The key to creating memorable hybrid experiences is the “experience” part. The ever-presence of technology means that we're all used to seamlessly moving between digital and physical activities and most of us have been living in a world full of hybrid experiences, whether we know it or not.
The best of these experiences are the ones that don’t force us to think about the technology that enables the experience or the engineering wizardry behind it all. When hybrid experiences are well executed, what we remember are the emotions we felt, the excitement of the moment. In that spirit, I want to talk about a couple of my favorite hybrid experiences involving music, artists, and brands.
Stuart Todd Whitworth: If All Else Fails
Stuart Todd Whitworth’s album, If All Else Fails, includes a full band and a small orchestra on every track. A few tracks also include delightful cameos from instruments underutilized in modern music, like the harp and glockenspiel. Whitworth knew that when he released If All Else Fails (which took 8 years, 3 months, and 5 days to complete), simply dropping the album on Spotify wasn’t going to cut it. He started planning a more imaginative, unique way to release his album to the world, reaching out to even more collaborators and artists to enhance his opus.
In addition to working with other musicians, Whitworth worked with visual artists across a multitude of mediums who helped create artwork inspired by the album. The album includes a digital download card of all 16 songs, and a physical book containing each visual artist’s interpretation of the album’s cover art. Whitworth captured the creation of the art pieces in the form of a visually stunning music video for his song “Where You Are,” bringing Stuart Todd Whitworth’s unique vision for his music, artistic collaborations, and album release into one beautifully compelling experience.
The result is a delightful melange of virtual, physical, visual, auditory, and linguistic arts and one of my favorite hybrid music experiences. I definitely encourage you to go read more about the creative process and to watch the incredible music video.
Megan Thee Stallion and Frito-Lay
Ok, so maybe I thought about the tech wizardry behind this one for a minute, but mostly this was just straight up fun. During Superbowl LVI, Megan Thee Stallion dropped a new music video . . . on a Dorito??
The song (which was honestly better than it had any right to be) was a reimagined version of Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” and fans could watch the video on a Cheeto or Dorito through an augmented reality lens on Snapchat. It’s silly. It’s gimmicky. And just thinking about it makes me want some Flamin’ Hot Doritos, so, it definitely worked.
We’ve been working on our own tools to help artists (and brands) create memorable hybrid moments for fans too. Our focus is on creating interactive experiences that allow fans to have a closer connection with their favorite artists during live performances without interrupting or distracting from the performance itself. These tools also allow brand sponsors to be a part of those experiences in a way that feels natural and authentic. To learn more about this suite of tools, check out about.SET.Live or schedule a demo for a first-hand experience.
Great (Hybrid) Expectations
People expect hybrid experiences from artists and brands; the trick to creating great hybrid experiences is to not remind people about the hybrid part. Digital and physical exist in the same spaces now and integrating the two should be easy, seamless, and natural for users/fans. Keeping the focus on the end experience will help artists and brands connect with people in the digital, physical, and hybrid spaces where they already live.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get a bag of Flamin’ Hot Doritos.