Digital Experiences for Physical Spaces

NEXT/NOW is an award winning creative technology agency that produces next-generation digital/physical experiences for world-class brands. We use Virtual and Augmented Reality, projection mapping, specialized app development, facial tracking, gesture and motion interactivity, innovative display concepts, and breakthrough technology to create unforgettable moments of connection between people and organizations.

 
$25,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2011
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • NEXT/NOW
    1200 W Lake St. Ste 100
    Chicago, IL 60607
    United States
    312.945.6222

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Intel, Under Armour, McDonald'sNBA, Mazda, Trek, BP, Glade, LG, Audi.

Mazda's Augmented Reality Pit Crew Experience

https://nextnowagency.com/project/mazda-augmented-reality-pit-experience/

It’s a great weekend for a race.

The crew chief gives you the nod: it’s time. No time to think. You and your pit crew team fall into position like you have a thousand times before. Then, in a beautiful and elegant motion, that beautiful fire red Mazda Prototype sings into the stall as all 570 horses of its new gasoline-fueled MZ-2.0T engine come to a halt. You move in sync with your team… pure zen. The world slows as you slide the melting hot tire aside and replace with a new one.

It’s all so… perfect. You finish changing the tire at the exact moment the pedal sends the new driver sailing back into the lead.

That screech as it takes off? That’s what you live for. The rest of the crew rises to their feet, fists in the air as the driver celebrates with you and your pit crew.

And then… You look around you. You’re not on a track. There is no team celebrating. You look again...

"Avo-Matic" Facial Emotion Tracking Food Truck - SXSW

https://nextnowagency.com/project/facial-emotion-tracking-food-truck/

South by Southwest (SXSW), the apex music, film, and art festival in Austin Texas, can either be a marketer’s dream or its worse nightmare. Brand saturation at the 20-year-old event can often lead to negative associations amongst festivalgoers who feel their experience has been interloped by tone-deaf brands looking to take advantage of the prime demographic real estate.

Thoughtfully walking the line between brand awareness and experience augmentation is key to having a successful presence without unanticipated blowback.

When Avocados from Mexico sponsored “South Bites”, the festival’s food truck court, they had the goal to provide attendees fresh, customized, and delicious fast food in a way that left them smiling, entertained, and with a memento to take home.

NEXT/NOW built a digital interface for Avocado’s “Avo-matic” food truck that allowed users to custom order via giant touch...

Trek Rider Analysis AR Tool

https://nextnowagency.com/project/trek-rider-analysis-ar-tool/

Trek is a cycling company that thrives on innovation and precise technical performance. Seeking a way to further its branding by streamlining the bike purchasing experience and abbreviate an often lengthy and costly bike fit process, the professional sporting powerhouse reached out to NEXT/NOW to create a one-of-its-kind Augmented Reality (AR) tool that would disrupt this process and reduce it to a comfortable, touch-and-go service that instantly connects buyers to their ideal bike match.

What resulted was an in-store AR “smart kiosk” capable of recording, motion tracking, and evaluating a rider’s movements in real time that then provides a slow motion analysis of body angles and positioning that gives the buyer precise feedback on bike adjustments and suggestions on the best equipment for them. What was often a lengthy service sometime spanning days, was now reduced to a two minute process

Trek’...

LG Final Four Fan Fest Digital Sports Activation

https://nextnowagency.com/project/lg-final-four-digital-sports-activation/

The Final Four is the apex event of NCAA Division 1 Basketball. As official sponsors, Electronics pioneer, LG, wanted to capitalize on their presence with a basketball themed digital sports activation.

To this end experiential marketing company NEXT/NOW and partner Advantage International, built out a 3-part digital activation that included a fast paced head-to-head shootout where competitors took turns shooting laundry from random LED marked hotspots laundry into an LG Twin Wash washing machine.

The competitors scores were captured live and broadcast on a large video wall made up of 20 curved OLED LG monitors. Measuring at 25x12 feet, the robust digital wall used a custom designed template to deliver multiple data streams including live scores, real time social media posts, commercial video content, and updated live photo and video feeds from within the event.

Attendees also...

McDonald's Brand Virtual Pit Crew Challenge

https://nextnowagency.com/project/mcdonalds-brand-virtual-reality-challenge/

In this award winning activation, McDonald’s tapped a team of all-stars including NEXT/NOW to create a brand virtual reality experience for the hundreds of thousands of NASCAR fans during the 2016 Sprint Cup Series. While the races were exciting, the real game-changer was NEXT/NOW’s one-of-a-kind Brand Virtually Reality game on the (not yet publicly available) HTC Vive. Fans put on the headset and were transported into the excitement of a virtual NASCAR pit stop where Jamie McMurray, driver of the McDonald’s #1 Chevy SS, instructs them to become part of the team by changing the driver’s side tires in a race against time. Using the HTC Vive hand paddles, users see the race car scream to a stop, then rush to change the front and rear tires. The user then hands Jamie a Big Mac and sends him back out on to the track. Finally, the user receives an email sharable with their pit stop time, which they...

Under Armour Brand House Virtual Tour

https://nextnowagency.com/project/under-armour-virtual-reality-retail-tour/

Under Armour, known for superior brand innovation, wanted to provide a novel, inside look at retail as Bostonians await the completion and grand opening of the latest UA Brand House in Boston’s popular Prudential Center. Under Armour has partnered with award-winning experiential marketing agency, NEXT/NOW, to build out a fully immersive, 3-D tour of the actual layout of the store before being constructed. The tour is hosted by Boston Red Sox great, Jackie Bradley Jr., who welcomes the user and speaks to the features of the upcoming Brand House.

Reviews

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VR Game Dev for Alcohol Beverages Company

“[T]hey were very involved, hands-on, helpful, and patient.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jul. 2017 - Sept. 2017
Project summary: 

NEXT/NOW developed a virtual reality game for a drinks company, intending to engage a younger customer demographic and pull them to the brand. It is driven via headsets and goggles, and will launch next year. 

The Reviewer
 
200-500 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Marketing, Mike's Hard Lemonade
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The completed game is undergoing testing prior to its summer 2018 launch and has received good feedback, fitting with the company’s wider marketing goals and brand. They were excellent developers who adhered to deadlines, communicated well, and ensured the whole process was smooth and stress-free.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of field marketing for Mike’s Hard Lemonade. We are an alcohol company that produces flavored malt beverages in a variety of brands and flavors. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with NEXT/NOW?

Our original brand, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, has been out for almost 20 years. We wanted to re-engage with male millennial consumers and develop something innovative and tech-driven, aligned with our current marketing campaign. We wanted to develop something that we could bring to events we’re sponsoring throughout the country. We wanted something that would really pull in consumers and encourage them to engage with and sample our brand. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We developed a VR [virtual reality] game that people can play at events across the country. It’s driven via headsets and goggles. 

What is the team composition? 

We had an entire team dedicated to just our project. Over the course of the development process, which lasted a couple of months, there was a team of 6–10 people. 

How did you come to work with NEXT/NOW?

We heard about them through word of mouth. They’re doing a great job for a number of companies in Chicago. I had an old co-worker who had worked with them before and gave them a great reference. We went over to their studio and they presented their work to us. After meeting everyone, we found them to be really friendly and thought they had their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in technology. It was a great fit.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July of this year until September.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We haven’t launched the program nationally yet — it’s for summer 2018. We’re socializing the program and the game right now throughout our beer distributor network and our sales teams, along with our marketing team across the country. We’re still getting feedback from everyone, but so far, it’s been great and we feel it aligns very well and meets our goal of supporting our marketing campaign. 

How did NEXT/NOW perform from a project management standpoint?

They were excellent with their communication processes, reliability, follow-up, and punctuality. There was never a time where I was concerned about meeting our deadlines or deviating from the timelines we established. Everything ran very smoothly and was incredibly stress-free. They used Dropbox and we had a shared folder with them.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They have a number of key strengths; everything from their initial sales process to working with the developers to figure out exactly what we needed. A lot of times companies know they want to get into technology and have ideas, but don’t exactly know exactly what we need to pull in and engage our consumers. 

However, from the very beginning, they had excellent creative and account management perspectives. They really were proficient and guided us towards the development of the right things. All the way through, they were very involved, hands-on, helpful, and patient. A lot of brand people aren’t technology people but it was great to have them. They feel comfortable. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

Everything went very smoothly for us. It was better than I expected. I don’t have any areas for them to improve.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

I would go in and know the consumer that you want to engage with. Understand what your objectives are when creating some type of technology. Lay that out and then be ready to listen and learn. Don’t begin the process thinking that you’re the technology expert. Go into it knowing that you’re working with them because they’re the experts. 

5.0
Overall Score We will work with them again.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We stuck to our timelines and they did a great job of managing that.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Everything seemed fair. It wasn’t the deal of the century, but we were happy with where we were.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Very likely. I already have to at least two others.

Augmented Reality Dev for Motor Sports Entertainment Company

"The work that NEXT/NOW has done for us shows just how potent and valuable they are..."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2011- Ongoing
Project summary: 

NEXT/NOW creates public AR/VR experiences for third-party clients. They also build out data capture and smaller user-engagement projects.

The Reviewer
 
200-500 Employees
 
Orange County, California
Jonathan Applegate
Account Manager, CSM
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The way in which they collaborate and strive to fulfil project goals informs their top-drawer, large-scale deliverables. The two-way, constructive relationships they build engender respect from both customers and third-party clients.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

CSM is a sports and entertainment communications agency. I’ve been the account director on a motorsports account for the last five years.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with NEXT/NOW?

We needed help with augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) experience development.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

For this particular motorsports account, NEXT/NOW built an AR pit stop experience. Users could go to a consumer display, complete with a 9’ x 15’ LED screen, at races and immerse themselves as an acting member of a pit stop crew helping to change tires. The experience was captured on video and shareable on social media. We were the only sponsor, the only original equipment manufacturer with technology like this. It was a very popular, innovative program.

Subsequently, they’ve worked on other projects ranging from top-level AR platforms to smaller projects, data capture components, and consumer engagement in general.

What is the team composition?

I’ve worked with an account manager, the director of business development, and the founder. They facilitated all the project requests and anything that was needed from a client perspective back to the 2–3 developers working on the project.

How did you come to work with NEXT/NOW?

We met and worked on a previous display several years back. They were a new company and we really trusted them, given their knowledge and expertise in the AR/VR space. They were energetic and hungry for the business. We gave them a shot and they proved themselves through and through that they could get the job done.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in 2011 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The work that NEXT/NOW has done for us have shown just how potent and valuable they are among all the different competitors and agencies we’ve used. A lot of people at CSM and with our big-brand clients respect them enough that their name comes to the top when new business or new concepts and new ideas are being discussed to work through and to try to call on a vendor to build. Their work speaks for itself.

How did NEXT/NOW perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re not a huge company, but they operate as they are. They’ve never miss a deadline or cause delays in project launches, and they make sure any requests—even last minute—are tackled before launch. They listen well and understand client objectives, try to get a feel for what the the project mission, and then bring their creative aspects and solutions into it. Along the way, there are always snags and new requests, new challenges, and new builds. They roll with the punches.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re really good from a technology and quality of work perspective. Their quality of work and what they say they’re going to build and say they’re going to accomplish always surpasses expectations. They don’t just take an order and fulfill it.

They’re also really good with relationships. They want to be part of the process from the very beginning. They’re very good at understanding what the client wants and listens and hear what the need is. They meet that objective before they just give you a prebaked idea. It’s refreshing to work with people that you can have a relationship and you can trust like that.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. As long as they continue doing what they’re doing, they’re in good shape.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Include them from the very beginning. Sometimes, when you’re working with an agency that has been managing clients, it’s very easy to play back and forth and get the request from the client and then just reach out to NEXT/NOW and see what they can provide. They’re very collaborative and they listen. They understand where their boundaries are in trying to put something in front of the client that might not necessarily make sense. From the very beginning to execution, keeping them in the loop is the best approach.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their costs are competitive.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Dev and Motion Graphics for Consumer Goods Company

"They stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and think outside the box to provide fresh ideas."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2014
Project summary: 

NEXT/NOW created a photo booth incorporating green screen technology for a company’s 100th anniversary. The solution also included a website and large-scale LED screen to host and display an art competition.

The Reviewer
 
1000 - 2000 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Digital Manager, Consumer Goods Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their creative use of the latest technologies generated excellent PR buzz. They produce unique solutions, often under budget. A dedicated project manager set clear deadlines and ensured the project stayed on schedule.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the Digital Manager of a major consumer goods company in Chicago. I handle all digital marketing and associated projects. We have 3,000 employees.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with NEXT/NOW?

We were approaching the 100th anniversary of our company and wanted to create an attention-grabbing tradeshow booth to draw people toward our representatives.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We developed an interactive photo booth that used green screen technology to transform the subject into our mascot. We also held an art contest in which users redesigned our iconic logo. NEXT/NOW built a website to host the competition, as well as a large-scale, flexible LED screen to display the finalists.

What is the team composition?

I communicated directly with their creative lead and project managers on a day-to-day basis. I also met a couple of the backend developers assigned to our project.

How did you come to work with NEXT/NOW?

It all seemed very serendipitous. We had launched a large marketing campaign centered around our upcoming anniversary. Their business development team reached out to us via LinkedIn, and we set up a meeting since we were interested in adding creative elements for the upcoming tradeshow. We decided they would make a great fit.

How much have you invested with them?

Between $100,000–$125,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together during the first three quarters of 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The photo booth and art competition were both received very well. Our customers seemed to respond positively, and our internal team was pleased with the PR buzz generated by these projects.

How did NEXT/NOW perform from a project management standpoint?

They have excellent client service. Our dedicated project lead was always available and effectively managed our team. They were organized, set clear deadlines, and delivered on time. Few, if any, issues arose, and they sometimes completed goals under budget.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re able to use technology creatively, finding unique ways to incorporate digital tools into interactive, real-life presentations. They stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and think outside the box to provide fresh ideas. When working with NEXT/NOW, don’t expect standard solutions.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We were pleased with their results, so I have no criticisms.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Aside from a few minor slips, project deadlines were met on time.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They worked within our budget to provide ideas that worked for us.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’d absolutely recommend them.

Multiple Devs for Cars.com

"NEXT/NOW is ahead of the curve when it comes to the solutions they offer for clients."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2013 - 2014
Project summary: 

NEXT/NOW developed gesture-technology and VR games to elevate marketing efforts at tradeshows and outreach events, allocating both remote and on-site resources for efficiency. 

The Reviewer
 
1,001-5,000 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Director of Creative Services, Cars.com
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Through NEXT/NOW’s technical skills and engagement-driving vision, both games showcased innovation and attracted a greater audience. The team’s seamless management and quick turnaround time ensured a productive collaboration. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I was the director of creative services and events for Cars.com.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with NEXT/NOW?

We wanted to introduce new experiential technologies to our events and marketing programs. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

NEXT/NOW was brought in to work on a gesture-technology project. People would use their bodies to operate a game during an event. We used it for creating engagement with people and making them excited to be there to see and do something different. The technologies used were related to gesture-based response. Users’ heads, hands, and feet would control the game through any gesture.

On another project for a big tradeshow, NEXT/NOW created an Oculus Rift game during the height of that trend. They brought technology into our booth, which helped us showcase our innovation and create a fun experience for attendees. We incorporated our business messages within that experience.

I’m not sure what the backend assignment was, so I couldn’t say how many developers worked on our projects.

How did you come to work with NEXT/NOW?

I attended a networking event along with Randy Gress, NEXT/NOW’s director of business development. We started talking, and I was invited to their showroom for a technology demo. We were in the process of uncovering new experiential techniques for showcasing innovation and driving engagement at our events, so there was a need. We asked NEXT/NOW to submit a proposal, and we took it from there.

How much have you invested with NEXT/NOW?

Our gesture-based game had a cost of between $15,000 and $20,000. The Oculus Rift one was between $50,000 and $60,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Both of our projects were developed between 2013 and 2014. All of the work is complete. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?

From a qualitative standpoint, NEXT/NOW achieved the goals we were trying to communicate—namely, driving engagement and showcasing innovation. Both of our games were well-received, peaked a lot of interest, and increased the time spent at our booths. We were happy with the process of working with NEXT/NOW, from the concept stage all the way to delivery.

One of the things provided by NEXT/NOW was on-site support staff. Since they were the experts in the technology we were utilizing, NEXT/NOW’s team was able to speak more to some of the technical and/or operational questions. It was a nice value-add to have.

How did NEXT/NOW perform from a project management standpoint?

I don’t know what NEXT/NOW’s backend systems were, but the project management process was seamless, and everything was done with good communication, proper timelines, and no doubt regarding the delivery of the project. We had plenty of time to test and make sure that the software was working properly within the environment, so I would say that NEXT/NOW did a great job in terms of project management.

What did you find most impressive about NEXT/NOW?

Their view on technology and its utilization for creating unique, one-of-a-kind experiences is something I haven’t seen with similar vendors. NEXT/NOW is ahead of the curve when it comes to the solutions they offer for clients, helping them stand out from the sea of the same. We had access to some smart, capable people in our team for executing that flawlessly.

Are there any areas NEXT/NOW could improve?

I was very pleased with everything, from start to finish. NEXT/NOW’s members are fun people to work with, and it was a positive experience.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We gave NEXT/NOW some very aggressive timelines, and they were able to meet all demands with no concern or delay.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I don’t have a lot of basis for comparison, but I believe we paid a fair price for what we got.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    NEXT/NOW was able to offer solutions for our needs, and they exceeded our expectations. I was extremely pleased.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have referred them.