Brisbane Festival uses AR system Weavar to deliver performances into audience's hands

IMG_2325.jpgBrisbane Festival has cemented its reputation as a national innovator and disruptor via a new partnership with Australian experiential technology agency, Lightweave.

Spearheaded by Brisbane Festival marketing and communications director Justin Grace and Lightweave CEO Sam Hussey, this year's Brisbane Festival campaign utilises Lightweave's licensable augmented reality system 'Weavar' to bring this year's Festival experience to life like never before.
For Hussey, the Weavar integration, giving audiences unprecedented access to dynamic content, provided a solution to a past problem he'd experienced as a longtime Brisbane Festival loyalist.

Says Hussey: "I've been attending Brisbane Festival events for years, and every year without fail I've found myself at the end of the Festival disappointed that I'd missed out on incredible shows simply because I hadn't engaged with the campaign artwork or promotional collateral.

"This year, via the free Brisbane Festival app powered by Weavar, audiences can use their own mobile devices to watch a video trailer of every show within seconds, simply by hovering their phone over static collateral.

"It gives Brisbane Festival the ability to better communicate the intricacies and uniqueness of individual productions and events, and track a show's individual journey to the stage via limitless content updates."

Grace said the augmented reality integration allowed for unprecedented engagement and deeper connection with audiences, and more informed purchasing decisions.

Says Grace: "One of the most significant communication challenges for Brisbane Festival is that we're promoting in excess of 70 entertainment experiences concurrently, meaning audiences are being asked to constantly make choices.

"The strongest elements we have to sell our shows are how they look and sound, and we now have a way to deliver this in an almost unrestricted way.

"The ability to transform any piece of printed collateral into a more informational and engaging style of messaging through augmented video means that our patrons can make better informed decisions and feel more empowered about the choices they are making."

In addition to activating every page of Brisbane Festival's 90-page printed program, the technology has been integrated across Brisbane Festival's entire marketing and communications campaign, including billboards, press advertisements and even editorial via The Courier-Mail.

Grace said the Festival team had welcomed the challenge of adding another layer to every brand touchpoint.

Says Grace: "While we knew it was going to be a logistical mountain to climb, we all felt that the timing was right to embark on a pretty ambitious campaign that had the ability to engage with Brisbane in a way that hadn't been done before.

"The ability to make unlimited content updates gives our printed collateral an unlimited shelf-life. It's a genius integration that returns relevance and value to a somewhat outdated means of advertising."

Following the festival's official program announcement in July and record-breaking launch-week ticket sales, Grace said the augmented reality integration had clearly captured audiences' imaginations.

Says Grace: "The reactions have been fantastic - we tend to see people with a sense of awe and wonder and, as they use it more, the appreciation for the depth of the experience grows."

Following the success of the campaign, Brisbane Festival and Lightweave are taking their partnership one step further in another Festival-first, creating an interactive artificial intelligence character Frank, who will preside over the popular Festival hub, Treasury Brisbane Arcadia.

Coming to life by a towering screen, Frank will chat with Festival-goers in real time, sharing jokes, stories and games day and night.

Says Hussey: "Frank is our host with the most. Cheeky, endearing and outrageously funny, he's certain to become a 2017 Festival favourite and an unforgettable addition to this year's epic line-up."

For Grace, the Lightweave partnership was a very natural fit for the Festival, allowing it to continue to surprise and delight audiences: "Brisbane Festival has innovation and change inherently as part of its DNA.

"Part of our actual mission statement is about disrupting the conventional. As we look now towards Brisbane Festival's 22 days of wonder from 9 September, we're excited to continue to connect with audiences in unique and surprising ways."

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