After Tomorrow Takes America

August 16th, 201111:50 am @


After Tomorrow Takes America

When the Tomorrow Awards were first conceived, the intention was not to have a formal award show, much less a traveling caravan on future trends. But we quickly realized that social media is no substitute for an inspiring speaker, or the 2am conversations over cocktails that can give birth to new ideas and friendships.

So with the support of Adobe, the company that provides the canvas for much of the work presented, we set out to spark some real-world conversations on the future of advertising in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

In visiting agencies around North America, doing what I would affectionately refer to as the dog and pony show, we learned something pretty quickly. The less formal the room, the better the conversation was.

Far before the events, at Euro RSCG in Chicago, we had an especially great meeting. Lisa Leone, one of Euro’s new Creative Directors, plopped herself on the floor while Jason Peterson lowered what appeared to be a giant iron blast door between our room of creatives and the world outside. And we just talked about innovation for a few hours. That’s what we wanted to capture with the After Tomorrow events.

In Los Angeles, we took over the Foundation Room at House of Blues. Will Pomerantz, VP of Special Operations for Virgin Galactic presented their company’s vision for transforming space into a place that only 400 have gone in human history, to a place that – ultimately – we’ll all be able to experience. When the price drops a bit more, that is.

Tomorrow Award winners Mitsubishi and 180LA presented Live Drive – and the incredible story behind it. Not the least of which was that at 10PM, like clockwork, the behaviour of the online drivers controlling the live vehicle changed somewhat, as those coming home from a few pints began to take over.

What followed was several hours of open conversation, with sadly about 100 brownies left over.

Our next stop was Chicago, where we once again took over the Foundation Room at House of Blues. This time starting a little later, which led to a conversation-stimulating trend of everyone, speakers included, enjoying a few drinks before the event got rolling.

Noha Edell from Adobe gave us a crash course in becoming iPad Magazine Publishing Magnates after our screening of the Tomorrow Award winning entries before Matt Marcus, ECD of R/GA Chicago, took it back to the old school with a lively discussion on Bauhaus and the evolution of design innovation that lead to some Nike+ GPS goodness.

Arriving in New York, we’re about ready to have a nap. But two great speakers kept us going. Without our favorite LA & Chicago locales, we stormed Katwalk with Robert Wong, ECD of Google Creative Lab, and Sam Ewen, CEO of Interference, Inc.

Sam, who Fast Company once called the Best Guerrilla Marketer in America, walked through a dizzying array of technologies that blended experiential and digital marketing.

Robert, deftly controlling a crowd of advertising creatives with access to an open bar, opened our eyes to the the incredible range of work going on at Google.

Once again, the evening never really “ended”, as conversations on mind-machine interfaces went on until the bar closed, and the last stragglers were forced to trek for a round of late night karaoke.

What did we learn from Round 1 of After Tomorrow? Carmageddon was a well executed marketing campaign. There is an inverse relationship between time of night and ideal presentation length. Neural Interface Computing is probably a trend to watch. It’s really easy to make iPad Magazine Apps. We can learn more by looking outside of our own industry to the innovation occurring elsewhere (Aerospace, Automotive, Search). It’s important to spend time examining previous patterns of innovation. Big thinking is the best thinking. Also, Darth Vader came to our LA planning meeting and is hiring for his new startup.

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