Through New Year's, we'll be counting down the best work of the year in TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Outdoor/Design and Interactive/Integrated (IX) as our picks of the day.
2016 was a big year for VR in the brand world. And while many were largely focused on creating solitary experiences, Lockheed Martin and McCann New York conceived a "group VR" trip for children -- all the way to Mars, our No. 5 pick for best of the year in integrated and interactive ideas.
McCann New York and Framestore transformed an ordinary yellow schoolbus into a "bus to Mars" in a virtual reality experience for aeronautical giant Lockheed Martin, as part of its "Generation Beyond" project to introduce kids to space travel.
As a group of kids travelled to Washington DC's USA Science and Engineering Festival, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the windows of their bus screened 200 square miles of Martian surface, faithfully replicated by Framestore using virtual reality technology. The system even enabled the view to change and turn when the bus turned -- and the class didn't need to wear headsets or 3D glasses, making this what McCann calls a "group VR" experience.
The effort also includes a Hello Mars smartphone app, that lets kids travel to the planet virtually, find it in the sky and receive real-time Mars weather reports. Generation Beyond is Lockheed Martin's national educational program to bring the science of space into homes and classrooms across America. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, explorers, inventors and pioneers to pursue STEM careers.