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Case Study: Exploring the Impact of Play Energy Drink's Griffin Stage at Hey Neighbour '23

Hey Neighbour
Project Overview

Blacksmith Collective took on an ambitious project for the Hey Neighbour Festival: the creation and execution of "The Play-ce," an innovative, immersive stage experience sponsored by Play Energy Drink. Our challenge was to ideate, conceptualise, and creatively direct this multifaceted space, ensuring it was not only an entertainment hub but also a dynamic brand activation for Play Energy Drink. Our objective was clear: to create an unforgettable immersive experience that resonates with attendees and amplifies the brand's presence.

Brand Activation

Sponsored by Play Energy Drink, "The Play-ce" was envisioned as a groundbreaking, immersive stage experience at the heart of the Hey Neighbour Festival. From the onset, our team was tasked with ideating and executing a space that transcended traditional entertainment, weaving the Play brand narrative into every aspect of the design and engagement strategy. This project highlighted our commitment to crafting innovative brand activations that captivate and engage audiences on multiple levels.

The Challenge

Hey Neighbour Festival, an event aimed at creating a cultural phenomenon in Africa, presented us with a unique opportunity. The festival's vision—to transform strangers into neighbours through an African-driven music experience—needed a space that embodied the energy and connectivity of the brand, all while catering to an impressive turnout of over 62,000 attendees across a weekend.

Creative Process

The journey began with a concept: The Griffin Stage. This mythical creature symbolises strength, courage, and leadership—qualities that resonate with the Play brand. Our goal was to create a space that wasn't just a stage but a landmark within the festival.


We envisioned a dome-shaped structure representing the Griffin's head, with attendees entering through its mouth.

Hey Neighbour

This immersive approach meant that festival-goers would be stepping into the mythos of the Griffin, enveloped by the brand's narrative.


Utilising state-of-the-art 3D renders, we brought this vision to life before the build. Screened sheets textured with Griffin features and side sheeting mimicking wings not only created an arresting visual but also provided practical shade for the attendees.

Brand Activation

The Play-ce was a living stage. We programmed a series of 3D assets to display throughout the day, marking the transition from day to night and signaling the start of Play Hour—a celebratory moment where attendees enjoyed free samples of Play Energy Drink.


Beyond the stage, The Play-ce boasted graffiti walls for personal expression, that also doubled up as the perfect backdrop for festival outfit snaps, and over 100 bean bags for relaxation, making it a hub for both excitement and leisure.


The construction of The Play-ce was a testament to innovation and precision. Every element, from the wings to the texture of the screens, was meticulously planned and executed to create a cohesive and striking environment.

Photographic & Video Documentation

Our team documented the stage through photography and video, capturing the essence of the experience. We produced instant content, enabling real-time engagement with the audience and ensuring that the energy of The Play-ce was shared beyond the festival grounds.


These live-edit content pieces not only served as a memento for attendees but also as a promotional tool for future events, encapsulating the true colour and spirit of The Play-ce, and Play Energy Drink.


The Play-ce was more than just a stage; it became the heart of the festival. Our engagement strategies, coupled with the interactive and visual appeal of the space, resulted in significant brand exposure for Play Energy Drink. The Play-ce was not only the 'place' to be at the festival but also a prime spot for social media shares and visitor interaction.


At Blacksmith Creative Collective, we pride ourselves on turning creative visions into tangible experiences. The Griffin Stage at the Hey Neighbour Festival was a manifestation of this ethos—a space where music, brand, and community converged to create an unparalleled festival experience. We look forward to forging new paths and crafting further narratives in the realm of experiential marketing and creative direction.



Blacksmith Collective, a decentralised global production house made up of the world's top creators across over 500 creatives. Through our various branches - Blacksmith Creative, Blacksmith Culture, and Blacksmith Gallery - we offer end-to-end content creation, distribution, insights and creative services to iconic brands worldwide.

Blacksmith Creative Collective provides full content production services to clients. Blacksmith Culture Collective is our insights-driven platform that aims to elevate creativity and create impactful opportunities for brands and creatives through publishing and distribution of editorial and creative content. Blacksmith Gallery is an exclusive members-only creative marketplace.

Our collective has the capabilities and reach to help brands develop captivating stories and experiences wherever they seek to make an impression. Get in touch to see how we can bring your vision to life.


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