Friday, June 22, 2018
  • Friday, Aug. 18, 2017
On stage (l-r) are Ryan Templeton, Kerstin Emhoff and Jen Dennis
POV (Perspective)
Finding What’s Next

Jen Dennis, head of RSA VR, served as a Virtual Reality judge at this year’s AICP Next Awards. During the AICP Show Road Tour stop in Los Angeles last month, she shared some insights during a panel discussion, including providing context on VR.

Dennis observed that VR is “not about product placement,” but rather “placing consumers in your product.” Denis—who co-produced The Martian VR experience, the lauded companion piece to the Ridley Scott-directed feature The Martian—is waiting for brands to catch up to studios and networks when it comes to more consistently deploying VR.

Joining Dennis at the AICP Show Road Tour were fellow panelists Ryan Templeton, head of content at Not Impossible Labs, and Kerstin Emhoff, co-founder and president of PRETTYBIRD. Emhoff was president of Next’s Experiential-Live Events/Broadcast jury.

Asked by panel moderator Matt Miller, president and CEO of the AICP, what would have received her vote for Most Next—Best in Show—Templeton cited Boost Mobile’s “Boost Your Voice” from 180LA. With a shortage of polling places in inner cities, often necessitating that lower income and minority voters wait long hours to cast their ballots, Boost Mobile got involved to help address the problem. Boost Mobile stores are located in many of these communities; so this past election year, Boost launched a nationwide initiative for equal voting access, offering its stores across the country as polling places.

Templeton praised the authenticity of the initiative with Boost Mobile providing access to their stores as “an activation for good.” (The Most Next Award was actually bestowed upon Lockheed Martin’s “Field Trip To Mars” produced by Framestore for McCann New York.)

Emhoff noted that case studies often don’t do full justice to the good accomplished by Next honorees. She cited as examples “Boost Your Voice” as well as skincare brand SK-II’s “Marriage Market Takeover” from Forsman & Bodenfors, Stockholm, which put a spotlight on Chinese women being unfairly labeled as “Sheng Nu”—translated to “leftover women” used to stigmatize unmarried women over 25. In the centerpiece short film, women who feel alienated and ostracized—often by their own parents because they “dare” to live independently, to wait for true love or simply choose to live alone—decide to declare their independence at the marriage market in Shanghai’s People’s Park. The marriage market is designed for women to find men whose “qualifications” are listed for matrimony. For some, it’s as if parents are selling their daughters who seek out the most desirable men based on materialistic standards. The group of women in this film instead use the market as a place to articulate their right to choose the lives they want to lead.

Emhoff affirmed that the overwhelmingly positive impact of “Marriage Market Takeover” on Chinese women cannot be measured in a presentation or case study.

About the author

Robert Goldrich is an editor for