CES Las Vegas: Inside the Pinterest Experience

As creatives, we are constantly on Pinterest to draw inspiration and stay up-to-date on current trends. When the team at Pinterest asked us to help launch their brand new and incredible tool, we were beyond stoked.

The Ask

We joined forces with Pinterest to create an experience that showcased their new Trends tool, which launched in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 7, 2020. Pinterest Trends is designed for marketers to compare how different search terms trend against each other over time, as well as provide a glimpse into how search terms perform on Pinterest throughout the year. While the site is beautiful in its own right, Pinterest wanted to kick it up a notch for the launch of this new product at CES. Thinkingbox was asked to bring Pinterest Trends to life with an impactful installation using slick motion graphics, an engaging, interactive system and carefully curated physical objects to represent the most prominent categories to Pinterest users.

The Work

After the ideation and concept development of the Trends wall design, the creative team began putting together video content that was presented alongside the animation of the trend graphs. These graphs represented hand-selected trend lines in each of the following categories: Food, Style, Home, Travel, Beauty and Health and Wellness. All content was developed using Pinterest’s branding and assets, including the iconic “Pin” image format. The videos, created by Thinkingbox, were presented on a 60” flat-screen in the centre of the Trends wall.

The design and production teams worked together to source visually appealing and easily recognizable objects that aligned with the colour palette of the overall Pinterest activation. These objects were showcased within six physical “Pin” lightboxes that were fixed to the wall around the flat-screen, which helped tell the story of the trends being highlighted in the video content. When selecting objects, the weight, dimensions and material had to be carefully considered, as the objects were to be fixed to the wall onsite. The lightboxes were fitted with LED lighting that would be initiated when the user engaged with the system through an iPad interface. Since the selection of the objects was so critical to the execution and because the LED lighting component needed to be tested, the team also built in-house prototypes of the lightboxes.

While the creative team was busy designing the overall user experience, the video content and the control centre interface, our technology team focused on creating the back-end of the system to ensure all the components linked up together.

The media server was built using a PC running TouchDesigner. By including a Nvidia graphics card and utilizing the HAPQ video codec we were able to load several 4K assets simultaneously and animate them with zero latency. This allowed us to precompose various high-resolution motion graphics and combine them dynamically in response to interaction with the system.

Animating the various elements in After Effects, each composition was strategically cut up into subsections to allow each piece to be moved in and out of the screen-space without disrupting the visual balance of the composition. The content and design teams worked hard to create a dynamic yet fluid feel. Keyframes and animation curves were exported from AE and brought into TouchDesigner so that the dynamic animations would match the precomposed motion perfectly.

The iPad was used to control the media server and trigger the system to highlight certain physical objects displayed in light boxes around the installation. The interface was built in React and communicated to the media server via websockets using a local web-server. The lightboxes were controlled via an Arduino and 12v Relay module. The system responded to the iPad’s signals over websockets and supplied power to the corresponding light box.

The Result

More than 150 people, amongst the top brand leaders in the world, visited the Pinterest CES space and had a chance to experience the Trends wall. The general response to the wall, within the Pinterest network and from other brands, was one of enthusiasm and excitement. The Pinterest team was very pleased with the execution and concept that they requested Thinkingbox to develop a portable version of the system. We did just that and implemented it at another event the following week in New York. We look forward to working more with Pinterest on unique projects.

Thinkingbox is a global creative collective shaping the future of brands through craft and curiosity.