During the 2016 Rio Olympics Beats by Dre set up the Unity House spa as a retreat for athletes to relax between competitions. To promote the new Unity line of headphones Beats photographer James stayed at the house, taking pictures of athletes wearing the new phones over a white background.
We were commissioned to create a unique souvenir for each athlete, customising the picture’s background and sending it back to them in 20 minutes.
Besides taking care of the design and image treatment, we also developed a dedicated system for maximum process automation, increasing efficiency and reducing the likelihood of human error.
We started by designing three types of background: a rainforest-themed one, another inspired by Rio’s natural landscape and a third based on the national flags of more than 80 countries. Next, we developed a system for collecting the athletes’ information, sending the original picture to the treatment station and e-mailing back the final image. Before getting their pictures taken, the athletes filled their names and e-mail addresses into an iPad and chose their own backgrounds.
At the treatment station we had 10 Photoshop wizards cutting out the pictures and applying the chosen backgrounds, working at the same time as the photos were being taken in Rio. When image processing was done our system sent a personalised e-mail to the athlete, notifying that the picture was ready to be downloaded or shared on social media. We also set up a system-connected display at the entrance of the studio, showing who had already participated in the campaign and how their pictures turned out to be.
In just one week we developed a unique tool that automated most of the work. We generated more than 800 pictures, working between 10AM and 5PM simultaneously with the Unity House. Many of the athletes spontaneously posted their pictures on their social media profiles.