WORK:

Future Publishing

Virtual Reality as a marketing tool for an international publisher.

Picture the scene, you’re in the foyer of one of the world’s leading magazine publishers, Future PLC. People are milling about, screens flash up images of their most popular publications and on the far side of the room you spot the lift. You get in and see that on each floor is a different strand of their business.

What do you do? You explore that’s what!

Future PLC approached us to create an innovative, VR experience for their B2B customers, which would reinforce their value proposition of ‘Discover, Purchase, Engage.’

The experience placed the user in a fictional and futuristic, Future Publishing headquarters and used the lift as a navigation device to give the user a deeper understanding of their proposition.

Future VR video edit

Using a lift meant that we could present a wide variety of content without the user having to navigate complex scenes making it perfect for a first-time VR user.

Once in the lift you can choose to go to whichever floor takes your fancy – except the roof which you can only access once you’ve been to other levels – but more about that later.

Technology level: robot

Technology level: robot

Games level: monster

Games level: monster

The first floor is the Tech floor and it’s like a sweetshop for gadget lovers! It’s full of gizmos, screens buzz and flicker with product messages, and robots approach speaking to you in a strange robotic language.

On the second floor you find Games. As the lift doors open you see ahead of you plinths with giant, slowly rotating holograms – a joystick, a space invader, a games controller, Pac-Man and a giant planet earth which takes centre stage. A monster appears, roaring and rearing up on its hind legs before being blasted by a soldier and retreating.

Lift schematic

Lift schematic

Lift modelled / textured

Lift modelled / textured

Design level: running man sequence

Design level: running man sequence

Up on third is the film floor. On the way there a voice in the lift tells you all about about their movie magazine Total Film. The doors open as a movie is beginning, an audience member shushes you and flings popcorn into the lift.

The design floor on four sees designers, developers and artists working away at their computers. A multicoloured mural at the back of the studio appears to move and suddenly a running man appears from it and legs it towards you, before exploding into a million chinks of light and colour.

The next floor is Photography and as the doors slide open they reveal a studio with a session underway. The walls are adorned with images, the set has lighting, kit and models doing their thing. The photographer turns and walks towards the lift before taking your picture then going back to work.

Photography level: photoshoot block out

Photography level: photoshoot block out

Photography level: photoshoot textured

Photography level: photoshoot textured

Now to the sixth where you’ll find music as the lift opens onto a cheering crowd at a concert. Thousands of lights flicker, a stage diver leaps into the crowd and the drummer starts banging out a beat ready for you to step forward and start singing. Alas though, it’s time to move on and the lift doors slide closed.

Having visited more than two floors, the roof is now unlocked so you head up there. Just then the lift starts to rattle. Sparks fly and the lights flicker before finally the walls fly away leaving you standing on a small square platform in the middle of outer space.

Below you, you can see the planet earth; a lone spaceman floats past as a comet hurtles through the cosmos. And then, out of nowhere, a voice, explaining how and why Future PLC are so engaged with their readership across all their publications. Finally the all important stats that highlight the strength of proposition to their B2B clients.

Lift begins to break apart

Lift begins to break apart

Space level: summary of user base facts & figures

Space level: summary of user base facts & figures

This innovative experience came with its own challenges, some technical, some artistic. First off we needed to address the position of the user in space. If you moved around in the experience everything became far more complicated so we devised a method where the world moved around the user instead. The lift was a great mechanism for this as everything happened outside this fixed space.

 

There is always a balance to be struck between the power of the tech you’re using and its cost and the Galaxy S7 didn’t quite have the speed or capacity required for a number of things. This is where artistic trickery came to the fore. Like any good magician we dealt in the theatre of the mind and there are a number of areas, that to the untrained eye, you wouldn’t notice where VR had been replaced with images or video to complete the look.

That being said, when it came to the VR we were all over it. The physics involved in simple things such as the popcorn flinging, and the sparking lift was significant let alone making the lift explode in zero gravity.

All in all, a slick marrying of concept, virtual reality, and art work made this an incredibly valuable tool for our clients.

“Their creative mindset is what makes Corporation Pop truly shine. They are cognizant of industry trends and create experiences that inspire imagination.”

Nada Khalil,
Head of Brand Marketing, Future PLC