Virtual reality is great for getting closer to things. And for so many young people, it doesn't get much better than getting close to celebrity athletes and superheroes.
72andSunny's new Samsung campaign has plenty of both, thanks to the client's stable of star atheletes and its partnership with Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The centerpiece is a two-minute VR experience for the Galaxy S6 and Gear VR Headset in which you're placed dead center in the middle of a battle between the Avengers and Ultron robots.
Adweek previewed the impressive VR experience last week. (It will be available for download later today at the Oculus Store.) Those without a Gear headset can still get an approximation of it, though. The YouTube video below was designed as a 360-degree experience—if you watch it on an Android device, you can move the phone around in all directions and see difference parts of the room as the action unfolds:
For the 72andSunny creatives, it was a nice way to continue to experiment in the burgeoning VR space. "It's kind of like looking at a sculpture instead of looking at a photograph," partner and executive creative director Bryan Rowles said. "You have to make sure everything is moving and interesting at all times."
The larger campaign, themed "We Are Greater Than I," is part of the Galaxy S6 launch globally and is built around the idea of teamwork. That's a theme for Samsung across its sports and entertainment projects, and it's a theme of The Avengers as well—thus, the partnership was nice conceptual fit.
72andSunny also made two cinematic films for the campaign, directed by DNA's Marc Webb, in which four celebrity athletes and two superfans are recruited to be Avengers themselves. The athletes include official Samsung endorsers Lionel Messi, surfer John John Florence and cyclist Fabian Cancellara—as well as Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (who isn't a Samsung athlete but who got the gig mostly because wears a Hulk Under Armour compression shirt under his football jersey).
Check out those films here:
"We didn't want the films to be dead ends," said Rowles. "That's where the virtual reality experience came about. You get to experience this campaign, not just watch a film about it."
The third piece of the campaign extends to the real world, as Samsung is distributing 1,000 briefcases globally that will have a Galaxy S6 in it, plus the VR goggles with the Avengers VR experience preloaded on the phone.
Many more people will see the films than experience the VR. But Jamie Park, head of experiential marketing at Samsung Mobile headquarters in South Korea, tells Adweek that even limited reach with the VR can have a remarkable effect.
"We've seen a growing interest from studios around the additive experience VR can deliver to fan engagement," Park said. "We have been partnering with other brands to help create VR storytelling content, and you will continue to see more of that in the future. We believe that a single great experience can create an enormously positive impact that will help strengthen both brands and build long-term customer loyalty."