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Award of Excellence

Cuervo Games Traveling Agave


Cuervo, the world’s largest producer of tequila, is promoting its brand through the “Cuervo Games,” a multicity mobile marketing tour that debuted in Orlando, Fla. The events involve local teams vying for prizes by completing a series of athletic and daring tasks. Winning teams are chosen by event attendees and by people watching and voting online. Transformit produced a giant agave cactus (the plant from which tequila is made, and the Cuervo logo) as the visual centerpiece of the event.

Digital Kitchen was contracted by Cuervo’s U.S. advertising agency to design and oversee the production. Digital Kitchen first considered using an inflatable structure, but rejected it because an inflatable would not give enough definition to the shape of the agave’s leaves. They connected with Transformit through a referral, and initial conversations led to an agreement to work together. Digital Kitchen’s request was to produce the best possible result within the very short timeline (30 days from start to initial installation in Orlando). Transformit and Digital Kitchen agreed to develop everything collaboratively on several parallel and overlapping tracks: design, engineering, fabrication, logistics and installation.

Starting with Digital Kitchen’s drawings, the shape was developed by Digital Kitchen, Transformit and FTL Design Engineering. Once the shape was finalized, FTL designed a structure capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds of 115mph (with a 2x safety factor). Other significant constraints: the disassembled structure must travel in a single trailer, be capable of being installed in three hours (on uneven or soft ground), the “Aztec pyramid” base must support the weight of several people and the entire structure (including lights) must withstand wet weather.

The core is an 8ft welded steel geodesic hub on six leveling platform feet. Each foot is loaded with 1,000 pounds of steel ballast. Stored in the base are 12 pre-aimed LED PAR lights with their transformers and control system. This base is covered with stretch fabric, with triangular openings where the 12 leaves attach. The base is then fitted around the geodesic base and leveled. To speed assembly, the leaves are shipped fully “dressed,” with the “thorn” lights installed. As each leaf is attached, it is tilted up into position and locked with thick cotter pins. The skin of each leaf is then zipped to the skin of the base. A zippered trap door allows a technician to service the structure from within, if necessary. When the event is over, the leaves are removed, reinstalled into a rolling cart and loaded onto the truck. The entire load out takes about an hour.

At the debut event in Orlando, the agave received rave reviews and became the central meeting point. After each event, the winning team would have its picture taken seated on the steps of the agave’s pyramid base. The photogenic agave also served as the backdrop for the event’s webcast hosts.