Meet our fellow cast mates from the New York Times brand panel
Few institutions have withstood the turmoil of our fractured media landscape and continued to perform as cultural bellwethers better than The New York Times. We were honored that our Founder and Principal Jake Barton was invited to speak at their panel talk on brands and culture, Culture Manual, at NeueHouse earlier this year.
When we first saw the roster of panelists, we were admittedly a little curious: what did the founder of a shopping startup, a fitness guru, and the VR editor of The Times have in common with exhibit designers?
Turns out, quite a bit.
We were excited to hear from the new (and first) Virtual Reality editor for The New York Times, Jenna Pirog. She helped pull off one of the single largest distributions of VR technology in history last November, sending more than 1,000,000 Google Cardboard headsets to home and online subscribers.
Now, Pirog is turning her focus to creating 360 degree films and documentaries for The Times, like Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart, artfully imagined visualizations of this dwarf planet based on data from the New Horizons mission.
She received quite a few questions on the best techniques for creating VR content, but was clear: her team, like other filmmakers using this technology, is just beginning this experiment, inventing rules and styles as it goes along.
Amanda Latifi, founder of HaftaHave, brought over a decade of experience in fashion, retail, and e-commerce to her new endeavor. Like Pirog, she’s fascinated by the interaction between physical and digital, and saw a missed opportunity as larger fashion brands segregated their digital and physical customer experiences to a fault.
Latifi’s new company bridges this gap by allowing customers to scan labels in the store, and review them digitally later on, much as Local Projects did with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s Interactive Pen. The Pen allows visitors to save real objects they see on their visit to a personal digital collection.
We also heard from Keoni Hudoba, creator of the Cyc Method, a boutique cycling studio franchise that’s steamrolling its way across college campuses. As a college student who lost 300 pounds thanks to healthier eating and exercise habits, Hudoba brought the urban boom of boutique class exercise to giant institutions like the University of Wisconsin.
Even though Hudoba is often the only game in town when it comes to boutique fitness in midwestern college towns, he constantly searches for new technologies and amenities that can heighten the sense of theatricality and community that keeps his customers coming back every week.
Our founder Jake Barton rounded off the panel with a discussion of our work with the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and the recipe for making great experiences: the ability to elicit authentic emotional responses and create meaningful connections with audiences.
He spoke about brands’ new perspectives on retail as an experience, not just a checkout line. Our studio accomplished this with Target Open House, a internet-connected product showroom in San Francisco that doubles as an educational learning lab for what the smart home of the future could look like. Products talk visitors and to each other, work together to solve everything from burglaries to baby care. Read more about the project on WIRED, and check out our revamped version of Target Open House when it opens in February 2017.
We’re excited to see The Times asserting and cementing its cultural leadership. Thanks to The New York Times’ TBrand Studio and their partners at Giant Spoon for having us.