Listen cofounders launch experiential agency Ada

(L to R) Brett Volker and Steve Milton.
(L to R) Brett Volker and Steve Milton.

Brett Volker and Steve Milton’s new venture focuses on ‘sensory-based’ projects.

The rise of sonic branding, voice activated devices and social audio have made audio-based experiences the hot new thing for brands to dabble in. 

Listen, a sonic branding agency, said Monday it has launched a new agency called Ada, which will be focused on experience innovation and design. Effective immediately, Ada will take over all of Listen’s existing multi-sensory experiential business, while Listen will expand its full-service sound offering in response to the rising demand of sonic branding, voice technology, and social audio.

Ada will help brands incorporate emerging technologies such as VR, AR and AI into their physical experiences while constructing the overall strategic vision, concept, design and production of the events. Inessah Selditz, formerly group experiential director at Huge, will be Ada’s executive creative director.

Ada sets itself apart from other experiential agencies because its “collaborative,” Listen founding partner Steve Milton told Campaign US. 

“We don’t believe in the old school ‘present and defend’ model,” he said. “Because of this, we have had great results working with some of the most innovative artists, musicians and institutions.”

Listen previously worked with Microsoft, for example, on two projects. The first, Björk’s “Kórsafn: a choral retrospective,” was a multi-sensory soundscape for Sister City powered by Microsoft AI. The second, Rag & Bone’s spring/summer 2021 collection launched with the short film “Metamorphosis,” created in partnership with Microsoft, which revealed elements of the line through design, technology and filmmaking.

Ada will build upon Listen’s existing client portfolio, which includes cultural institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, artists like St. Vincent and Childish Gambino and big brands such as Microsoft and Spotify. 

“We are inspired by partners and clients who are trying to push the envelope,” Milton said. “Most companies are visually driven, and although the visual aspect of any project is certainly important, we don’t box ourselves into this as a starting point every time. We start with a more holistic and sensory-based approach, which gives us a unique perspective.”

In the short-term, Ada is partnering with global cultural institutions and organizing its own ticketed events throughout the year. Ada is also focused on finding new clients passionate about the experience design space.


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