Nickelodeon is going back to the ‘90s at San Diego Comic-Con this year. And for the fourth time, the kids’ network is using virtual reality to market a show. This year, it’s Legends of the Hidden Temple that’s getting a new live action TV movie, along with a 360-degree experience brought to life through Samsung Gear VR for those who visit the 1,800 square-foot Nickelodeon booth on the convention floor.
Jaime Dictenberg, senior vice president of Nickelodeon Consumer Marketing, explains the lessons learned from marketing to Comic-Con attendees through virtual reality in this exclusive interview.
Why did you decide to use virtual reality with Legends of the Hidden Temple?
VR is generating interest from millennials, who remember the Legends of the Hidden Temple game show fondly from their own childhoods, so it was a perfect opportunity for us to reacquaint them with the property. We created a beautiful set for the movie, which is perfect for VR because it allows fans to fulfill the fantasy of stepping into the movie and exploring the Hidden Temple.
What’s the VR experience like?
The Legends VR experience is a guided tour from the game show’s original host Kirk Fogg, who reprises his role in the re-imagined movie. He walks viewers through the mysterious and sometimes spooky rooms within the Temple, and the audience is immersed in the temple environment as they explore the corridors of the Hidden Temple. Like the adventurers of our movie, they follow Olmec’s clues on a quest to find the animals from the original show and obtain the Pendant of Life.
Who produced it and how were the show creators involved?
Nickelodeon’s creative promotions team and Immersive Media partnered to produce the Legends 360-degree VR experience. Both teams worked closely with the movie production unit to ensure that the end product would be true to the upcoming movie and a great experience for fans that grew up with the original program.
How long an experience is it and what platform are you demonstrating it on and how many demos will there be at Comic-Con?
The experience is five minutes long and it will be showcased on four Samsung Gear VR units. The activation will be up and running at Nickelodeon’s booth every day of Comic-Con.
We’ve seen VR at Comic-Con for several years now. What role does this technology play in standing out from the crowd?
The VR technology has been around a few years, but utilizing VR as a storytelling medium is just getting started. Nickelodeon has a history of creating incredible characters and telling unforgettable stories, so our fans are eager to see us bring that expertise into the VR space. This will be one of the first hands-on experiences that many kids will have with VR. As far as millennials who’ve already had a chance to experience VR at Comic-Con, we’re betting that they’re more than willing to sign on for one more Temple run.
How has Nickelodeon worked with or learned from other VR experiences across the company?
This is Nickelodeon’s fourth time using 360-degree VR and we learn something new with each execution. Keeping the viewer engaged with both the story and the environment is key. We use Easter eggs, interactivity and sight and sound cues to direct the user’s attention and keep them engaged. Experiments in 360-degree storytelling are shared across Viacom so each network is free to experiment for their own audience, while leveraging best practices in technology, technique and vendors.
Can you detail the VR activation for Legends?
The experience transports fans into the world of the upcoming action-adventure TV movie inspired by the iconic game show. Virtual visitors to the Hidden Temple are guided through the dangerous corridors by none other than original series host, and official Temple tour guide, Kirk Fogg. After exploring several of the rooms and corridors, visitors will enter the epic Throne Room where King Olmec resides. He challenges adventurers to find the five iconic animals from the original series (like Orange Iguana, Purple Parrot, Red Jaguar, Silver Snake and Green Monkey), ultimately revealing the Pendant of Life that allows them to escape the temple. Visitors must hunt all around them, guided only by their keen eyes and Olmec’s cryptic clues. Especially eagle-eyed users will spot Easter eggs hidden throughout the entire Temple experience.
With a lot of retro celebration at Comic-Con this year, how big a push will the Legends show get?
Nickelodeon’s Comic-Con booth will offer several ways for fans to interact with and experience Legends of the Hidden Temple every day of the convention. In addition to a VR 360-degree experience that will transport fans into the world of the upcoming TV movie, Comic-Con attendees can also interact with Legends’ King Olmec and test their knowledge by answering trivia questions for the opportunity to win prizes. Also, on Saturday, July 23, returning cast members Kirk Fogg and Dee Bradley Baker, along with star of the new TV movie Isabela Moner, will appear on the “Back to the ‘90s” panel and sign autographs at the booth.
Can you explain what the live-action movie is about?
Drawing on the original game show’s premise of kids competing to retrieve artifacts from a mysterious Mayan temple, the upcoming Legends of the Hidden Temple action-adventure TV movie will follow three siblings who embark on a high-stakes, life-or-death mission. The TV movie will feature elements from the original game show including: Olmec, a talking head who knows the secrets behind the temple; the Steps of Knowledge, the entrance to the temple; and cameos from a green monkey, red jaguar and silver snakes, among others.
What role does Comic-Con play in the overall marketing of a movie like Legends?
With its diverse group of attendees, Comic-Con allows us to reach fans who grew up on the original show and potential new ones. We’re able to offer a deeper dive into the property through our activations at the booth like the Olmec trivia and the 360 VR, and the cast panel will give them a sneak peek at the movie featuring stars Kirk Fogg and Dee Bradley Baker from the original show.
Can you detail the trivia game activation for Legends?
Fans can interact with Legends of the Hidden Temple’s King Olmec and test their knowledge by answering trivia questions for the opportunity to win prizes.