Audi’s Ambitious Mixed-Reality Game Pushes the Limits of Branded VR

The futuristic activation is a promotional stunt for the automaker's electric car

Players in a Tron-esque VR game
Audi designed a Tron-esque VR challenge. Audi/DDB
Headshot of Patrick Kulp

Audi is doubling down on the “Tron” part of its E-tron electric vehicle brand with a new “hyper-reality” experiential space that seems to channel the futuristic ethos of Disney’s classic sci-fi adventure film.

Open for just two three-week stints in Madrid now, and later in Barcelona, the interactive space features a series of puzzles and challenges designed for teams of three to four contestants each outfitted with virtual-reality glasses and motion sensors. Agency DDB Spain designed the experience in partnership with production house Glassworks to promote the automaker’s latest electric models.

The creators say the experience is different from similar mixed-reality campaigns thanks to the sophistication of its motion-capture system, which transposes the movements of human participants into the virtual world of the game. It also involves an algorithm that creates a full-body avatar of each player and an actor who accompanies participants in the role of a “travel advisor” robot. All told, the system requires 36 cameras and 28 sensors.

“Audi e-tron represents the future of mobility, [so] our creative proposal had to be equally innovative,” DDB Spain executive creative director Jaume Badia wrote in a statement. “The way to do this was through the only hyper-reality experience of its kind in the world, which is receiving the praise of many industry experts.”

Anyone can sign up online to participate as sessions are opened on a weekly basis through riddles on Audi Spain’s social media accounts. The space, called “Future Paradox,” will be open from Oct. 24 to Nov. 13 in Madrid and then from Jan. 27 to Feb. 16 in Barcelona.

Audi has experimented with mixed-reality tech before, notably in what it claimed was the first television commercial to include an augmented-reality component and a VR experience made from real vehicle data.

@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.