Visible's Crazy Activation in Denver Is Like Stepping Inside Your Phone

Madwell's 12,000-square-foot homage to mobile life

Slide into a pool of DMs! Dodge texts on an obstacle course!

This new immersive experience from all-digital carrier Visible lets you slide into DMs and dodge unwanted push notifications, but not on your handset.

Developed with creative agency Madwell and launched last week in a converted Denver warehouse, Phonetopia invites the public to play among interactive exhibits that bring various aspects of communications culture to life.

The creators say it's like stepping inside your phone. Well, sort of. There are no wires or SIM cards, but Phonetopia is packed full of fun stuff to do, just like our beloved mobile devices.

An obstacle course challenges guests to avoid physical manifestations of push notifications and text messages, then slide into a pool filled with Ds and Ms. The Contentorium, a celebration of all things sharable, boasts a bathtub filled with rubber ducks (work that face!), a gigantic banana and other kitschy, camera-ready eye candy. 

An SMS Arcade houses games inspired by our obsession for texting, complete with emoji-shaped prizes. And there's a retro "airplane mode" lounge where folks can kick back and catch up on all the calls and emails they missed while exploring the 12,000-square-foot activation.

Welcome to #Phonetopia

But wait … there's more.

Because phones and music go hand in hand, recording artists Maggie Rogers, Haim, Kacey Musgraves, Anderson .Paak and Tierra Whack will all play intimate sets for small groups of fans who RSVP. 

Everything's free at Phonetopia—which runs through Nov. 24 and has already attracted more than 1,400 guests (the goal is 3,500).

See a gallery of photos here: 

"Doing a phone activation in a unique way was a natural tie-in to showcase our brand, educate the community on what our offering is, and create a memorable experience for them," Visible head of brand strategy Beth Veen tells Muse.  

It's one big content/commerce circuit. Phone usage inspired the event, which is designed to "establish brand awareness, generate organic social chatter and conversation beyond our immediate footprint, and engage potential members who are now interested in learning more about us," says Veen.

Of late, many marketers have dialed a similar number and staged large-scale activations to build buzz. Rag & Bone's robotic-arm-enhanced runway show at New York Fashion Week serves as a prime example, along with Havaianas' shoppable mural on the Venice Beach boardwalk and Epson's efforts to reconnect folks to nature via kaleidoscopic projections.

Phonetopia seems especially apt in its playful approach. For many, mobile communications are a kind of nonstop playground or fun fair. This activation acknowledges and amplifies that reality in vibrant, stimulating fashion.

"The most important goal is for consumers to see that we're different, both in our product offering, as well as the IRL experiences we create for them," Veen says.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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