TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan — The complexity and rarity of a Rube Goldberg machine makes it all the more interesting to watch from start to finish. This overcomplicated contraption which ultimately performs a simple task, has turned up in popular commercials, events, movies, and TV shows.
At the famous Bryant Park Winter Village in New York City, Bank of America and their partner RED®, wanted to display a unique activation showing that small actions can create a big reaction—bringing us one step closer to ending the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
In order to make this idea tangible, Bank of America worked with a well-known marketing agency, Octagon, in hopes to build a Rube Goldberg experience. Octagon reached out to Britten, a creative production company in Traverse City, Michigan, to help bring this concept to life in just one month. The president, Paul Britten, was more than willing to accept this challenge as his background is in architecture.
“It took a lot of study on Rube Goldberg and his thinking. We created storyboards of each and every element in the process. Then created three-dimensional models until we were confident that the scale of each component was going to work,” said Paul.
The first trigger of the domino effect was to swipe an oversized Bank of America credit card that caused the machine to activate and go through a series of 10 different steps, until it opened up a gift box at the end with a RED® gift inside. The Rube Goldberg was designed to look like old-fashioned toys, built out of plywood, and cut using a MultiCam CNC router.
The Rube Goldberg Experience was on display for four days in Bryant Park, and raised thousands of dollars for project RED®. The entire machine was delivered in-person, assembled, tested, and staffed by Britten’s creative team. “We’ve been in business since 1985, originating as a sign company, but today we are really architects of special projects. We help agencies and other creative people bring their creative ideas to life. We only had a month to pull off this project, from the very first phone call until opening day. The kids were thrilled, there is nothing more fun than seeing their smiling faces,” said Paul.
Britten is one of the few creative companies that has the resources and manpower to oversee every step of a project like this including the initial concept, site survey, design, production, and final installation.
Since 1985, Britten has not only fabricated amazing event activations, but offers a wide range of products and services such as large format print, building wraps, truss systems, mesh fencing, stage graphics, point-of-purchase displays, tents, SEG frames, three-dimensional foam sculptures, custom shipping containers, national installation, and more.