By Tim Nudd
July 18, 2016
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.
Working with VR and special effects studio Framestore, McCann converted an ordinary yellow school bus into a one-of-a kind space experience. From the outside, it looked like any other old bus. Inside, it became a vehicle that transported students across the surface of the red planet.
“With VR, you always think it’s goggles and glasses,” says McCann senior producer Chance Bassett. “But there’s nothing in the definition that says goggles and glasses. That’s just so far how we’ve been able to do it. This just opens up a whole new world. It’s VR without being isolated, which just is amazing because as humans we experience things together.”
The campaign let Lockheed Martin highlight its space-exploration efforts while also inspiring a future class of astronauts. It was the single most awarded campaign this year at Cannes, winning 19 Lions—five gold, seven silver, six bronze and one Innovation Lions award—across 11 categories, including cyber, PR, entertainment and innovation.
Check out the Virtual Tour!