FIRST FRIDAYS: Manish Vora, Co-Founder of the Museum of Ice Cream

Q+A with an entrepreneur reinventing the consumer experience model

For this month’s edition of First Fridays, we connected with creative entrepreneur Manish Vora, who left a career on Wall Street to launch a series of art-related companies and projects that include the Museum of Ice Cream, an immersive pop-up that captivated NYC this summer, selling out in five days and amassing a wait list of more than 200,000 people. Read on for his thoughts on creating shareable experiences, partnering with Tinder, and the future of MOIC.

Please tell us about the Museum of Ice Cream and what inspired you and Maryellis Bunn to create it.

The Museum of Ice Cream was born out of a passion for ice cream, desire to create meaningful experiences and a way to connect brands to engaged audiences.

Professionally we have produced many experiences and believe there is a huge unmet need for more engaging and inspiring offline activities for Millennials.

Why do you think MOIC resonated so strongly with young consumers?

Our mission was to create truly shareable experiences that go far beyond capturing an image or video. We incorporate nostalgia, taste, science, art and tech to transplant visitors and challenge their imagination.

In our recent study, 67% of youth said it’s not enough for entertainment to just be “good,” it also has to be shareable. How did you ensure that the MOIC experience was highly shareable?

We believe experiences often focus too hard or too little on creating a single social moment. Design and the feeling that one receives from entertainment serve to drive the desire for social share. The Museum was built with social first and to capture all senses.

How does MOIC approach brand partnerships? Any case studies you’d like to share?

We work with brand partners who want to integrate naturally into the Museum and are willing to innovate alongside us as we create. For that we provide 100% engagement; visually, verbally and sensorially. Part of the magic of the Museum is that 100% of our guests touch, taste, engage and ideally capture each and every experience.

In V1, Tinder’s integration was particularly notable—we worked with them to create a flavor match app, built an ice cream scooper seesaw, an ice cream sandwich swing, and commissioned an artist to create a sprinkle mural for a photo drop. The numbers around impressions and engagement via press, social and usage of the app were phenomenal.

In addition to running MOIC, you’re CEO of experiential marketing platform Lightbox. Tell us about it.

Lightbox is taking a different approach to corporate and brand experiences by creating a purpose-built space that is designed for digital storytelling and provides a one stop shop with turnkey solutions for creating technology-enabled events.

What’s next for you and MOIC?

The Museum of Ice Cream is expanding in terms of size and scope. We will be launching in new cities in 2017, in unbelievable locations. This is just the beginning as we look to capture and push the boundaries of the consumer experience model.