Featured Friend of the XR/AI Pub Crawl: Victor Paru, ‘Idea Guy’ at Paru Digital

Featured Friend of the XR/AI Pub Crawl: Victor Paru, ‘Idea Guy’ at Paru Digital

I first met Victor Paru at our in-person pub crawl in Portland. I remember it was a warm summer day and we had all alighted at a large, wooden table outside at on of my local haunts near the river. Victor was an old pal of Billie’s, having worked together at Intel for several years. Victor was a believer in immersive tech and was excited about what the future held for immersive media and communications.

That was almost a year ago and Victor has attended every pub crawl since. I’m thrilled to share his expertise and passion with our community.

What is your area of expertise?  

I am fluent in creativity, and thrive when I can “SHOW vs TELL” a targeted audience about a new product, service or opportunity. Video and imaging combined with live events are among my strengths and passions.

Why are you interested in XR and AI for marketing and communications?  

Throughout my career, I’ve engaged audiences across physical stages and digital screens. As an AI champion, I recognize its potential and challenges. Innovative marketing and communications are essential in this new era, where good messages and experiences build trust and community. I think AR excites me the most within the XR universe at this time, navigating the real world with its digital potential. 

Do you currently leverage XR and AI for marketing or do you plan to in the near future?  

Yes, I am currently a SW Tech Marketing Engineer at Intel focused on AI technologies and develop demos for executives and events. I have also been running my own agency (Paru Digital) since 2010, providing digital media production and creative services. I continue to integrate AI into my workflows to advance projects and help clients navigate new tools and services to reach new possibilities.

Featured Friend of the XR/AI Pub Crawl: Kelly Wade, Florida’s Natural

Featured Friend of the XR/AI Pub Crawl: Kelly Wade, Florida’s Natural

I first heard of Kelly Wade, the marketing director of Florida’s Natural Growers, as my best friend and I were driving to the coast. We were discussing how I could get larger, national brands to work with my students in a campaigns class I was teaching at the University of Oregon. Billie said she know a woman who worked with Florida’s Natural orange juice – and I was like, “WHAT?! – That’s PERFECT!”. The rest is history was we say, Kelly was extremely receptive to the idea of working with my students and we had a blast crafting campaigns for the brand that would excite and engage Gen Z, several of which included immersive elements.

Since that time, Kelly has continued to support the pub crawl and attend our monthly events. She’s an amazingly gifted and dedicated marketer who sees the potential that XR and AI offer to our profession. I’m THRILLED to feature Kelly this month and appreciate her thoughtful answers to a few questions that will hopefully help you get to know more about her role and her perspective on XR and AI. Enjoy!

What is your area of expertise?  

I’m a marketing/brand person.  My expertise is in CPG and traditional marketing, including product and packaging development and management, pricing, marketing comms, consumer insights and advocacy.

Why are you interested in XR and AI for marketing and communications?  

We’ve actually used augmented reality for a product line we had and we created an app in which scanning the carton package launched an AR video to see the carton come to life.  Although we’ve got that learning under our belt, we have discussed other opportunities, and we’ve had other projects compete for resources.

For a CPG brand, using XR to enhance the consumer experience, and what that looks like is really limited only by imagination, tying it to the equity of the brand.  For example, when we have people visit – vendor/partners, retailer customers, etc. – we usually include a grove tour including learning about the trees and fruit, how citrus is produced and picked, and usually also an in-grove tasting.  It’s ALWAYS the biggest hit of any visit.  Spatial XR offers an opportunity for the Florida’s Natural to extend that tour to anyone with a headset and drive the differentiation of the brand in consumers’ minds.

AI has lots of different applications, though I’m interested now in using it to automate labor-intensive, scenario-type tasks – pricing modeling, media buying, data interpretation, and really anywhere that would benefit from looking for patterns that may not be readily apparent.

I’m also interested in AI’s ability to generate and personalize content.  I think in general, advertising agencies have been slow to respond to AI.  Maybe it has something to do with Sam Altman claiming AI can do 95% of marketing, but there seems to be more openness and receptivity from agencies now.  The big holding companies seem to have dug into questions about usage and ownership, and these will be important for us to have a rock solid understanding up front.  If AI we generate an image, but some other entity actually owns it, what we can are able to use is limited.  I’ve got a meeting scheduled now with our agency to delve into these issues.

Do you currently leverage XR and AI for marketing or do you plan to in the near future?  

We don’t have any specific plans for XR and AI.  I think AI, especially, is becoming woven into a lot of our partners’ solutions, and if we dig into some of our work, it’s happening already.  For us, it will be about it driving value to the brand, ease of use, and affordability. 

Featured Friend of the XR Pub Crawl: David Akerson

Featured Friend of the XR Pub Crawl: David Akerson

I first met Dave through my good friend, Billie Goldman, as they worked together at Intel for a few years. Dave has since moved over to Thermo Fisher Scientific, as a Sr. Global Market Development Manager. As he was looking for innovative approaches to B2B marketing, Billie suggested we meet and the rest is history.

I was thrilled to find Dave so open and willing to look at new ways to engage his audiences and we became fast friends. Fast forward to today and Dave is a regular at the monthly XR Pub Crawl. He is a wonderful resource for the latest news and industry trends in the enterprise B2B marketing space.

Thanks and gratitude goes out to Dave for taking the time to share his perspective below AND for being such an active and engaged part of the XR marketing community.

What is your area of expertise?

Marketing and Product Management

Why are you interested in XR and AI for marketing and communications?

From a business-to-business marketing perspective, XR, and more so Virtual Reality, is interesting as it holds great potential as a means for delivering virtual product demonstrations or for better understanding how a customer uses a product when developing customer personas. Designed correctly, an individual could have the opportunity to “take the tool for a test drive.” This could be very useful to advance potential customers through sales cycle from awareness to consideration. As a former product manager, virtual demonstrations enabled by VR could also be valuable for gather input for future products.

For marketing purposes, AI has a lot of potential value as a tool for creating marketing engaging content. Today, many are using AI for writing blogs, whitepapers, customer communications, etc. It’s great for content ideation, but it also has limitations users should be conscious of.  Moving forward, a number of applications are emerging that hold great potential for marketers. Of the AI based applications that I’ve seen, I’m most excited about text to video capabilities that allow the marketer to create videos to promote facets of a product or a solution in a dynamic form.

Do you currently leverage XR and AI for marketing or do you plan to in the near future? 

At this time, we are using XR and AI for some marketing purposes and we continue to investigate how we can use these technologies to support marketing activities and increase our productivity. With technology evolutions happening every day, it’s an exciting time to be in marketing.

Featured Friend of the XR Pub Crawl: Claire Weingarten

Featured Friend of the XR Pub Crawl: Claire Weingarten

I first met Claire, I believe, at one of my first XR Pub Crawl events over a year ago. I had just started hosting the virtual, monthly event for a small group of eager and enthusiastic marketers looking to leverage the power of emerging technologies. She connected with me on LinkedIn and quickly became an engaged and valuable member of our community.

I was fortunate enough to meet Claire in-person at AWE 2023, as she made the trip from New York out to the bay area to attend the XR Pub Crawl’s AWE experience and extravaganza. A two-day event that included a private preview of the showroom floor and a delicious and intimate dinner in San Jose. I immediately recognized her experience and talent within the media industry and realized she had a bright future within the XR and immersive communications.

I’m THRILLED to feature Claire as the very first ‘Friend of the XR Pub Crawl’, as part of my series dedicated to our small but mighty community. You can connect with Claire on LinkedIn and join our next monthly LIVE event happening the third Friday of the month at noon PT. Hope to see you there!

What is your area of expertise?

Visual media has long been an area of expertise for me, and with bachelors and masters degrees in cinema studies, my professional life has spanned a number of arts-related fields–film, streaming video, journalism and social media programming. Several years ago my passion and expertise evolved beyond video-based media to also include immersive experiences and emerging technologies that are creating entirely new channels of communication.

Why are you interested in XR and AI for marketing and communications?

I believe emerging technologies like XR and AI can be instrumental in creating the most meaningful immersive experiences marketers and communicators are able to design for audiences. We have not yet scratched the surface of what these experiential marketing tools are capable of inspiring in audiences who can be transformed by meaningful interactions with brands–interactions that are not possible with more traditional marketing methods.

What are your career aspirations? What do you want to be when you grow up?

I don’t know that I can point to one exact role, however I know it’s vital for me to always be exploring new frontiers in emerging  story-telling mediums, experiential communication and immersive engagements.

XR Pub Crawl Marketing and Comms: Hugo Boss and Olivier Moingeon from Exclusible

XR Pub Crawl Marketing and Comms: Hugo Boss and Olivier Moingeon from Exclusible

Our June edition of the XR Pub Crawl for Marketing and Comms was one of the best yet! If you missed it, you can catch the on-demand version on my YouTube channel and I got some highlights summarized below. Hope to see you for our next broadcast, you can learn more about that on the LinkedIn event invite.

The Show Floor Tour

One of the most valuable parts of the AWE experience was the show floor tour. It allowed us to try out new technologies, hear presentations from vendors, and get a firsthand look at the latest innovations in the XR space. Being able to engage with vendors and learn about their products from a marketing perspective was truly valuable.

Building Relationships

AWE provided a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new connections in the XR community. The sense of community and the chance to deepen relationships is one of the highlights of this conference. It’s a reminder of the power of networking and the importance of building a strong community.

The Future of Education

One of the most inspiring sessions at AWE was about the future of education. The speaker shared insights on personalized learning and the role of AI tutors in shaping the way we learn. As marketers, education plays a crucial role in our job, and this session provided valuable insights on how to educate and engage our audiences effectively.

The Rise of AI Digital Twins

One of the most mind-blowing topics discussed at AWE was the concept of AI digital twins. The idea that we could have an AI-driven twin that thinks and acts like us is both exciting and eerie. AI digital twins have the potential to revolutionize various industries, from influencer marketing to personalized learning. It’s a concept that we need to pay attention to as it becomes more prevalent.

The Hugo Boss Project

Now, let’s talk about the recent project with Hugo Boss. The collaboration with Hugo Boss and Imaginary Ones resulted in a stunning immersive experience. The project aimed to recreate the aesthetic and theme of Hugo Boss’s Miami fashion show in a virtual world. The team worked tirelessly to build a custom world using platforms like special.io and mid-journey. The result was a visually captivating experience that showcased the brand’s creativity and engaged users.


Q: What were the main highlights of AWE?

A: The show floor tour, building relationships, the future of education, and the rise of AI digital twins were the main highlights of AWE.

Q: What was the most inspiring session at AWE?

A: The session on the future of education was the most inspiring. It provided insights into personalized learning and the role of AI tutors.

Q: What is an AI digital twin?

A: An AI digital twin is an AI-driven replica of a person that thinks and acts like them. It has the potential to revolutionize various industries.

Q: What was the objective of the Hugo Boss project?

A: The objective of the Hugo Boss project was to recreate the aesthetic and theme of their Miami fashion show in a virtual world, providing an immersive experience for users.

To learn more about the AWE conference and the Hugo Boss project, watch the full video.


#AWE, #Hugo_Boss, #XR, #AI_Digital_Twins, #Immersive_Experience