Virtual reality was the talk of the 2016 Cannes Lions festival. But in truth, most VR entries were underwhelming. The Film jury, for example, gave out just one Lion (a bronze) to a VR project, and jury president Joe Alexander openly admitted it was almost a token award to ensure VR was represented among the winners.
The glaring exception, though, was McCann New York's "Field Trip to Mars" for Lockheed Martin. Even more advanced than regular VR, this was a group VR experience that took schoolchildren on a virtual tour of Mars by rigging a school bus with all sorts of incredible tech to make the view out the windows look and feel like the Martian landscape, not the Washington, D.C., streets that the bus was actually driving down.
The project won 19 Lions, more than any other single piece of work at Cannes this year. And it did so in 11 categories—from Cyber to PR to Entertainment to Innovation—showing how broadly the work crossed into different disciplines.
Adweek sat down with McCann executive creative director Dan Donovan, as well as Alexander Rea and Theo Jones of Framestore, which handled a lot of the tech, to learn more about the project—how such a high-tech execution managed to deliver a seamless and magical experience for the kids.