spent travelling.

“The BMW i Interaction EASE demonstrates what mobility might feel like in the future once autonomous driving becomes commonplace: luxurious, human, and intuitive” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Passengers start their journey with the feeling of having already arrived.” 

Consequently, interaction with the vehicle is made as simple, as intuitive, and above all, as human as possible. To put this theory into practice, the BMW i Interaction EASE offers an intelligent combination of different operating modes. This elevates forms of interaction already familiar from the current BMW model range – i.e. using touch control, gesture control and natural speech to converse with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

In addition, the BMW i Interaction EASE treads entirely new ground; with its artificial intelligence (AI) capable of following and interpreting the driver’s gaze. This fusion of ultra-advanced technologies with breathtaking design creates an emotional bond between person and machine.

Natural interaction enters the next stage of development.

The BMW Group is therefore taking the interaction between human and machine to the next level with the BMW i Interaction EASE; using a genuinely multimodal concept to successfully create an all-new interactive experience designed to be as simple and natural as possible and seem almost human in nature. Alongside verbal engagement with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and a new type of gesture control, the gaze detection system has taken a leading role in enabling new ways of responding to the passenger’s needs. Rather than users needing to first learn specific commands in different modes, the vehicle’s AI processes the acoustic and visual information received from a variety of sensors and interprets it according to the driving situation, time, location, and vehicle signals.

The AI uses gaze sensing for browsing the space around the user and vehicle, while pointing can be used to register a selection for more information.  This form of interaction draws on the way people talk to one another; i.e. each person’s gaze identifies who or what is the subject of the conversation or makes the meaning of what is being said clear. A spoken or gesture command can then be given to initiate interaction with the target object. In this way, it is possible to obtain information on the context within the passengers’ frame of view as their gaze falls on e.g. a restaurant or cinema.

The Panorama Head-Up Display spanning the entire width of the front-end windscreen has a key role to play in this regard. By imposing a second, digital layer of information over the real-world view, it acts as­ an immersive augmented-reality user interface. It can show additional information on the windscreen that is tailored to the situation at hand and the vehicle’s surroundings. Thanks to 5G connectivity the vehicle knows exactly where it is and can offer the user information on the surrounding buildings, businesses and other objects as and when required.

First features to premiere in the BMW iNEXT.

BMW Natural Interaction paves the way to the next level of control inside the vehicle and beyond. The first features of the BMW i Interaction EASE will become reality in the market in the BMW iNEXT.

An interior headlined by flawless intuition.

The interior user experience for BMW i Interaction EASE starts on the way to the vehicle. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant recognises passengers as they approach, greeting them with a welcome illumination and directing them to the two seats inside with the use of dynamic lighting. The leather-free interior becomes a premium living space, reinforcing the feeling of having already arrived at a destination. Not only do the soft, welcoming seats with three-dimensional knitted surface ensure a high standard of comfort, they also come to life on contact thanks to embedded smart materials. The cabin is bordered at the sides by glass surfaces whose smart-glass functionality allows them to either be transparent or conceal the seating area from the outside world and so ensure the passengers’ privacy.

The focal point of the BMW i Interaction EASE interior is the large Panorama Head-Up Display positioned directly in front of the seating area. There is a choice of three experience modes – Explore, Entertain and Ease – which alter the interior, integrate information on the vehicle’s surroundings and provide in-car entertainment, privacy, or relaxation respectively.

In Explore mode, the focus shifts to the area around the vehicle. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant uses AR technology to superimpose information of interest to the passengers on the display so it appears both in their line-of-sight and in the correct position for their view of the real world.

Additional information or options for interaction with both the vehicle’s immediate and more distant surroundings can be accessed as the user desires. Focussing their gaze on the superimposed information brings up further details on the display, and a confirmatory gesture takes the user to the next interaction level.

Entertain mode brings the in-car experience to the fore. The surfaces at the sides are darkened to obscure the world beyond and the Panorama Head-Up Display can be used for watching movies, for example. The theatre-like ambient lighting extends light and colour throughout the interior enriching the content shown on the display; inviting passengers to immerse themselves fully in the entertainment experience.

When Ease mode is activated, the vehicle transforms into a place of calm and relaxation. Touching the intelligent material moves the seat into the “zero-gravity” position, in which the occupant feels as if they are almost floating. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant darkens the Panorama Head-Up Display and makes the surfaces at the sides opaque. At the same time, ambient lighting bathes the interior in a soothing glow, while a harmonious composition of pleasant sounds spreads through the cabin.

With the sound of the BMW Vision M NEXT, Hans Zimmer and BMW Sound Designer Renzo Vitale have outlined the sound of the future for the BOOST moment. For the BMW i Interaction EASE, the challenge was to use sound to turn the EASE moment into an authentic and emotional experience. “The sound subtly accompanies the interaction between passenger and vehicle and supports the unique BMW experience” says Renzo Vitale. The sound of the BMW i Interaction Ease thus also demonstrates the breadth of the partnership with Hans Zimmer, who, as composer and curator, is driving the development of BMW IconicSoundsElectric.

The partnership of Hans Zimmer and BMW began in 2017 with the inaugural #RoadtoCoachella campaign, and has continued to blossom into a long term relationship as Zimmer began to compose sounds for the mobility group. Mirrored Media is proud to be a

Read the full press release HERE.

EventMarketer: Stories of the Year, No. 1: Marketers Take a Deep Dive into Gen Z’s Values

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As we entered the new decade, EventMarketer reflected on their top stories of 2019. Coming in first place was Kaylee Hultgren‘s coverage of how marketers are connecting with the elusive consumers of Generation Z. The cover of this story features the “Share Your Voice” wall from the NBCUniversal booth at VidCon 2019, produced by Mirrored Media. The painted wall was part of a larger booth that catered to the Gen Z segment and also featured E! News’ The Rundown, People’s Choice Awards, and NBC News Stay Tuned.

Marketers have had their sights set on engaging millennials for several years, but as Gen Z enters the workforce (and increases its purchasing power), all eyes are now on the younger demographic. Members of this generation grew up eating social media for breakfast. They watch “TV” on YouTube. And when it comes to events, they’re most likely to connect with environmentally-conscious brands and inclusive experiences. Oh, and the Instagram-bait museum? They’re over it.

The Gen Z target can’t recall a time without technology. Generally defined as those born during the late 1990s to the late 2000s, Gen Z is estimated to have a direct spending power of up to $143 billion in the U.S. alone, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan study. A new trend report, compiled by We’re Magnetic, digs into the characteristics and values that define Gen Z—open-mindedness, pragmatism, creative expression, ambition, healthy hedonism and innovation. Here, we explore the report’s “jumping-off” points for marketers, and what it means for your events.

1. Filters are out.

Gen Z consumers aren’t fans of “living-my-best-life” highlights and macro influencers. Nearly 80 percent of them instead trust a company more if the images they use are not photoshopped. They are looking for consistent and relevant content from companies (82 percent), and they trust a brand more if actual customers are used in its marketing. 

2. Instagram museums are out, too.

Gen Z consumers aren’t falling for static, staged photo opportunities anymore. This generation wants to attend pop-ups and snap pics, too, but the key is to include personalization and allow younger consumers the opportunity to co-create with the brand from their unique perspectives.

3. Art is a passion point.

An interest for Gen Z, according to the report, is modern and urban art. So, strategic collabs and interactive and multi-sensory experiences are likely to attract this generation by appealing to their desire for creative expression. Think artist collabs, sneaker drops and exclusive fashion or merch at events.

4. Retail events are effective.

The majority of Gen Z consumers actually prefer to shop in-person, but they prefer retail environments that are more innovative, tactile, high-tech and interactive. Touching and testing the products is a priority for them, with 75 percent saying shopping in physical stores is better than shopping online. That said, they often take their recommendations from social media—the discovery of a brand is what takes place online.

5. You can bet on gaming.

Video game revenue in the U.S. exceeded $35 billion last year. And since Gen Z is fueling much of the growing popularity of gaming and esports, it behooves brands to embrace gaming culture in events with creative integrations, sponsorships and collabs. The Gen Z generation also enjoys the community aspect of gaming, which allows fans to gather IRL at events, tournaments and meet-and-greets—an area of opportunity for event marketers.

6. Inclusivity is important.

Almost 50 percent of Gen Z consumers identify as a racial or ethnic minority, making them the most diverse generation yet. It follows that brand marketing needs to be representative of that diversity if it’s to be taken seriously by this group. More than 60 percent of Gen Z consumers say they like seeing ads featuring diverse families.

7. Intimate festivals are a draw.

Gen Z consumers are ditching the elevated ticket prices at major music festivals for more affordable events that focus on a specific passion point or genre. Though they still love live music, additional interests include food and beverage, health and wellness, urban/modern art and extreme sports. They’re also receptive to events dedicated to a brand they feel devoted to.

8. TikTok is a preferred platform.

TikTok is huge with Gen Z. In fact, 41 percent of users are between the ages of 16 and 24. So, brands considering targeting this demo should consider building a presence there. The platform has a playful feel and is ideal for lighthearted and comedic content as opposed to the finely curated and filtered content found on other social platforms.

9. Co-creation with brands is in.

The majority of Gen Z consumers, 71 percent, believe that brands should help them achieve their personal goals and aspirations. Many of these folks also want to start their own businesses. To tap into this entrepreneurial spirit, brands can offer classes, workshops and networking events and even enlist them to co-create campaigns and product lines.

10. Shareworthy travel experiences are popular.

Gen Z consumers are willing to spend more for immersive, experiential travel, and they prefer to live like locals—particularly when it comes to food. A whopping 94 percent of Gen Z consumers said they research where to eat before they travel. This group also likes to pay it forward: Almost a third of them planned to give experiential holiday gifts last year.

11. Environmentally conscious-food is appreciated.

Three quarters of Gen Z consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable, “do-good” food. Brands that address issues like food waste, sustainable packaging and cellular agriculture will attract their attention. Consider serving socially-conscious food at pop-ups and events.

12. Lifestyle collabs are hot.

This demographic is more likely to shop brand collaborations—about two thirds compared to half of consumers overall. Luxury and streetwear collabs that produce items at attainable price points appeal to Gen Z consumers’ need for exclusivity. Streetwear collabs are still hot, but lifestyle, home/dorm and travel verticals are gaining in popularity.

13. Personalized product branding is in.

Gen Z consumers purchase products and services that highlight their identity. And 58 percent said they’d pay a premium for such items. Individualized products, experiences and rewards allow the generation to communicate their personal style through branded merchandise. Additionally, 42 percent said they enjoy designing their own products through technology like 3D printers.

14. Customization of personal avatars will continue.

A third of Gen Z consumers said they see no difference between their online and offline selves, and 35 percent say those selves are very similar. It follows that they are comfortable with digital projections of humans, or avatars like Bitmoji, which can be personalized with branded items.

15. AI combined with human interaction is preferred.

The fact that retail spend on AI will reach $7.3 billion by 2022 reflects younger generations’ expectation of personalization in shopping experiences. But customer service with a human touch remains important to Gen Z consumers. Brands employing AI in retail should still incorporate human interaction into an experience.

See this article, along with the rest of the Stories of the Year at EventMarketer.com