SUNNYVALE, CA, United States – When the Nokia Lumia 900 launched in April, this new smartphone deserved a romping coming-out party with a mega-star who can deliver an amazing show.
There’s no better place to put on such an event than Times Square in the middle of Manhattan and there’s no bigger star than Nicki Minaj to help pull the whole thing off. So, how is it possible to put on such a huge performance, right in the heart of Times Square during a Friday evening in April?
To find out, I connected with Moira Breslin, part of the team who put the whole production on.
Setting the stage
From conception to completion, the team behind the Nicki Minaj Times Square production only had four weeks to put on the show. Once Nokia decided upon Times Square and a target date, the team took had just 3 days to research and finalize creative options in Times Square.
The media buying agencies went to work on securing the nine screens needed for the grand visual effects that would accompany Nicki Minaj’s amazing singing talents. Once screens were bought, they focused on the American Eagle building as the ‘hero’ screen, as this vibrant screen gave the team a three-sided screen to work with.
Other team members worked with the Times Square Alliance to arrange the necessary permits, budgets and safety concerns. Additionally, the New York Police Department was involved as no event can happen in Times Square with out their approval and coordination.
According to Breslin, the NYPD was a “tremendous team as they do these events all the time”. However, with their amazing-ness, came very strict restrictions and permits. For example, the artists’ name could not be leaked or announced before 7:00 PM on the evening of the event. If there was any leak on any media channel or social media, NYPD would shut the event down and not allow it to take place.
Also, the production team was only given license to do a 15 minute show because they were only given this amount of time to amp out music on the PA before the music would be cut. The production team said the Times Square Alliance and NYPD were very easy to work with, but had very strict non-negotiable terms.
Prepping for the show
A box, which ultimately housed the stage where Nicki Minaj would perform, was dropped in to Times Square days ahead of the event with a countdown timer set to the performance time. However, the curious public had no idea what would be going down when the timer expired.
To prep for the show, Nicki Minaj’s dance crew only had one shot at rehearsal, where they had to be snuck into the box for run-through early in the morning on the day of the event.
Pulling it all off
After all the preparation, it was time to put the show on. The event went off without a hitch, with more than 10,000 screaming fans turning out for a show that had no prior announcement or PR. In the end, Nokia literally shut down Times Square for 15 minutes.
Nicki Minaj performed a special remix of her hit ‘Starships’, with the the Lumia 900 being plastered over 9 screens surrounding the stage that was produced by a visual art team that labored for more than 5,000 hours to produce jaw-dropping effects throughout Times Square. The visual effects were featured on a 200 foot screen and featured the effect of a building “melting” right in front of the crowd.
Minaj humbled by the experience
Nicki Minaj was reportedly completely blown away with the experience herself. As an added bonus, Nokia flew in 55 of Nicki’s biggest fans from all around the US to see the performance and meet her shortly following her musical set. A talented pro, Minaj was noticeably nervous and excited shortly before her set in the middle of Times Square.
She told Nokia how proud and humbled she was to put on such a huge show in her hometown of New York City and to meet her fans right after the show. Her fans were screaming and crying the whole time, and Minaj herself teared up in gratitude while meeting her fans at a gathering afterwards.