To help high school athletes understand the importance of hydration on and off the field, Gatorade has created a virtual reality football training game starring Peyton Manning.
This week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Gatorade and its agency partner OMD previewed “Beat the Blitz,” which used Microsoft’s holographic technology to capture Manning in VR and let players learn from the five-time NFL MVP. After the game—expected to be released in February—players learn from Manning about how dehydration hurts the body’s heart and brain.
“I almost equate it like going from radio to moving images,” said Dario Raciti, U.S. director of Zero Code. “All of a sudden you have something that’s moving on the screen and you have the voice. VR is the same way. You really have to understand how the brain works and how you trick the brain into thinking they’re somewhere else.”
This isn’t the first time Gatorade has experimented with VR. In 2015, it created a baseball game with Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper. However, that game didn’t have an interactive component like the one with Manning. (Because not everyone has a headset at home, Gatorade plans to partner with schools and sports camps to give more athletes a chance to try the experience.)
“We wanted to be sure that there was more interactivity built into the experience,” said Michael Smith, Gatorade’s head of digital strategy. “So that’s where the ramification of the quarterback drills game came from so the users are not just immersed in the environment but actually interact with it.”