Under the Spotlight:

Robin Freebairn

In this Under the Spotlight interview, sartorially savvy Emersive director Robin Freebairn talks ivory tinkling, on-piste pursuits and Parisian catacombs.

Can you talk through the three different market sectors Emersive targets?

Emersive creates immersive experiences known as experiential adventures. Our market breaks down into three distinct areas with the first being team building and leadership development. Here, we create intense team building scenarios away from the day-to-day office environment where we use behavioural analysis tools to analyse how a team responds. From there we recommend a programme of learning to improve their performance long-term. The second sector is motivational incentives. As our experiences are also highly entertaining and set in some of the most fantastic locations around the world they make for a great incentive or reward. Both these sectors serve the corporate market. However, our last sector is what we call VIP celebrations. For the person that has done everything, an experiential adventure can make for the ultimate birthday or celebration to share with friends and family.

How do you put together the experiences?

Is there an initial conception for a theme, or are they tailored for each group?
All our experiential adventures are unique to each client.  The process of creating one is like making a movie.  We start with a scoping phase where we work with the client to agree a storyline and location which forms the backbone to the experience.   The next step is researching and detailing what will happen so we can visualise the experience to the client with a storyboard.  From there we are in pre-production creating the challenges, writing scenes involving actors, contracting suppliers, sourcing props and creating custom applications on the tech. All in preparation for the big day!

Which experience are you most proud of?

We recently staged a Sherlock Holmes style adventure for a Canadian client who wanted to experience the dark side of London and Paris. The event was spread over three days.  Day 1 was in London and started by the group unexpectedly receiving an iPad delivered by courier in the middle of their lunch at a restaurant.  This set in motion a chain of events taking them to a disused underground station, silver vaults and a Victorian operating theatre.  The story continued next day on the Eurostar with teams tracking down an informant on the train and receiving important information from one of our actors posed as the buffet car server.  Day 3 started with a surveillance mission through Pere LaChaise cemetery then a chase sequence through the extremely creepy Paris Catacombs.  It’s an extraordinary place with over 6 million human skulls and bones stored in large piles along dark, atmospheric passageways under central Paris.  The adventure ended with teams racing back to the Place de la Concorde at the bottom of the Champs-Élysées in old Citroen 2CV’s.  The darker tone of this experience gave us the chance of giving the teams a few scares which was particularly satisfying!

What do you enjoy most about working at the Eagle Labs?

The community. It’s the main reason I think most people are here. There is an energy to working here.  Even though everybody is busily working towards their own goals there is also a lot of cross fertilisation. Layer on top of that the great stuff the operations team are doing with the networking, and the mentors and Judge Business School - it all creates a very dynamic environment.   When you see other people being successful, you feed off it and it positively encourages you to push yourself. We all unknowingly or knowingly are pushing ourselves forward as a group.

Can you give me your top three desert island discs.?

Well I'm a piano player and have played in several bands over the years. One track that was always a challenge to play was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen which is also obviously a classic! I’d also pick a funk track such as Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder and something more contemporary like Watercolour by Pendulum.

How do you recharge your batteries?

Linked into the previous answer, it would be playing music. I also run and play sports when I can, but at this time of year my thoughts turn to skiing.  I used to regularly hit the slopes in the Alps but haven’t been for a few years.  So, unless we have a really bad winter here in the UK I need to find some time to jump on a plane then strap two planks of wood to my feet and aim downhill.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

I think the ability to fly would be great... why should birds have all the fun! I like long distance walking and mountain hiking; the ability to jump off the summit and head off into the distance would be amazing!

You have excellent taste in the shirts you wear. Describe the most outrageous shirt you own.

Given my name, I've got the official Robin costume from the 60’s Batman and Robin series. I may threaten to come into work wearing it!

Finally, do you get to try all of the activities that go into the experiences?

Absolutely yes, I insist on it! It's one of the perks of the job!

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