Google Go North

Sparks Marketing
Google Go North

The Background

Google Canada hosts its first ever Google GO NORTH program. After a successful first year, and after seeing the success of the festival-based Google I/O in the United States, the Canadian marketing team takes their program to the next level however, on a much smaller scale.

The Challenge

GO NORTH has two main goals: unite the Canadian technology community and tell the story of Canada's leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our challenge is creating an experience that positions Canada as a major tech hub and educates those who might not be familiar with Canada’s role in the AI story.

The Solution

While the AI story is mostly told through the speaker line-up, we work with Google to bring to life a combination of AI and Google-y moments throughout the space. Attendees have the opportunity to interact with an AI supported mocktail mixer, as well as an interactive drawing plotter using the Android platform. As for Google-y moments, the focal point of the networking area is an adult playground complete with handmade swings from Poland and a custom see-saw with a bubble dispenser.

Creative Approach

Evergreen Brick Works is a historical landmark in Toronto, Ontario. Originally a brick factory, the space is now a fully functioning community center with a restaurant, access to public trails and event space. The venue lends itself to creating a unique event experience with its raw, industrial interior marked with graffiti and original kilns.

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the space, our creative team takes the approach of working with the space, rather than against the space. We embrace the untraditional nooks and crannies - work around unconventional site lines, turn an outdoor flea market into indoor breakout sessions and host a roundtable with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, in one of the old kiln areas.

Rather than using traditional signage, we want every aspect of the event to fit into the space. Our creative lead designs custom neon signs for breakouts and event areas, as well as design scenic elements with raw, recyclable materials like chicken wire, plywood and steel.

We work with Google to bring to life AI demos and “Google-y” moments throughout the historical space. Additionally, we incorporate tactile “Instagrammable” moments for attendees to share on social such as:

  • Go North Welcome Moment: Large black scenic flat with “Go North” cut-out. Chalkboard markers encourage attendees to share their AI goals, experiences or thoughts. Moving the wall to key locations throughout the event allows us to maximize use.
  • String Wall: Several layers of mylar strips hanging from truss create a whimsical, photographable moment for attendees to walk through and share on social.
  • Adult Playground: An interactive space for attendees to network. Elements include an oversized teeter totter that blows bubbles, circular wood swings and “top chairs” that allow attendees to spin 360° without falling out. While it takes some encouragement for attendees to let loose, the playground is ultimately a huge hit.

The Result

With a fresh perspective on Go North, the AI developer conference takes over 60,000 square feet with 650 attendees, 39 speakers - most notably the Prime Minister of Canada and Google’s own Eric Schmidt.

  • Annual technology summit
  • 650 attendees; Evergreen Brick Works
  • Mainstage talks, expert panels, breakout sessions and networking cocktail party
  • AI demos, interactive activations including a drawing plotter, playground and string wall
  • VIP speakers: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Eric Schmidt and Navdeep Bains