Virtual reality still has a lot to prove. And today it takes a big step toward demonstrating its potential everyday usefulness with a cool Samsung campaign that simulates one of the most intimate family traditions—the parent-child bedtime story.
With help from BBH London, Samsung Electronics has launched a live VR storytelling app called Bedtime VR Stories, which is designed to have a parent and child read together inside a VR world when they can't be physically together. They each wear VR headsets and can talk to each other—and see a version of each other—inside the world as they read together. (The app uses a combination of VR and Voice over Internet Protocol—or VoIP—technology."
Bedtime VR Stories launches with a single tale, titled "The Most Wonderful Place to Be." Parent and child sit on a magical bed during the five-minute experience and visit three places—the Arctic, where they meet Jen the Penguin; a prehistoric world featuring Dan the Dinosaur; and outer space, where Robot Jo treats them to a musical finale.
Check out the 360-degree walkthrough here:
It's a very cute experience, as long as you don't mind bonding with a floating purple ball instead of your actual parent. But snark aside, my kids would actually love this—and of course, the creative will only get better over time.
There will also surely be critics who dismiss any kind of virtual parenting as second-rate, though for parents who are on business trips—and not just working late at the expense of their families—Bedtime VR Stories will beat the typical chaotic Skype session any day.
The prototype technology is being tested with select families in the U.K. It's part of a larger global Samsung initiative called Launching People, which the company describes as an effort "designed to help consumers unleash their potential and create meaningful change through the use of Samsung technology."
Check out the campaign overview video here:
BBH says the creative idea came from the insight that one-third of parents can't be with their children at bedtime to read them a story. "Building on Samsung's expertise in VR, we were able to create Bedtime VR Stories, which allows parents and children to share a story, even when they're apart, so it's no longer 'once upon a time' but rather 'happily ever after,' " the agency said.
"At Samsung, we're committed to driving innovation to create technology that will make a difference to the way people live their lives," adds Conor Pierce, vp of IT and mobile at Samsung U.K. & Ireland. "With Bedtime VR Stories, we're hoping that this prototype will show an important new exciting genre of virtual experience—and something that will define the use of virtual reality over the coming years. We've harnessed the power of VR to reunite parents and children for a unique storytelling experience, giving us a glimpse of what the traditional story time may look like in the very near future."
Manager, Samsung Global Marketing: Dan Canham
Agency: BBH London
Creative Team: Martin-Jon Adolfsson and Oksana Valentelis
Creative Director: Joakim Borgstrom
Strategy Director: Damien Le Castrec
Strategist: Tom Patterson
Chief Strategy Officer: Jason Gonsalves
Chief Production Officer: Davud Karbassioun
Business Lead: Julian Broadhead, Polly McMorrow
Global Business Development Director: Tim Harvey
Account Manager: Lara Worthington and Katharine Gritten
Copywriter: Nick Kidney
Print Producer: Simon Taylor
Additional Contributors: Amrita Das, Richard Cable,Jeremy Ettinghausen,Vix Jagger, Chris Meachin, Alex Matthews, Sarah Cooper, Patrick Dedman, Kate Frewin-Clarke, Matt Bertocchi, Katie Callaghan
Unit 9 Credits
VR Creative Director: Henry Cowling
Art Director: Fred Aven
Teach Lead: Laurentiu Fenes
Lead Unity developer: Xavier Arias
Unity Developers: Kevin Borrell, David Diaz, Luke Haugh, Mark Vatsel, Riess Phillips Henry Illustration / Environments & Character Design: Christian-Slane
3D Artists: Sophie Langohr, Steve Campbell
Storyboard Artist: Sophie Conchonnet
Technical Artist: Josep Moix
UX Designer: Camille Theveniau
Designer: Mariusz Kucharczyk
Sound Design: Chris Green, Sound Design
Head of QA: Dominic Berzins
QA Lead: Eve Acton, QA Lead
QA Senior Tester: Tom Watson, Ayesha Evans
QA Tester: Andrew Heraty
Executive Producer: Richard Rowe
Senior Producer: Emma Williamson
BBH Producer (Digital): Samuel Bowden
BBH Producer (Film): David Lynch
BBH Assistant Producer: Sarah Cooper
Production Company: Black Sheep Studios
Editor/Editing House: Black Sheep Studios
BBH Producer: Simon Taylor, Katie Callaghan