Google NEXT 2018

Google NEXT 2018

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Create a keynote experience as disruptive to the traditional conference as Google Cloud’s technology is to the tech world.

Allergic to the tired tech tropes of massive LED screens and a sea of repeater screens across the audience, we were challenged to design something that only made sense for Google.


According to a 2015 Accenture study, 87 percent of conference attendees are on second and third (76% laptop; 84% smartphone) devices during keynote presentations in rooms larger than 2000 attendees. Which all goes to say – today’s conference attendees don’t view keynote content in the same way. They no longer passively absorb what’s being distributed via a singular keynote screen. Instead, they’re constantly looking back and forth between the keynote stage/screen and their handheld devices. They’re watching the keynote, taking pictures of the content, tweeting their POV and reading other people’s reactions – all while the keynote is happening. With this trend, we knew that we had to break the keynote screen apart to create a more dynamic on-stage experience.


Deconstruct the keynote stage by creating containers of content that were as innovative as, and inspired by, the product announcements happening on stage.

We took a key cloud computing metaphor – containerization – that was integral to GCP’s 2018 offering, and brought it to life.


To replace the main stage single screen, we created four 360-degree rotating containers, each with their own quirky personality, to house and display keynote content.

We physically brought to life the cloud computing metaphor of containers. The metaphor extended not just across all the presentations, but helped to contextualize the developer’s work as well.

Instead of the traditional 16:9 screen, we created four cube-shaped containers that each had their own identity and graphic treatment. Each container could be rotated 360 degrees — on one side of the container a single letter spelling out N-E-X-T was carved in wood:

  • N held a network container that hosted a Google Cloud server
  • E was an entertainment cube where live artists were able to create music in real time
  • X was a blank slate that revealed delight moments over the course of the three days
  • T was the technology container which held a full demo suite to show Google’s latest announcements

Two of the sides contained screens with uniquely synced custom content created by Jack, and the 4th face revealed that each cube was open.

To bring our overall idea of disruption to life and differentiate from the average keynote, we:

  • Deployed surprise and delight moments.
  • Had twin DJs play across the country from each other (in San Francisco + New York) and trick the audience into thinking they were one and the same.
  • Produced a mirror image of our stage backdrop and created a stable video connection for the DJs to talk to each other, unveiling the charade to the unwitting audience on a condensed timeline.
  • Worked with our client to develop executive presentations that avoided heavy text treatment and leaned towards bold visuals and minimal text.


  • Bigger: The keynote succeeded in doing more for Google YOY. Overall YOY increases over ‘17: increased number of product announcements 5%, customer speakers by 45%, breakouts by 115% and overall attendance by 130%.
  • Better: As a testament to our success in rethinking the traditional conference, our main creative client contact, Philip McDougall (Creative Director, Google Cloud), shared some thoughts below.
  • Lasting impact: On the first day of the keynote, Google’s stock trading volume increased by 300% over average volume — indicating that folks were clearly watching the keynote stage for insight into how the company was performing at the time. From Monday’s stock market opening to Thursday’s close (last day of the conference), the stock increased consistently up to 7.5%. Buoyed by a strong earnings report earlier in the week, Google’s value continued to increase over each day of the conference with its highest point being at the event’s close.