Entrepreneur, Future 40 winner Nathan Elliott launches projection ad company, AdFront, in Regina

24 Apr 2017

Nathan Elliott's sights are set on the windows of empty offices with AdFront

Nathan Elliott admits sleep is not something he gets a lot of.

Since winning CBC Future 40 in 2015, the entrepreneurial strategist has kept busy at the helm of his consulting firm, Insight West Research, communications firm, Insight Interactive and children's' charity, Huddle Up.

He has also been tied up with AdFront; his brand new foray into digital projection-mapping advertising. 

'We're pretty proud of it, and, it is starting in Regina. That's kind of the cool thing.'- Nathan Elliott

For the past six months, Elliott said he and a team have been running "secret tests" ahead of the company's official launch in Regina, in early March.

Elliott said AdFront has agreements with leasing agencies, across Saskatchewan and western Canada, that allows for empty office spaces to be transformed into digital billboards.

"We're now going to turn spaces that are sitting empty and static and [using] projection-mapping, project ads onto the windows of these vacant properties," explained Elliott.

"It is a completely new platform, that has never been done," Elliott said, stating that instances of projection-mapping are currently limited to one-offs at sporting events.

"What we've done is created a voluminous, advertising model that takes the digital billboard down to the streets and we're able to do anything with that glass space."

An example of the advertising work AdFront plans to do using projection-mapping technology. (AdFront/Submitted to CBC)

One man's empty office space, is another's advertising revolution

The 36-year-old said he got the idea for AdFront after he finished an exhibit for another project, in which he used projection-mapping technology in a presentation.

"I was sitting at a light on Victoria Avenue and I was looking at an empty office space," he said of his light bulb moment. 

"We're able to produce a 3D effect because of the film that is on the window and really, redefine advertising platforms as it is know in the world today, quite literally."

Elliott said the possibilities for the technology are limitless. The company is also planning on using motion capture technology that will allow people to interact with movement on the glass of windows.

Elliott noted the projections are visible during the day and night time.

"We can make it look like a realistic setting. We can make it look like a busy restaurant or shop where people are inside shopping," he said. "It is pretty cool. We're pretty proud of it, and, it is starting in Regina. That's kind of the cool thing."

Elliott is betting that the idea will catch on, quickly.

"There's waiting lists that you wouldn't even believe."

According to Elliott, the company is focusing its efforts on high-traffic areas, in cities, across the prairies.

This month, AdFront is launching in Regina, Saskatoon and Calgary, according to Elliott.

"We hope to take in nationwide this year, pushing 100 locations," he said. "Just taking something that doesn't look great —that tends to be the sign of an unhealthy economy, where you have a lot of empty office space— and turning it in to a voluminous advertising model that I know is going to turn some heads."

Elliott's Mego seeks to upset fish oil with Saskatchewan oil seed

In addition to goals of shaking up the international advertising market, Elliott is also hoping to give fish oil a run for its money.

Mego, short for Omega On The Go, is a new product Elliott is launching with the help of CFL superstar, Geroy Simon. 

Consisting of a blend of Saskatchewan oil seeds and commodities, Elliott said the new product is superior to fish oil in terms of its health benefits.

"We have the alternative to fish oil that is renewable, Saskatchewan-based, that doesn't lead to the depletion of our fisheries, that vegans, vegetarians will have no issue taking, that is organic and home-grown in Saskatchewan," he said.

Elliott said Mego is available as a bar, drink and powder.

"What we're going to do with Mego is completely reverse the psychology of an industry, which is a six billion dollar industry in North America alone, to show that oxidization effects fish oils to such a degree that within minutes it actually becomes a placebo and that in a short time something called rancidity kicks in whereby it creates a culture in your body that is bad for you," Elliott said, stating this claim is the result of a year-long series of tests.

Elliott said Mego gives consumers the recommended daily dosage of omega-3 and omega-6.

Future 40 a chance to be part of positive change in Sask.

Elliott said winning Future 40 helped him connect with people from various backgrounds, who all want to change Saskatchewan for the better.

"You become part of a group that is focused on making the province better," Elliott said. "The array of winners is so diverse, that speaks to the province."

Nominations for Future 40 close today at 12 p.m.. CST. You can nominate someone you know, or yourself, here.