Meet Nosulus Rift, the Smell VR Gear Powering Farts for a 'South Park' Video Game

Buzzman Creates New Gear for Ubisoft Game

Published On
Aug 18, 2016

Editor's Pick

For months, Paris-based agency Buzzman has spent a lot of time thinking about flatulence.

The team was looking for "the smell of the perfect fart, the universal fart," says Buzzman's president and executive creative director, Georges Mohammed-Chérif. It created 20 to 25 sample odors designed to mimic the smell of someone passing gas. It even tapped perfumers -- referred to in French as "noses" -- to concoct it. This all culminated in an unusual product: a virtual reality mask to infuse the nasal passages with odor.

The mask has many potential future uses, but the first is for video game maker Ubisoft, which is using it to promote a "South Park" game that involves a character who farts a lot.

About a year ago, the independent ad agency launched a new department, Productman, for creating products. It has had success with that in the past; for Mondelez brand Milka, for example, it dreamed up chocolate bars with one square missing, giving people the option of sending the piece to a friend. Ten-year-old Buzzman, whose clients also include Burger King, Ikea and Chinese tech company Huawei, was Ad Age's International Small Agency of the Year in 2011.

Productman was freshly formed when Buzzman had a meeting with Ubisoft, the creator of "Assassin's Creed," "Far Cry" and other games. The company was creating a "South Park" video game, which featured existing characters but also a new one, a kid whose flatulence gives him superpowers. Passing gas can teletransport him elsewhere. The game is called "South Park: The Fractured But Whole," which makes more sense when you say it out loud.

Agency creatives "got it into their head to do something about farts," said Mr. Mohammed-Chérif, even though "in advertising, it's usually not recommended to do anything involving farting."

The winning idea was the mask, the first release from the Productman division. It's a sort of Oculus Rift for the nose, which the agency dubbed Nosulus Rift. Mr. Mohammed-Chérif says the agency consulted with the Oculus Rift team about the name and "they were a bit flattered that we were referencing them," given the "South Park" connection. (A news report appears to confirm this.)

The mask delivers puffs of odor when it detects an ultrasound signal coming from the game. The scent goes away quickly, and doesn't bother others.

To put the project together, the team tapped chemists, software engineers, industrial designers and professional "noses" more accustomed to creating perfumes. "I sniffed more than 1,000 farts before mixing the right odor," Isabelle Ferrand, a nose, says in a promotional video. Her team tried out odors including onion, cabbage and chorizo to come up with the formula, which it dubbed "Fart No. 3."

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Aug 18, 2016
President and Creative Director:
Georges Mohammed-Cherif
Vice President:
Thomas Granger
Associate Director:
Julien Levilain
Creative Director:
Louis Audard
Creative Director:
Tristan Daltroff
Artistic Director:
Louis Audard
Tristan Daltroff
Assistant Art Director:
Jennyfer Arduin
Account Manager:
Thomas Crouzet
Senior Strategic Planner:
Clément Scherrer
Head of Innovation:
François Phan
Head of Digital:
François Phan
Digital Producer:
Smir Semaoune
Producer Assistant:
Soufiane Lahlou
Head of TV:
Vanessa Barbel
TV Producer:
Benoit Crouet
Head of Social Media:
Julien Scaglione
Social Media Manager:
Loris Bernardini
Head of Communications:
Amlie Juillet
Head of PR:
Amlie Juillet
Communication and P.R. Manager:
Clara Bascoul-Gauthier
President and Creative Director:
Georges Mohammed-Chrif
Vice President:
Thomas Granger
Head of Operations:
François Phan
Creative Development Director:
Thomas Ceccaldi
Louis Audard
Tristan Daltroff
Hardware Engineer:
Valentin Squirelo
Software Developer:
Constantin Clauzel
Charles Passet
Industrial Designer:
Benjamin Sabourin
Industrial Designer:
Nicolas Marquis
Isabelle Ferrand
Sarah Burri
Cinquieme Sens
Digital Studio:
Neuvieme page
Senior Vice President, Marketing:
Geoffrey Sardin
Vice President, Marketing:
Guillaume Carmona
Marketing Associate:
François-Xavier Deniele
Brand Manager:
Louis Trupin
Digital Marketing Manager:
VAlentin Pasquier Desvignes
PR Manager:
Thomas Beaufils
Les Improductibles
Executive Producer:
Yann Girard
Production Director:
Aurelie Chevalier
Benoît Pétré

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