By Vanessa Obioha
At a time when cinema operators are grappling with harsh realities of a Covid-19 era, SwiftThink, an innovative idea development and management company, hosted a novelty drive-through pop-up experience with its eye-catchy mobile High Definition LED screen. The initiative was borne out of a need to give movie-goers a cinematic experience despite the closure of cinemas due to the implementation of social distancing rules to curb the spread of the strange coronavirus.
Organizers transformed the open-air grounds of Car Park B, Redemption Camp, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway into a drive-through pop-up cinema arena accessed only by cars. The experience was held from March 23 and lasted a few days that included over 17 different sessions of absorbing activities such as live games, karaoke sessions and movie screenings. The screenings were an eclectic mix of genres; from religious, local films to top Hollywood blockbusters.
At its peak, the pop-up experience recorded over 71 vehicles with occupants sitting comfortably in the safety of their cars from where they beheld the imposing LED screen. The cars were subjected to strict scrutiny at the entrance in compliance with safety guidelines for Covid-19 as dictated by the authorities. While some days featured one session, others had two sessions. On average, the morning session lasted two hours, while the evening viewing session stretched to a little more than four hours.
The CEO of SwiftThink Limited, Ayoola Jolayemi, disclosed that he was inspired by lockdown of activities by the authorities. “People stayed in their houses from morning till night because of the lockdown. So we thought of what to do to help people ease boredom while ensuring people observed strict adherence to social distancing guidelines.”
On whether it could compromise social distancing protocol, Jolayemi explained that: “We made it known to people from the start that the only way to gain entry into the park is to arrive in a car––no car, no entry. So, people came in their cars.”
Jolayemi also revealed that there are plans to consolidate on the experience. “It is something that we would explore after the lockdown, for profit or partnership purposes. We will be reaching out to companies, religious organizations and development agencies to engage the services of the truck for their events and advocacy activities across cities. For instance, one of the major telecommunication companies used the trucks for something similar four years ago when they did Campus Activations across some selected cities in Nigeria, so we are open to partnerships with established brands and SMEs that want to take advantage of this idea in taking their messages to target areas using the tool of outdoor cinematic entertainment.
SwiftThink, established in 2009, has played leading roles in the advertising, live events, experiential and project development/management space, being of service to a slew of government and private agencies. The agency has worked on the development of game-changing ideas, project management, SME growth and brand development, especially indigenous African ideas and companies.