IBM THINK 2019: Giving Our Best Out West
Feb 25, 2019
Here at Centerline, we are big believers that everyone has a story to tell. And just over a week ago in San Francisco, it felt like everyone told us theirs.
That’s an exaggeration, of course. But this is not: Over three days at Think 2019, IBM’s flagship technology conference, Centerline conducted more than 100 hour-long interviews with representatives of IBM business partners big and small. We also created an immersive, surround-sound infused theater experience for the expo floor, collaborated on a short film about quantum computing, and delivered several interactive demos and presentations.
As for the customer interviews, we do a lot of them for our clients. But Think 2019 raised the bar, requiring next-level communication, coordination and, for some of us, a ridiculous amount of Red Bull.
Here’s the CliffsNotes version of how we made it happen:
- Five hotel conference rooms—each with different dimensions—were transformed into identical interview sets. Same multi-camera set-up, lighting scheme and backdrop.
- Each room included a production crew of four to run cameras, adjust lighting and capture sound.
- Five Centerliners conducted the majority of interviews, with three teammates getting at-bats in key spots.
- Three team leads remained in constant contact—and motion—to ensure clients, crew and interviewees had everything they needed to be successful.
Considering the number of people with a vested interest in the project, it’s remarkable how few hiccups we experienced. That’s a testament to the value Centerline places on preparation.
Long before landing in San Francisco, the core team created a comprehensive 24-page production book detailing everything from technical specs to filming and graphics treatment. The team then spent days building and refining the set we’d use out west. Consistency was critical.
The conference room dimensions were different, but the set replicas had to be carbon copies. We also had to account for a number of interviewee variables; it was a lock that clothing, skin tones and height would run the gamut.
Commitment to those details—the things you only notice if they’re overlooked—is what set this project up for success.
Equally critical was the fact that everyone on the team had logged time with IBM clients and brought specialized skill sets to the table.
“That enabled us to be prepared no matter who walked through the door. We were not caught unaware,” said Fabian Marquez, Centerline’s senior strategic creative director. “This is an extension of what Centerline brings to the table for all of our clients.”
It’s true of every project our agency’s on.
All told, we conducted 106 interviews across six IBM business units, including Analytics, Cloud, Security, Storage, Systems, and Watson and AI. We amassed 30 terabytes of media in the process.
That’s a lot of storytelling. How Centerline hustled to get it all is a pretty good tale, too.
Marc Thaler is a former journalist and broadcaster-turned-associate creative director. For 10+ years, he covered sports around New England—everything from Little League to the big leagues. Several years back, he joined a software company specializing in cloud-based IT security and management solutions, spent a few years creating content in its marketing department, and then made the switch to Centerline. Over the years, his writing has appeared on a range of recognizable dot-coms, including ESPN, SC Magazine and Marketing Profs.