Friday, March 1, 2013

How Screenland's Popcorn Turned Into A Kernel of Collaboration

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to meet with Butch Rigby, owner of Screenland Theatres. Screenland is launching a line of new gourmet popcorn that will be released in Kansas City later this year and Butch and I were kicking around ideas. He talked about popcorn like you might talk about buying a new car--you know, the one you've always dreamed of. Listening to Butch talk about a passion project is always exciting and fun. I was fascinated by the history lesson I received (yes, popcorn actually has one).  In fact, just talking to him made me reflect on some of my favorite memories involving popcorn.  If you think about it, you'll probably have a few of your own.

Screenland is all about the details.  From the murals on the sidewalls to Rosco the robot opening the curtains, Butch always uses local artists to add finishing touches to his theatres.  Its those details that make movie-watching at Screenland a unique experience.  And so it follows that the brand for Screenland's new popcorn must adhere to the same recipe -- unique, exciting, engaging, different.

Somewhere in the mix of popcorn chatting, collaborating at Geek Night with my buddies Chris Morris & Albert Tong, and winning a rooster from a recent hackathon, an idea presented itself:

Brand Lab.  >> Queue the Back to the Future scene where Doc Brown hit his head on the toilet and drew the flux capacitor. <<

The idea behind Brand Lab in its simplest form is to connect local business with local creatives to build a local only 24 hours.  Brand Lab is a partnership that aims to take the hackathon concept and apply it directly to businesses in our community.  Businesses will receive direct access to local creatives. Creatives gain the opportunity to work on a real case study while showing off their skills and competing for cash prizes. The overall goal is to use collaboration to apply innovative applications of creative, design and technology to existing local businesses -- businesses that make our communities thrive.

Will it work?  We're going to find out.  Brand Lab for Screenland will be held the weekend of March 22nd (more info here: or  This is an open call for creatives of all types to help us build a local brand for Screenland's new gourmet popcorn.  Cash prizes, food & drinks provided, an evening movie break, milk & cookies at midnight, and even guest speakers like Danny O'Neill, founder of The Roasterie -- an amazing local business celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

With a small idea that started just a few months ago, I've been overwhelmed by the support we're receiving.  From participants who are excited to groups like KC Design Core lending their support, guest judges like local rock star of all things social (and good friend) Ramsey Mohsen, mentors like Jon Kohrs with Stand Up for Good, the team at Local Ruckus giving us shout outs...and the list goes on.  This is why I love Kansas City -- people are always eager to collaborate and work on projects that benefit our community.

For more info on Brand Lab, checkout the website or watch the intro video with Butch Rigby below.  His passion is contagious -- you'll see what I mean.  And if you're intrigued enough, maybe you'll even signup to be a part of something really special.

If video does not appear, use this link: