Interview with Justin Lefkovitch, Founder & CEO of Mirrored Media, United States

Ali West | MUSE Creative Awards
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Justin Lefkovitch

Justin is the Founder and CEO of Mirrored Media, whose innovative ideas and concepts in experiential marketing has transformed brands, talents, and many industries alike.

Interview with the 2020 Vega Digital Awards Winner - Justin Lefkovitch

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.

Mirrored Media was founded by Justin Lefkovitch at the age of 23, but his passion for transformative experiential experiences began long before that. As a teenager, Lefkovitch was a renowned touring magician who performed shows all over the world. He noticed that the same techniques he used in magic could be applied to the world of experiential marketing, as so often the difference between a successful trick and a transparent one comes down to the tiniest detail. It’s that tiny detail that can transform an ordinary experience into something extraordinary.

While at Pepperdine University, Lefkovitch began to manage Ray Kennedy, an original member of The Beach Boys. He saw firsthand the inherent issues that were present when brands attempted to partner with talent, and crafted a business plan that proved to be a viable business model. This led to a chance meeting with Steve Kofsky and his business partner, renowned film composer Hans Zimmer. They both believed in the vision, took a broom out of a closet on their Santa Monica campus, and invited Justin in. Mirrored Media was born out of that very closet, and has blossomed into an agency producing over 100 campaigns and activations a year. Since then, we’ve expanded into the entire building - and our office still includes that closet.

2Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 Vega Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

We're all incredibly grateful and honored to be recognized by our peers in the industry. Our team puts so much work into all of our projects, but the Road to Coachella in particular has become such a significant part of our yearly efforts, and being honored for its success carries a little extra weight for us all. The campaign has grown in stature each year since 2017, and takes year-round planning and strategy in order to execute a successful and meaningful Road to Coachella. It's truly an honor to know that our hard work has paid off in the form of industry and professional recognition.

3Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 Vega Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The Road to Coachella began in 2017 when BMW was named the official mobility partner for Coachella. We needed to craft an authentic narrative for why a brand like BMW would be at Coachella and how the two relate to each other. The target audience consisted of millennial festival-goers around the world who are known to be notoriously fickle while shunning traditional and non-authentic advertising.

To craft this narrative, we seamlessly blended music, inspired design, technology, sustainable mobility, and the journey that fans, influencers, and artists take on their own road to Coachella. The campaign has blossomed into a yearly staple at the festival and it has been amazing to watch it grow from purely digital content in 2017, into what now consists of onsite activations, original content from over 50 influencers, and continued relationships with some of the biggest artists in the world. Global outlets like Forbes and Billboard have even used the campaign as a case study of how brands should effectively engage with festival audiences.

We chose to enter the Road to Coachella because it’s a perfect representation of a well-rounded experiential campaign, with a seamless mix of digital, onsite, and out-of-home elements, along with influencer partnerships, all working in concert to achieve a glowing result.

4What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge came with the fact that this campaign is a continuation of one that was born in 2017. Ultimately, we needed to find ways to keep the campaign fresh and new for the media, fans, and followers while staying true to the campaign pillars. With the success of the 2017 and 2018, we knew it would be difficult to outdo ourselves.

But with the 2019 campaign enlisting global superstar Khalid, we achieved our highest social reach to date of over 1 billion people and incorporated new on-site activations and engagement opportunities, including original digital content, a Palm Springs pop-up, a billboard, a Khalid meet & greet, and exclusive merch. All of these pieces helped the campaign evolve to give 2019 a one-of-a-kind distinction in the campaign series.

5How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Due to our experience in winning awards, particularly for past iterations of this campaign, we were able to structure this year’s in a way that follows the 'problem/solution' narrative that awards organizations look for. We were able to clearly define and develop each element of the campaign from beginning to end with those factors in mind. Each smaller facet ties into the larger overarching narrative. Based on past awards experience and wins, we have renewed confidence that our project goals were on the right track not only from an industry standpoint, but for our target audience as well.

Through the awards blueprint, we build our concepts with a complete narrative in mind, allowing key messaging and brand objectives to stand out.

6What are your top three (3) favorite things about the digital industry?

My favorite thing about the digital industry is that it allows us to reach a global audience with just a single piece of content. Digital engagement from our Road to Coachella campaign was what helped us transform a local sponsorship into an international legacy. So many people around the world want to come to Coachella, but obviously they're not all able to. Digital engagement gave BMW the chance to connect with a global audience in an authentic way to further the conversation for the global brand.

7What makes your country specifically unique in the digital industry?

Being based on the US; specifically Los Angeles; gives us a great advantage from the standpoint of music and entertainment. The hub of these industries is located here, granting us exclusive access to many of the biggest artists, entertainers, and influencers in the world. We’re also surrounded by many of the best behind-the-scenes production crews and creative minds in the business, so we’re able to execute every element of a campaign with premium quality.

8If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Vega Award submitter, what advice would you give them?

From the very beginning, it's essential to watch and learn from the people around you as much as you can. Broaden your horizons and step out of your comfort zone. No two projects in the experiential industry are ever the same, so we are constantly learning and evolving. Because of that, it's vital to remain open to differing creative perspectives while finding ways to discover inspiration from a variety of places.

At the same time, using the success of Road to Coachella as proof, a single campaign can evolve over time while retaining the same core messaging. We’ve been able to craft three versions of the Road to Coachella over the past three years; each one with different elements and featured talent; but the overall narrative has remained consistent.

9What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the digital industry?

Like most areas of business, it’s vital to watch and learn from the experts. Analyze industry trade publications and look at digital campaigns that worked to find out what made them successful. Conversely, see why others may have failed. Oftentimes it comes down to the smallest detail that makes or breaks a campaign.

10Who has inspired you in your life and why?

From a very young age, I've always been inspired by Walt Disney. He had a dream and fought so hard to see it through, refusing to compromise on his ideals. His vision of bringing magic to life through a transformative guest experience is something that I admire and draw upon in developing creative strategies for my own clients.

11What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

It’s always important to understand the ‘why’ of what you’re doing. If you can’t easily discern that, then the entire project suffers. It’s vital to identify and evaluate your target audience to craft a narrative that will entertain and engage them.

There are an influx of brands trying to be seen and heard, so you need to focus on what makes your creative stand out among the oversaturated marketplace while remaining authentic to the consumer and the brand.

12Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

The Road to Coachella has been much more than just another campaign for us and BMW. It is truly a passion project for each of us. We have gotten to work with some incredibly talented and inspiring musicians, graphic artists, and influencers, many of whom have continued long-lasting and meaningful relationships with BMW.

For instance, our 2017 Road to Coachella partner, legendary composer Hans Zimmer, is now developing automotive sound for BMW's groundbreaking IconicSounds Electric initiative, which is transforming the sound of electric mobility. 2018's partner Portugal. The Man has performed at BMW events in Munich, and BMW continued the relationship with Khalid by sponsoring his world tour and participating in fan meet-and-greets. We have cultivated truly meaningful relationships throughout the life of this campaign and are grateful for all of the amazing people we have collaborated with along the way.

Winning Entries

BMW IconicSounds Electric | 2020

Interview with Justin Lefkovitch, Founder & CEO of Mirrored Media, United States

As electric vehicles continue to make up a larger share of the automotive marketplace, auto brands, governments, and consumers have...
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Road to Coachella 2019 | 2020

Road to Coachella 2019 | Vega Digital Awards

We partnered with RCA Records to identify Khalid as the ideal #RoadtoCoachella artist partner. We seamlessly...
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Mirrored Media

Mirrored Media is an alternative recording label and experiential music marketing firm that creates high impact, enduring lifestyle campaigns.