Top tech firms come together for Bee in the City app

Event producers Wild in Art have teamed up with digital marketing agency Mediaworks and animation studio Factory to create their most advanced app yet.

Ten years since Wild in Art’s first event, the public art specialists mark their milestone year by bringing together leading digital companies to produce the Bee in the City app.

Featuring an augmented reality Bee, pedometer and integration with outdoor digital screens, the app developed by Mediaworks, which has had more than 17,000 downloads and nearly 1 million Bee ‘unlocks’ to date, offers players the chance to collect Bees, vote for their favourite Bees and earn rewards around this summer’s art trail in Manchester.

Visitors to the trail can download the app to track down all super-sized Bees painted by artists, as well as the little Bees created by children and young people.

Augmented reality Bee Buzzi created by Factory joins more than 230 Bee sculptures displayed around the city. Exclusive to app players, Buzzi can be seen flying to its ‘hive’ on St Peter’s Square through the camera on mobile devices.

Phil Chalk, managing director at Factory, said: “It’s been a great project to work on creating the augmented reality Bee.

“We have worked with many, much loved characters in our animated series, but this demonstrates the talent and ability of our team, and highlights the quality and flexible production resources that we have.”

As well as helping visitors to locate the sculptures dotted around Manchester’s most popular landmarks and hidden spots, the app offers its players rewards and trophies along the way.

By inputting the code that’s printed on each sculpture’s plaque each time they find a Bee, players can unlock retail discounts, prizes, and exclusive content.

Another first for Wild in Art, the app is integrated with outdoor advertising screens.

Media company Ocean Outdoor, a Bee in the City media partner, is giving players a chance to see themselves on the big screens around Manchester.

Players simply upload their photos and Twitter handles through the app and the best shots that make it onto the big screen are tweeted to notify the player.

App players are also encouraged to stay fit by tracking their distance, steps and time on the trail using the pedometer sponsored by Well Pharmacy, a Bee in the City presenting partner. Players can also add photos to the Bee Gallery and share on social media.

Creative director at Mediaworks, Andrew Blenkinsopp, said: “Designing and developing this app has tested and advanced our skills and expertise, but more importantly, it’s been an excellent project to support Wild in Art with Bee in the City, which will ultimately help The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity.

“Expanding our app and development experience and harnessing new technologies to offer superior products are essential to ensure we’re constantly growing as a digital agency.”

Ruth McAllister, marketing director at Wild in Art, added: “The app brings even more enjoyment to Bee in the City, which transforms Manchester into a fun, free, family-friendly art gallery this summer.

“The art trail marks a significant milestone in Wild in Art’s history of connecting communities, businesses, and artists through creativity, and we’re delighted to be working alongside Mediaworks, Factory and Ocean Outdoor to deliver a fitting app.”

The Bee in the City app is available to download from the App Store and Google Play for £1.99. From each app purchase, 25% of the net profit is donated to the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity.

When the art trail finishes on September 23, all giant Bee sculptures are auctioned in October to help raise funds for the We Love MCR Charity, which aims to support Manchester’s communities through its grants programme.

Watch a video about the app here.