On the 11th May, a select group of 300 players embarked on an ambitious and immersive twelve-hour experience that took them all across London. “Midnight Madness” is one of the most ambitious and immersive challenges ever created. The all-night experience, with the city of London as the stage, is part scavenger hunt and part immersive theatre.

The Goldman Sachs-sponsored event featured 27 teams from top global companies. The teams were taken on an immersive journey through numerous locations across the city, from shadowy government agencies to underground sects, all the while working to solve a series of complex puzzles that would unravel a secret of galactic proportions. The event has already raised over £350,000 for charity Raise Your Hands, which supports exceptional organizations that work to improve the lives of young people.

“We wanted to do something spectacular to support Midnight Madness. When we first saw BLOCKv capabilities, we knew it would help transform Piccadilly Lights into an interactive digital space people can truly engage with,” says Derek Manns, Digital Advertising Manager at Landsec. “This pilot represents a major step towards a new form of innovative and immersive customer engagement.”

BLOCKv, Landsec and Ocean Outdoor worked with Midnight Madness to build an unprecedented experience for participants. Using BLOCKv’s unique dynamic digital objects, Vatoms, they were able to bridge the digital and physical world around Piccadilly Circus to offer an incredible, interactive center-piece for the event.

That evening, the participating teams were orchestrated to converge at the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus, home to one of the most famous billboards in the world, Piccadilly Lights. As the game participants and Saturday night crowds waited and wondered as to what was about to happen, a gasp shot across the crowd…  

At exactly 1:59 am, the screen pixelated and distorted (all by design of course!) and three giant spiders appeared on the huge billboard, each a critical key needed to unlock the Midnight Madness mystery.

The spiders were unique blockchain-linked Vatoms ( Ethereum ERC-721 NFTs), which could be pulled off the billboard and onto the participants’ phones. Once acquired, each spider on the giant digital display was replaced with the respective team’s name. It didn’t take long for the game participants to catch on – within five minutes, the majority of the teams had worked out how to capture the spider from the billboard screen and were busy working the next clue…

Demonstrating the myriad of functionalities of the Vatom, BLOCKv technology was also used to create a flutter of artificially-intelligent butterflies released around Piccadilly Circus. The butterflies were viewed and captured in augmented reality (AR), providing participants with the second piece of the Midnight Madness puzzle. And to capture the final piece of the puzzle, participants scanned the mask of a clown worn by an actor on the street, using BLOCKv image recognition technology. Once all three interactive digital objects were acquired, they were combined to decrypt the next location clue in the Midnight Madness journey.

“We were excited when we first heard that it would be possible to achieve interaction with Piccadilly Lights as part of Midnight Madness,” says Charlie Astor, director of Sharky and George and organizer of Midnight Madness, “but what Landsec, Ocean Outdoor, and BLOCKv actually delivered with this experience was absolutely incredible. The feedback we’ve had from participants has been that the Piccadilly Lights takeover was not only the high point of the experience but also, unlike anything they’d ever seen before.”

The electrifying atmosphere in Piccadilly Circus last Saturday night was a testament to how digital objects can capture an audience. “We are really grateful to have the opportunity to work together with LandSec and Ocean Outdoor to bring a really engaging user experience to the Midnight Madness journey”, says Jon Knight, VP of Partnerships at BLOCKv. “It was intoxicating to see the participants’ reactions when they saw the billboard being “hacked” and to see how quickly they started interacting with it”.

The event at Piccadilly Lights demonstrated how BLOCKv’s advanced blockchain NFTs can capture an audience. “It was really exciting to be a part of such an amazing experience and to see the digital billboards communicating in a much more direct and interactive way”, says John Kilfeather, director of operations at Ocean Outdoor. As we move towards the widespread adoption of Blockchain, using cryptographic tokens to create a new experiential layer of engagement generates exciting opportunities. In the early hours of the morning, BLOCKv technology demonstrated this exciting possibility, with one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks as it’s backdrop.

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