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CreaTech at CogX 2021 Day 2 Takeaways

August 9, 2021
Published on:
August 8, 2021

From the second day of the hybrid virtual-live CogX Festival held on June 14-16, here are some highlights from the CreaTech stream. If these whet your appetite, you can find all the sessions in full in this YouTube playlist. You can also see takeaways from Day 1 and Day 3.

CreaTech in advertising: what’s hot? What’s not?

Facebook’s VP Creative Shop EMEA Caitlin Ryan shared innovative brand campaigns such as a second-screen chat experience to promote the Fast & Furious franchise.

Neil Boorman, Head Of Creative Lab Europe, TikTok, said one of the plaform's distinctive features was its content recommendation algorithm. He said creators don’t need to accrue large followings before they can get their content seen. Compelling content can achieve overnight global success. TikTok’s content creation tools such as Duet enhance this virality - they are a 'massive shot of steroids in arm of meme culture'.  

Melanie Wong, Global Planning Director at VCCP, shared two tips for brand communications in the era of pandemic: be an antidote (a ray of hope in difficult times) and be a retail therapist (go beyond transactional shopping experience to creative, playful ecommerce).  

The future of social media: Why it is driven by China

China’s social media landscape is very different to the West’s, because it has evolved to be mobile-centric. ‘Super-apps’ such as WeChat - which are more akin to an operating system than an app - are used for everything from hailing cabs to playing games.

Momo Estrella, Head of Digital Design, China, IKEA, said China is an ‘observatory of the future’. The technology infrastructure is influencing new models of behaviour, for example in the way digital payments are enabling new forms of social commerce.  

Arnold Ma, Founder & CEO, Qumin, identified two key trends from China which Western brands should embrace: short-form video and live-streaming direct to consumers.


Dream was a live-streamed theatre performance which used motion capture technology to project actors into a virtual forest. It was one of four government-funded Audience of the Future Demonstrator projects, and was produced by a consortium including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Philharmonia, Punchdrunk, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Manchester International Festival (MIF),  with a further 14 companies contributing their expertise.

Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development at theRoyal Shakespeare Company, who was also the session moderator, described how the actors performed in a 7m x 7m space at  Portsmouth Guildhall, which translated into a 7km x 7km virtual world built in games engine Unreal Engine.

Gabrielle Jenks, Digital Director of the Manchester International Festival, said extensive audience research informed decisions around the audience experience and user journey.

For example, research on hardware availability led to a decision to make the experience browser-based.  They found that some audience members prefer to watch passively, while others want to interact with the experience, so they created two different options to allow for these preferences. They also discovered that people valued the experience of being part of an audience, so they included an onboarding process which created a sense of place and togetherness.

New platforms for music

Roblox is an online community where every day an average of 42.1 million people gather virtually to play, create, consume entertainment and explore millions of immersive worlds. This session explored the metaverse as a new world for music, with bands interacting with fans in new and engaging ways in the Roblox environment.

Oana Ruxandra, Chief Digital Officer & EVP of Business Development, Warner Music Group, said there were massive opportunities in metaverse environments such as Roblox for music to develop creator led-communities offering shared virtual experiences. She cited events such as an Ava Max performance on Roblox, and also performances on the platform by the band Royal Blood which have produced "really robust activity" for the label.

Jon Vlassopulos, Vice President, Global Head of Music, Roblox, said interactions have to feel right for both the fans and the creators, adding "artists are able to take creative advantage of the virtual world" and encouraged music labels to experiment on the platform, establishing their virtual handles and identifying key influencers to work with in this environment.

Designing Impact

Silicon Valley designer Yves Béhar, Founder of fuseproject, and this year’s Serpentine Pavilion architect, Sumayya Vally, Founder, Counterspace Studio, joined Boster Group CEO, Susan Boster, to explore how creativity in design and architecture influences behaviour and, through innovative partnerships, becomes part of the solution to major global challenges.

Sumayya Vally argued that historically architecture has often been a force for 'separating/othering' but can be a force for positive change, adding: "So many of the challenges we have in the world are because things are slanted in a particular world view and they have been for a long time. We need to be able to offer different answers to the challenges we have. It is important that we use the opportunities we have to think about things can be different."

Yves Béhar, Founder of fuseproject, said: "Design accelerates the adoption of new ideas. Very critical 21st century ideas about sustainability, equity, access to technology...I think these are critical for our survival and design can serve that. There are so many examples of a new idea design without the right design and the right empathy for the user and when that fails it sets the whole field back."

You can also watch discussions about NFTs and digital art, the social power of video games and other topics on this YouTube playlist.

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