Google’s energy harvesting walkway lights up Berlin
Berlin’s Festival of Lights attracts scores of visitors annually each and every October, with the city’s iconic sights including Berlin Cathedral and Brandenburg Gate spectacularly lit up in an array of colours.
2017’s event offered something a little bit different though.
Something interactive. Something highly memorable. Something with an important message.
Something from Google.
The technology powerhouse used an experiential stunt to showcase its bright ideas and innovation in vivid fashion, and get people thinking about climate change and sustainable energy.
Working in close collaboration with UK-based energy and data harvesting specialists Pavegen – whose tiled dance floor technology was central to British Gas’ Generation Green activations – Google unveiled a spectacular, interactive energy-harvesting walkway.
And of course, Google, a company that doesn’t do anything by halves, ensured that it was the largest of its kind. The vast 26-square-meter installation came equipped with a smart floor and over 175 coloured light panels. When stepped on by visitors walking on the floor, the individual footsteps triggered synchronised lighting displays, with the walkway’s walls responding positively as more and more energy is generated.
Cleverly, the electromagnetic technology in the walkway converted kinetic energy from participants’ footsteps into off-grid electricity. According to the head of Pavegen Live, Archie Wilkinson, each step produced around 3 joules of energy, with over 100,000 joules of energy generated in the first 72 hours.
Talk about measuring footfall!
Making the brand experience truly memorable, and encouraging scores of visitors to take part and share the moment, the Walkway was fitted with low power Bluetooth beacons recording the experience. Visitor experiences were captured by a photo pod and shared with users as GIFs to publish across their social media channels.
At the heart of the activation was an important, and very timely, message: that climate change is a very big issue (even if some of our world leaders believe otherwise) and one that all of us must try and take steps to combat. Pavegen and Google’s energy harvesting walkway brought smiles to the faces of visitors in Berlin, but it also highlighted the importance of moving away from fossil fuels and embracing more sustainable, renewable forms of energy.
As the world’s resources continue to be put under significant pressure, it makes a lot of sense to harness human-created energy to provide power. Google’s partnership with Google made inventive use of experiential tactics to ‘shine a light’ on a global issue that shows no signs of slowing down.
Google, of course, is no stranger to experiential stunts: from its experiential donut pop-up tour to its mind-boggling Stranger Things vending machine, Google undoubtedly knows how to attract attention through memorable brand experiences.
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.