The New Collaborators: Thinkingbox

The Vancouver company's acquisitions give studio access to a roster of specialists under one banner
Thinkingbox leadership team (left to right): chief technology officer Paul Solomon, chief creative officer Michael Kern, and chief executive officer Amir Sahba

Thinkingbox leadership team (left to right): chief technology officer Paul Solomon, chief creative officer Michael Kern, and chief executive officer Amir Sahba

When agencies want to scale up and gain access to a broader swath of clients, they frequently look to holding companies for greater opportunities. Production companies have no such option. Without the long-term revenue channels that come from agency-of-record relationships, production companies aren’t the kind of dance partner holding companies are looking for.

So when Vancouver-headquartered interactive and experiential production studio Thinkingbox wanted to expand its offerings to better meet the high-volume cross-platform demands of clients, it created its own solution. As with holding companies, which look to specialized firms to round out capacity, Thinkingbox acquired two shops to bring together a network of like-minded and skilled creators specialized in experiential, digital and content production and delivery.

For National Fry Day, Thinkingbox worked with McDonald's Canada and Cossette in collaboration with WondrMakr and Quiver to create a Kiosk that allowed fry fans to proclaim their love from a mountain top via a massive mock drive-thru

For National Fry Day, Thinkingbox worked with McDonald’s Canada and Cossette in collaboration with WondrMakr and Quiver to create a Kiosk that allowed fry fans to proclaim their love from a mountain top via a massive mock drive-thru

Thinkingbox, which also has offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, bought Salt Lake City digital and live-action company Welikesmall in January, followed the next month by New York digital production studio Aarra. Founders from both have joined Thinkingbox’s leadership team. Two other acquisitions are in late stages of completion for 2020 as the company is also opening a new 20,000-square-foot production facility at its flagship Vancouver location.

“As there is more demand for production, there’s a need for more support and scalability for production first shops,” says Thinkingbox CEO Amir Sahba. “There is a place in the market for larger-scale production power to deliver to a larger group of clients.”

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Thinkingbox created a new narrative that speaks to the utility of Adobe Experience Cloud. From live-action footage to 2D and 3D motion graphics, they created three videos that showcased how Analytics, Campaign, and Sites could help a marketer in their day-to-day lives both in and outside of work.

Core to Thinkingbox’s growth strategy is finding companies that share its commitment to creating work in-house.

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For the newly overhauled Mazda3, Thinkingbox partnered with JWT to create an interactive kiosk for the 2019 auto show circuit featuring a magic mirror, tablet display and traditional Japanese artifacts that, when touched, triggered content that told the story behind the design.

“Part of our DNA is that every project that goes out our door has been done by us. That’s one of the key reasons we’re successful – when you know the people under your roof, you know your capabilities and are able to consistently deliver,” says Sahba. “We’re looking for companies that believe in the same thing; they execute on what they promise to a client as opposed to being coordinators of outside talent.”

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For Verizon and Momentum Worldwide, Thinkingbox created a fully immersive experience that gave Shawn Mendes super fans an inside look at how he crafts his hit songs from inspiration to performing on tour.

This dedication to excellence in execution has resulted in breakthrough work for Thinkingbox clients. For Verizon and Momentum Worldwide the shop created a fully immersive experience in New York for fans to get a sense of what it’s like to be Shawn Mendes. The project included a microsite to drive traffic to an event featuring the pop star meeting contest winners, and the live experience immersed fans in his creative process.

It also collaborated with Wrangler and Mother New York to capitalize on Lil Nas X’s shout-out to the iconic jeanswear brand in his breakout hit “Old Town Road.” Thinkingbox designed a microsite that leveraged machine learning to recognize a “Wrangler booty.” Using mobile phone cameras, the site scanned and detected the Wrangler logo on jeans, which unlocked exclusive behind-the-scenes content from the video featuring Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus.

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For Avengers: Endgames launch Thinkingbox, We Are Unlimited and Marvel transformed McDonalds flagships in New York and Chicago into Avengers recruitment centers.

On the experiential front, Thinkingbox, Innocean Worldwide Canada and car brand Genesis Motors came together to create an immersive visual story at Toronto Pearson Airport. Travelers passing through a moving walkway at Terminal 1 were instantly immersed in a motion-graphics story about the creation of the G70 midsize sedan projected on 11 x 55” LCD displays. The project took over a year to produce and is active over the course of two plus years.

For the 2019 Riot Games season, Thinkingbox developed branded key art, a motion graphics package, a digital client hub experience, and a microsite.

For the 2019 Riot Games season, Thinkingbox developed branded key art, a motion graphics package, a digital client hub experience, and a microsite.

Moving forward, Sahba says Thinkingbox is looking to bolster its creative capacity with companies specializing in micro content and social content, as well as motion graphics and animation. The benefit for these companies is the ability to deliver the full scope of production on projects that couldn’t be tackled alone.

For Thinkingbox’s clients and partners, meanwhile, the beefed-up company offers a convenient project-delivery solution due to the network of specialized talent under one banner. “Our clients can trust that we can bring any idea to life as best as possible. We believe this model is best for the market and now we’re executing on that model.”

CONTACT:
Amir Sahba
Chief Executive Officer
amir@thinkingbox.com