Merrell Thrills and Frightens People With a Crazy Oculus Rift Mountainside Hike

First 'walk around' commercial VR experience

Headshot of Tim Nudd

You know you've designed a good Oculus Rift virtual reality experience when people emerge from it squealing in delight and with their knees trembling.

Hiking boot brand Merrell did one such activation at Sundance last month, partnering with Rolling Stone magazine to create the Merrell TrailScape—an immersive journey that had people feeling like they were walking around a crumbling ledge and over a treacherous wooden bridge high in the mountains.

The experience—which Merrell says was the first commercial use of "walk around" virtual reality—was created by Merrell agency Hill Holliday and designed by Framestore. The latter is the Oscar-winning effects house that worked on Gravity and also famously did the Oculus activation for HBO's Game of Thrones at South by Southwest last March. (It later opened a whole VR and immersive content studio.)

Check out the experience below, which was timed to the introduction of Merrell's most technical hiking boot to date, the Capra.


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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.