For more than 15 years, Manulife has been recognizing and rewarding employees through the Stars of Excellence program/event, a Global initiative that lets peers nominate peers for their extraordinary achievements and contributions over the year. The 2017 event was hosted in Toronto and incorporated interactive technology that responded in realtime to live sound and movement. The project and overall concept were driven by the team at Debut Group.


Reach for the stars by incorporating dynamic responsive technology around the core theme, Aurora Borealis, into the event program. Specific focus was on the opening and closing performances, and the awards ceremony. The intention was reflect the core values of the program—innovation, inspiration, collaboration, and excellence—in a theatrical and entertaining way that exceeded the guests’ expectations.


Embreate created two visual and interactive experiences using motion tracking and dynamic audio response systems. Set to a live classical piano performance, Embreate created tracking and visuals that responded to the sound of Mozart and Chopin in realtime. Visuals included an interpretation of the Aurora Borealis with starlike particles that distorted and reacted to the performer’s sound and emitted shooting effects as he played to add a 3D texture to the performance.


The team executed a beautiful new look and feel for the program that was woven through the entire event including web, print, photography, keynote, video, staging, lighting, and auditory. The addition of the responsive technology to the program changed the dynamics of the awards show and resulted in a broadcast caliber experience. The emotion and precision of the piano performance married with the responsive visual storytelling left the the Honourees with memories of an unforgettable evening of being a Star of Excellence.