As Rio de Janeiro hosted its first World Cup game in a newly renovated Maracana Stadium packed with Brazilian and international tourists, protesters criticizing the billions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on the games were met with tear gas and a live round of ammunition.
It is within this frenetic context that Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Nike launched brand experiences for World Cup fans unperturbed by the protests.
A short distance from the protests and just behind Maracana stadium, Coca-Cola has unveiled a four-story house where visitors check out the view from the roof, peek in on the Coca-Cola.fm studio, strap into a virtual experience scoring the winning goal on the field, and of course, browse the gift shop and pick up a free Coke on their way out.
Visitors are let in 22 at a time and guided through the house from roof to gift shop in timed increments. The main attraction is the locker room, where you buckle your seat belt, put on Coke goggles, and enter a virtual reality of cartoon soccer players heading onto the pitch to the roar of thousands of cheering fans. Next thing you know your teammate is passing you the ball and you're in the game.