When looking at the work of hybrid production company B-Reel, one recent project stands out as being completely bonkers–in the best possible way. Called Mind Scalextrics, it’s a brain-controlled slot-car racing game that seems straight out of science fiction, complete with futuristic looking headgear.
While initiatives like this have largely been tech development experiments by B-Reel’s resident brainiacs, who are formally employed to create digital and filmed advertising for clients, the launch of development arm B-Reel Products puts a legitimate spin on these sidebar efforts.
Anders Wahlquist, CEO of B-Reel, says that R&D has always been a part of the company’s philosophy but finding the time to bring them to life has been a problem. “The door out of our workshop has been too narrow to let everything out, so we’ve delivered only a small fraction of what could have been done,” he says. “But we’ve got so much experimenting going on all the time that we want to make these ideas go live rather than just keeping them around waiting to stick them to the right brief.” The new business unit, which will have a team of three led by creative director Riccardo Giraldi, will create an environment for B-Reel to proactively turn its ideas into successful products, with or without a client attached.
Wahlquist expects the creative output of B-Reel Products to be diverse, ranging from apps to digital platforms, entertainment formats, advertising concepts, or products with digital components. “We get a lot of questions on looking into specific possibilities around a brand or product, and we don’t really have the time within B-Reel to do that. With B-Reel Products we’ll be able and willing to help out. We will also work for hire on development,” he says, noting that the goal is to create an official outlet for internal ideas, as well as meet the product-oriented needs of clients.
B-Reel already has a few projects that have served as beta tests for its product development arm. Along with the super-fun-looking Mind Scalextrics, which is on display at SXSW, the company has also delved into app and platform development. Time Lanes, a meeting-manager app that allows for multi-time-zone scheduling, grew from a need to coordinate meetings across B-Reel’s four international offices (Sweden, London, New York, and Los Angeles), and is designed to “take the mathematics out of teleconferencing”. And 3 LiveShop is a customer service platform that was developed with Europe’s 3 Telecom and combines video chat and custom-created touch screen technology to create a virtual one-on-one customer experience.
Wahlquist says this launch is a serious step forward for the company, which had already expanded its creative offerings with the launch of B-Reel Films a few years back. “B-Reel is very much about quick reactions to, and fast and accurate development and realization of basic ideas from, someone else. It’s reactive. B-Reel Products will be proactive. We thrive on curiosity and craftsmanship and are super stoked about what will come out of this venture. We will work with whatever idea that has the possibility of being very, very good once it’s realized.”