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The BFG Dream Jar Trail Review

Global media agency Zenith have partnered with Google to promote The BFG Dream Jar Trail, a public art installation, to mark 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl and inspired by Entertainment One’s film release of The BFG. Launched on Saturday July 9, and in place until Wednesday August 31, it is the first commercial use of Google’s ground-breaking Nearby Notifications technology in the UK. All Android handsets, when Bluetooth enabled and when they’re within 15 metres of a Dream Jar, receive push notifications. iPhone users can digitally discover The BFG Dream Jar Trail by opening Google Maps or through Google Now Cards when in close proximity to a jar. Each of the Dream Jars are placed in iconic locations including Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square, taking you on splendiferous tours of London and beyond.

The Dream Jars have been designed by a number of celebrities and artists to represent dreams they’ve had or a dream they have for the future. Standing at around 4ft tall, they have been intricately designed by 3D Eye, who have worked on a number of projects including the Paddington Trail, Harrods window displays and stage sets for Dior Fashion Shows. 3D Eye first designed the Dream Jars in miniature prototypes before the full size jars were put on the streets. A huge team of sculptors, artists and model makers worked on the Dream Jars making sure they were all fantastically unique and BFG-worthy.

After August 31, the Dream Jars will be auctioned to raise money for Save the Children and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. You can take a look at the Jars, which are already up for auction at Paddle 8. Already, Steven Spielberg’s Jar is at £15,000; Quentin Blake’s at £2,200 and Stephen Hawking’s at £3,000.

We set out on the Gloriumptious River Trail to see the Dream Jars and put the technology to test. The first time we tried, although we had turned on our Bluetooth, at Sadiq Kahn’s Dream Jar, the City of Dreams on Tower Bridge, we did not receive any notifications. Turns out, it was a little fiddlier than we first thought! Android phones need to be updated to the latest version and have the necessary Google notifications turned on too. Once updated, we were alerted to being near the Dream Jar and after clicking through the link provided, were told that we had found one of The Big Friendly Giant’s Dream Jars used to store dreams. We were able to click through and discover digital content including information on the Dream Jar, the BFG Dream Jar Trail and the option of booking cinema tickets to see the BFG film. We really enjoyed Sadiq’s dream to, “restore opportunity in London…[and] to celebrate our great city as the open, dynamic and inspirational capital that it is.”

Jenny Packham’s A Stitch in Time Saves Nine was a personal favourite, with glittering pearls and thread. She designed the jar to embody her craft stating, “Everything I create is stitched with passion. Each stitch matters and holds a dream together.” It was also placed in an area of London, which is not overtly touristy, meaning it was slightly quieter and a place I had never been! The Monument to the Great Fire of London and Jenny’s Dream Jar is definitely a must see this summer.

Keen to explore some more Dream Jars in other locations around London, we visited Arsenal Football Club’s Dream Jar, the Golden Phizzgunner Dreams where Google notifications gave us more information on the Dream Jar and Arsenal Football Club. There’s still a few on my list of must sees, including Sir Ben Ainslie’s Ship of Dreams, and I’m hoping to catch a few more in the next couple of weeks before they go to auction.

The Dream Jars are a wonderful way to represent and encourage dreams. It also gives London another reason to show off its wonderful locations, attractions, designers and creatives at work. And the Google notifications, although a little fiddly at first, are brilliant in providing extra info. It’s a perfect day out for children and adults alike.

Emma Rowland is currently studying for a BA (Hons) English degree at Bournemouth University and loves creative writing, children’s books and the power of storytelling. She is looking to go into the publishing industry.


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