Moment Factory's Jamie Reilly On The Shifting Realities Of Place

Jamie Reilly, general manager of Moment Factory Events & USA, used to literally manage clowns. 

Before joining Moment Factory, she worked for Cirque du Soleil, touring the world and living out of suitcases. After running away with the circus, it might seem difficult to top that in her next career, but she sees her move to Moment Factory as a natural evolution. 

Jamie Reilly
(Jamie Reilly)

Reilly believes that the future of live entertainment resides in technology and the capabilities and opportunities offered by multimedia thrilled her. 
However, she says, “We don't consider ourselves a multimedia or a technology company, we consider ourselves first and foremost an entertainment studio. Yes, we use technology and we innovate and we push boundaries and so forth but the idea is really to use technology to create collective moments and a sense of wonder.

When Moment Factory began just over 20 years ago, the founders of the company were doing projection mapping before there was a term for it. They were doing DJ-ing with VHS tapes! Now the company has everything from architects to scenic designers, lighting designers,  music composers, sound mixers, and artists of interactive technologies.

Based in Montreal, 95% of Moment Factory’s projects are delivered outside of Canada. The latest event was actually delivered in Las Vegas on the exterior of Sphere, but create installations in airports, museums, and districts in addition to live events and experience all over the world.

Reilly says, “We think of our projects as gathering around the campfire, which humans have done since ancient times. Today we know technology has segregated us, we're on our phones and computers were looking at screens and it's a very singular experience. We are trying to utilize these same technologies but break those invisible walls and reinvent the digital campfire.” 

Moment Factory strives to create holistic storytelling. Bringing brands and cities and governments to engage with audiences in unique ways. 
“It’s not thinking about the exact software or technology. Those are obviously important elements but it's about thinking about an environment and the scenic elements that we are creating. Making sure those elements support a very specific narrative.”

Reilly continues, “Often, people ask me what makes Moment Factory different from other multimedia companies, and for me it's about bringing those illusions and those complementary effects together.” As she says, we could all decide to start a circus tomorrow and hire a bunch of acrobats, but that wouldn’t make us Cirque du Soleil.” 

Moment Factory believes in creating ROE – Return on Emotion – in addition to ROI – Return on Investment. The goal is to make people emotionally engaged with a project and therefore a brand because it is a unique venue or a unique opportunity to showcase and communicate these messages. “There is a basic 101 marketing lesson that says people have to see something seven times for it to sink in. I live in New York City and I feel like that probably have to see something 14 times at least we're bombarded by so much information continuously.” To reach an audience,  Moment Factory’s experiences allow them to evolve from a passive participation to an active participation. 

The AT&T Discovery District in Dallas
The public was a great opportunity for us to innovate. The content evolves around the garden representing the core values of sustainability of AT&T, without saying AT&T is sustainable.

The inspiration was AT&T giving back to the community of downtown Dallas, which tends to be empty on the weekends and evenings, so we designed with the 10,000+ employees and the local community in mind.
“You’re conveying those key AT&T messages without being pure advertising."

Another example of incorporating the message without hitting the public over the head with it is a series of panels with the AT&T name hidden in the artwork. Many people will miss the hidden message, but once one is discovered it gives additional interest to artwork that a viewer may pass by multiple times.

Moment Factory

Since the pandemic, the District will often have a DJ or band on July 4th and other special occasions and the Discovery District will be full of people.  But obviously it is costly to load in load out lighting rigs or recreate an actual high quality high end show so we utilize what they call The Audio Visualizer. (Watch the video.)"Essentially, we created in a game engine a show rig of lights, smoke, and lasers on the screens which reacts in real time to whatever music you are playing. We built a CMS for the DJ to run it so they can add effects or run it in various modes." 

Another recent Moment Factories project that transforms a hotel lobby into an interactive experience is at The Grand Magic Hotel in Paris.  "A lot of people who stay there come to visit the theme parks as a family and so we reinvented the entire lobby to continue the experience. Watch the video here. 

Moynihan Hall train station in NYC is a case study in balancing ROE and ROI as a content strategy. (Watch the video.) There are 15 to 30 second loops of imagery inspired by both the city and NY state. The capsules try to reignite the romance of travel, but they play in between advertising moments. 

The day before delivering the keynote, Reilly launched the latest project for on the Exosphere, (the outside of Sphere Las Vegas.) It announced the relaunch of the Fortnite platform for Epic Games and the project took them five weeks. 24 hours after launch the project was getting astonishing shares on social media, had 3.9 million views on Twitter/X, and more than 500,000 likes on Instagram. This, Reilly says, is "A perfect example of Return on Emotion."