Movies and popcorn are indisputable bedfellows and that hasn’t changed in generations. Watching a flick simply isn’t complete without the fluffy snackable. While popcorn munching has remained largely the same over the years, the way we watch movies has evolved dramatically. Rather than get together with family and friends to pop a movie in the DVD player, it’s more likely that individuals watch their own movie choice on their own device in their own room. So much for a social pastime.
Popcorn brand Pop Secret wants to change the isolated nature of movie viewing with its Pop Over movie viewing party app. Created by agency Deutsch LA, the proposed app encourages people to invite friends over for a movie and some popcorn. Integrating Netflix and Facebook, users can invite their friends, collectively choose a movie to watch, and designate snack responsibilities. It’s the first in a series of digital products the agency is creating for the client.
The process by which the app was created is also notable: Deutsch recently competed against Silicon Beach tech companies in a Movie Hackathon hosted by Zefr and focused on developing movie apps, as part of the 2012 Film Independent Forum. The agency entered two teams into the competition, one consisting of senior talent, the other what they dubbed the “junior varsity” team. Deutsch’s junior team won the competition with Pop Over.
The project is in keeping with the agency’s move to more nimble approaches to solving client problems and developing its own tech solutions. Having recently launched its product development arm Inventionist, the agency is looking to reinvent how it works.
“We are big believers in agile creativity and technology. We can’t predict what is going to stick and be big in digital so we have to place small bets and be ready to pivot quickly,” says executive creative technology director Trevor O’Brien. “It’s something we’ve been talking about a lot, how we can really embrace agile in our culture and how to bring it successfully into the work we do.” He says Pop Secret, which is looking for digital innovation from the agency, was fully supportive of hacking its way to new ideas.
While the junior digital team bested the agency’s senior talent, something that O’Brien says he put his money on, the output of both teams’ competitive effort will benefit the agency. Both ideas—including a Movie Mediator app, in which the action-versus-romcom conflict can play out on the device rather than face-to-face, which can get a little awkward—will become part of the client’s marketing plan and both teams will present the work from the hackathon to the entire agency, sharing what was learned, how they worked together, and the feedback from the client.
“We are trying to build a makers’ culture here, one that promotes experimentation and failure, both for ourselves and on behalf of our clients,” says O’Brien. “This demonstrates what people can actually accomplish when you free them to think about a singular problem and give them freedom to go and create. It’s all part of pushing ourselves to try new things and create an environment where people feel challenged to do great work.”