Taking the hotly anticipated seasonal media event beyond the animated film, MPC Creative, our in-house content creation studio, developed a groundbreaking interactive VR experience in collaboration with adam&eveDDB and John Lewis. Launching exclusively in the Oxford Street store, this is the first commercial interactive VR experience that allows people to control interactivity with their own hands rather than physical controllers.
The experience – which took 3,000 hours of specialist VFX artistry to develop – allows people to step into the enchanting world of the Christmas ad and not only experience the environment, but interact and play with its cast of creatures – and immediately share a unique film of themselves composited into the 3D scene.
The ambition was to create a premium, fun and authentic installation that would place people directly into an interactive version of the world already established within the TV ad. VR was the obvious medium, as its premise is profoundly simple: fully immersive entertainment allowing people to share a fun moment with the animals, resulting in a uniquely memorable experience.
Following adam&eveDDB’s brief, we developed an in-store installation idea that positions users on the same trampoline as in the spot, joined by the cast of animals who jump and perform at their command with 360-degree positional sound effects.
We craft industry leading photo-real creatures, so the challenge was to deliver an extraordinary level of animation and realism for VR. The boundaries of interactive VR had to be pushed to the limits. The biggest challenges lay in creating a photo-realistic scene with believable furry animals, and natural interactions with virtually no learning curve for the user. Add to that the complexity of making sure everything could run non-stop for the whole campaign, in one of the UK’s busiest stores, and things really get interesting.
VR social integration
Not only can users immerse themselves in the environment of the spot through our VR experience – a 3D camera mounted in-store captures the user, creating a real-time video composition that merges what’s happening in the real world and the VR one. This allows spectators to get a better idea of what’s happening in the store, and provides a fun 15s clip for people to share with their friends.
To increase the accessibility and overall reach of our content, our team exported 360˚ video versions of the experience to be viewed on other platforms, like Google Cardboard, YouTube and Facebook 360.
In addition, adam&eveDDB leveraged our Animated Character Engine (ACE) to create responsive social content on the fly, using optimised versions of the 3D creatures with dynamic backgrounds and a selection of carefully crafted animations.
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