2017 Ex Award Finalists Unveiled : Google I/0

March 30, 2017


Event Marketer has announced this year’s Ex Awards finalists, the best experiential marketing campaigns in the world judged entirely by brand-side marketers. For more than a decade, the Ex Awards has shined a global spotlight on the power of brand experiences and the best use of face-to-face marketing, and we are thrilled to report that Google I/O has placed in two categories:


Recognizes the “environment” created for a b-to-b event or meeting. The staging, the technology used, the custom structure or exhibit, the overall experience. Entries focus on what was designed, why, what it was made of, how it fit together, and how the overall environment was unique and special.


New category! Awarded to the campaign that took the biggest risk and went all-in on an experiential marketing idea. Judges look at campaigns to understand the risks involved, the leaps of faith taken by both the agency and the client—and the reward that the big risk generated.

Already an award-winning program, Google I/O 2017, to the casual observer, might have looked more like Burning Man than a business event. And that was by design. In an effort to invigorate the eight-year-old conference and engage the developer community in a less traditional but more meaningful way, Sparks helped Google move I/O from the confines of the Moscone Center to the Shoreline Amphitheatre, a sprawling 10-acre outdoor campus. The move enabled our events team to use a variety of structures to create a vibrant festival environment, while using the design of each tent, dome and content area to reinforce the technologies being demoed inside.

One of Google’s goals was to “keep attendees looking up, around and out in wonder.” And keep them looking up, we did. Forty-foot custom façades covered breakout structures, geodesic domes acted as dynamic projection surfaces and 36-foot-tall stacked shipping containers served as way-finding elements and lighting rigs. An outdoor product showcase called The Sandbox featured 18 different product groups housed in unique tent structures while smaller pop-up content activations were strategically placed around breakout sessions. And for the first time in its history, I/O’s keynote was presented outside in an amphitheater, a move that ultimately boosted keynote attendance by 25 percent over the previous year. (To boot, this year’s conference was the largest I/O ever.)

The sensory experiences that festivals are known for were further brought to life through the use of natural plywoods, woven fabrics, unique shade structures and custom street murals. Colored smoke and bubbles, food and beer trucks, stilt walkers, impromptu dance parties and Burning Man art cars added that kick of quirkiness the client was looking for, and that modern attendees—even at, (or perhaps, especially at), b-to-b events—crave.

Sparks SVP of Events Robin Lickliter stated, "Last year's I/O was truly one of the most innovative event transformations we've ever been a part of. We are thrilled about being a finalist, especially in the new Leap of Faith category!"

The founders of Event Marketer will announce the winners live during the Ex Awards gala often referred to as the event industry’s own ‘Golden Globes,’ held during the Experiential Marketing Summit.

Check out other events and experiences designed and produced by Sparks.