Anki makes this rad little robot Cozmo, who’s packed with AI tech and a big personality. We wanted to introduce him to a new audience and give him instant credibility, so we made a 6 hour interactive game / event where folks on Reddit could play together as Cozmo... live.

It had the standard things you’d expect: 9 subreddits as miniature worlds / sets, a pair of professional e-sports hosts, a working trebuchet, dozens of puppies, smoke, bubbles, a Cozmo shaped cake, a miniature (treat loving) pig, a skintight blue spandex costume, a shark robot monster with a hot-dog arm, & a famous Sub-Pop band shrunken down to 1:24th scale & scoring the whole thing in real time. Classic.


For us to pull this off in 3 months it took a huge team, with the most talented producers, engineers, writers, carpenters, craftspeople, artists, designers, and musicians in the world.

Some highlights︎ 

Building the (miniature) world

Manifesting Reddit in a physical form was no small task. We partnered with Bent to design and construct these fabulously detailed Cozmo sized, 1:24 scale sets. Each set represented a corresponding sub-reddit, and was chock-full of bespoke props, moving parts, special effect lighting, amazing graphics, easter eggs and inside jokes.

As Cozmo progressed through the game, the sets had to be puppeteered to lower bridges, open doors, operate appliances, lift platforms, drive a crazy shark robot called the 'HI-5000', control a dozen screens in multiple sets and even fire Cozmo across the room from a trebuchet.

Engineering chaos

Our team worked closely with the Anki engineers to hack the SDK, giving us complete control over Cozmo. Two operators ‘piloted’ Cozmo—one in charge of driving and general movement, one in charge of his emotion (facial expressions, vocalizations, animations, etc.).

We rigged up a small army of 10 Cozmo’s, and could switch between units in an instant whenever Cozmo had trouble due to his finite battery life, difficulty navigating the sets, wireless signal dropping or simply falling where he couldn’t get up.

We also integrated with the folks at Reddit to completely take over the site for 24 hours and gain access to their users and backend infrastructure. Our game had a simple Reddit-inspired up-voting interface, letting players dictate the storyline by deciding what Cozmo would do next. Once a vote was complete, we had to rapidly communicate and execute in real-time on set. It was like the worlds longest, and most technically complex improvisational theater experiment.

A one of a kind production

It was important to capture every detail of this ‘hero’s journey’ beautifully and cinematically. Our production team used state-of-the-art cameras, technology and techniques to cover the action, be mobile enough to switch rooms / locations at Reddit’s whim, and to ultimately deliver broadcast quality video and audio.

Our tiny live band

The immersive live musical score and live foley played a central role in elevating this beyond a product demo. We composed 8 original songs with Helio Sound, each tied together with a common ‘Cozmo’s theme’ motif, and had our band perform the entire thing live.

Each song had to stretch in length to accommodate gameplay, and some were as short as 2 minutes while others went on for over an hour. 

Listen to the full sound track here.

Going live

We announced this mere hours before the game started by buying every single banner ad on Reddit and posting a game trailer that featured an insanely self referential rewrite of the ‘Land of the Lost’ theme. It was probably the first time “bamboozle” was ever sung over electro-banjo music.

The players on Reddit could have totally sabotaged the game, leaving Cozmo lost forever. But after 5 hours and 40 minutes he finally escaped. 2 million people watched across the internet as over 30,000 players banded together to help Cozmo escape the weirdest experience of his robotic life.

Simply put: this was the most successful live streaming, branded robotic entertainment, digital to physical, metaphorical, theatrical, marketing activation, interactive-social-gamification-experiment-internet-chaos-experiment-thingy ever conducted.

Got 6 hours to spare? Watch it all here.


Made for:

Anki at W+K Lodge

My role:

Concept development, Art direction, music supervision, foley supervision, animation supervision, design, Anki 'Hand of God' on screen talent (aka Vanna White hands).



Creatives: Dan Viens, Nick Morrissey, Grant ThomasJonathan Minori, Ryan Hartsfield
Engineering Director: Maxwell Folley
Strategy: Jonathan Henning
Production: Dennis Hanley, Lily Darby
And: Keith Hamilton, Claire Wilson, Jenna Simmons, Nate Hortsmann, Dave Gilvar, Jesica Marquez, Manxue Wang, James Steele, Laurie Holtz, Patrick Nistler, Eric Reigert


Set Production: Bent Image Lab
Live Event Production: Uncle Toad’s Media Group
Scoring / Live band: Helio Sound
Trailer Song Production: Crystal Creative
Foley Design: Joint Editorial
Pixel Art: Andy Gregg
3D and Animation: W+K Motion
Design Support: W+K Studio Portland
Sound Stage: Cine Rent West
Hosts: Rachel "Seltzer" Quirico, Alex Corea


Selected Press:

Ad Age
Fast Company


PS: Somehow, I was also cast as the Anki 'Hand of God'. The costume started as opera length gloves, and turned into a full body spandex suit, replete with logos. It was fun / highly exposing.


Some more work ︎
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