DEPT®

Organising the world’s first 24-hour Meta Festival

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After a successful Berlin-based hybrid first edition in 2021, we took our metaverse event a step further in 2022 – by organising the world’s first 24-hour Meta Festival that took place across three time zones in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas. More than 6,500 attendees from 109 countries – that’s a coverage of 55% of the whole world – gathered in the highly immersive Metapolis metaverse world on June 28th to hear from 123 leading web3 innovators, brand marketers, futurists and technologists. Several hundred others tuned in to live streams on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Twitch to take a peek into the metaverse.

Next level

A look back

In 2021, after more than a year of sitting in boring webinars due to the ongoing pandemic, we decided that the ‘new normal’ just wasn’t good enough and reinvented virtual events by founding Meta Festival – a first of its kind festival experience taking place in ‘Metapolis’, a tailored virtual world realised by our partner JOURNEE – The Metaverse Company™ on Unreal Engine. After all, everyone’s talking about the metaverse. But, according to our research, only 16% of people understand what it is. We wanted to change that.

Same tech excellence. But bigger and better.

After having realised immersive web3 experiences and NFT projects for clients such as H&Mbeyond, Motorsport Games and The Drone Racing League, we wanted to take our Meta Festival to the next level and make it even bigger and better in 2022.

We once again partnered with JOURNEE – The Metaverse Company™ to bring Metapolis back to life. While the landscape was stylised differently from the first version, the virtual world once again proved to be an example of the limitless possibilities the metaverse offers, showcasing spectacular 3D visualisations in raytraced rendering quality.

All that attendees needed to access Metapolis was a device and an internet connection. Thanks to a collaboration with Ready Player Me, each visitor had the opportunity to create their own custom avatar with which they could dance and move as well as walk or even fly through Metapolis. An integrated chat allowed them to communicate with each other.

8 million people reached

Meta Festival Whole World

12,500+ Registrations

6,500+ Visitors

First edition 2021: 4,000+ Visitors

100+ Speakers

First edition 2021: 40+ Speakers

Inside the Metaverse

Five unique stages

Once they were inside Metapolis, attendees were free to explore five unique stages focused on Web3, Pop Culture, the Betterverse, Immersive Experiences, and Diehard Tech. Speakers on these stages included experts from Netflix, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and more. Each of the stages had its own theme and several screens that attendees could approach with their avatars to tune into the talks.

Top-notch speakers

In addition to these five stages of ongoing sessions, there was a Main Stage which featured live programming tailored to each region, taking place between 2pm – 5pm local time in Singapore, Amsterdam and New York. On the Main Stage, visitors got to hear from top-notch speakers such as web3 experts Cathy Hackl, Paula Kilgariff, Diego Borgo and Gmoney, as well as leaders from brands across industries, including Google Cloud, Ready Player Me, The Volkswagen Group, H&Mbeyond, HAPE, The Fabricant, Coca Cola, WIRED, disguise, Burberry, Heineken, Salesforce, DRESSX, Headspace, Decentraland, Epic Games, Algorand, PwC UK, Campaign, Forrester, and more. 

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Cocktails, karaoke & NFTs

Aside from being packed with information and inspiration, our Meta Festival also featured a Playground area with fun workshops (e.g. yodeling), karaoke, live magic, cocktail classes and yoga that encouraged attendees to walk around the grounds and experience a true festival feeling. For those visitors who craved after-party-vibes, there were even live DJ sets in the so called ‘boiler room’…

Additionally, since NFTs are the topic of the moment, we of course also hosted an NFT workshop during Meta Festival. Furthermore, attendees could browse an NFT Gallery inside of Metapolis to purchase a number of custom NFTs created specially for the event.

Livestreams on LinkedIn, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube

Although Metapolis was freely accessible for anybody that registered for Meta Festival, we wanted to also give less tech-savvy audiences the chance to experience our experts and speakers. Therefore, we streamed the live talks happening on the Main Stage to LinkedIn, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube, allowing us to reach an even bigger audience.

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Behind the scenes

Even though Meta Festival 2022 was a fully immersive event, it took a big and committed IRL crew that worked 24h around the clock to make it all happen.

We flew our hosts for all three time zones to Amsterdam, where we had set up a studio with a greenscreen for the live moderations. An external production team worked hard to guarantee a smooth experience for the attendees.

At the same time, a dedicated team of Depsters managed the communication with the visitors (disguised as ‘Happy Zebra’, DEPT®s very own mascot) and made sure that all speakers were briefed and ready for their panels.

Until next year!

Meta Festival 2022 was a big evolution from 2021’s Berlin-based hybrid edition. And, from sponsorship opportunities to VR headset capability, there’s only more we can accomplish from here. We’re excited and hungry for Meta Festival 2023, because who knows what next year will bring… Stay tuned!

Experience the website

Questions?

Executive Creative Director

Max Pinas

A next-level virtual digital event

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It can feel impossible to capture the spirit and energy of physical events and translate that into a digital experience. For years, employees have gathered by the water cooler or gone on company outings together. But that is no longer possible. Virtual calls have replaced our daily coffee meetings, and although they help are an important communication tool, many people find them draining. This makes hosting digital events difficult, as you miss the experience and magic of the physical experience. And to be honest, they simply get boring.

This was the challenge that we faced for our own flagship annual event: DEPT® Festival, a recent winner of the Dutch “Golden Giraffe” award for the best brand event. Over the last five years, what was once a small gathering had transformed into the industry festival of the year, hosting thousands of visitors from around the globe for three full days of inspiration on the future of creativity, data, and technology. However, COVID-19 forced us to re-imagine our flagship event.

The show must go on

Our challenge was to fit three days worth of activities and inspiration into three hours while making it feel like it all lasted only three minutes. To do this, we decided to create a next-level virtual experience full of energy, a little crazy and above all personal. And that’s why we reimaged the physical experience and transformed it into a virtual one by building an interactive, 3D festival map which supported 15 stages across which more than 35 presentations took place.

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Designing and building a next-level virtual experience for Depsters worldwide

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The process behind creating a next-level digital event

Simply transferring all the elements of the original festival to a virtual platform would have led to a clumsy, unsatisfying result. Therefore, reimagination was the key. To kick off the process, we started by conceptualising our vision, the platform and the architecture of the event. The concept was crucial as this became our red thread both visually but also across our communication which we could always refer back to.

With a clear theme and concept, we quickly began to build our 3D map using React Three Fiber, a front-end tool specifically engineered to manage and bring 3D experiences to life. This, in turn, connected to Zoom, Slack and Vimeo. Our designers had the first version up and running in just a couple of weeks.

While our developers and designers continued to refine and test the platform, our communication team arranged 50 speakers in addition to 15 stage hosts while also locking in extra goodies and entertainment we had up our sleeve.

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Enticing and hyping up Depsters for what’s to come

Apart from designing the experience, we wanted to excite Depsters with what was to come. So we crafted an internal social campaign which included daily hints from our zebra mascot and teaser videos. These social drops excited Depsters worldwide and conveyed that this was not an ordinary Zoom event.

A seamless, online-offline event experience

In two months time, we designed and built a custom made a custom 3D festival map which one could easily explore and that was protected by single sign-on. The design and layout digitally recreated the festival site from the previous four years, squeezing in 15 stages and 35+ short and snappy presentations into a 3-hour event, and included some industry heroes like Stefan Sagmeister and Gmunk. A personal welcome movie by CEO Dimi Albers and DEPT® stage hosts made everyone feel welcome. With the help of Slack and ‘social reporters’, people knew what was going on all the virtual stages, creating a healthy amount of event FOMO, before and after the event.

Presentation topics ranged from diversity and inclusion to data intelligence, the future of voice, and coding for a 3D world. The fun was provided by virtual meditation, magicians, karaoke and DJ sets. ‘Easter eggs’ were hidden around the virtual map, leading people to things like the ten most famous internet cat movies, and a crazy Zoom background contest. The virtual Photo Booth generated a live photo wall, and in all thirteen countries, Depsters could have food delivered to their doorsteps via Ubereats and JustEat Takeaway after a visit to the digital food truck.

Looking forward

Because of COVID-19, virtualisation has become the new norm and this will shape the future by creating new hybrid events which combine both physical and digital elements. And it doesn’t stop with virtual events, imagine virtual product launches, remote assistance and digital campuses. Thinking bigger, one could picture entire online environments that enable organisations to exchange knowledge or try out products and services in an accessible and personal manner.

For organisations that want to explore possibilities for their virtual event and beyond, we offer services such as concepting, designing and building a virtual 3D world, supporting your brand deploy the necessary technology and security to host a large scale event in addition to helping with the production side of things. Because, in the end, life is too short to host boring events.

Questions?

Executive Creative Director

Max Pinas

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