The San Diego Comic-Con is an interactive playground for pop culture fans, and this year’s event included experiential marketing that extended to AR/VR. Visitors to SDCC and the surrounding area were treated to a number of virtual experiences to promote everything from TV and gaming to the biggest upcoming films.
Walking Dead, Posing Fans
AMC partnered with Mountain Dew to create The Walking Dead Encounter—an AR app that allowed fans to pose with virtual walkers (zombies) and take pictures to share on social media. The encounter was part of AMC’s Fan Hub, complete with replica sets from the hit TV series, photo ops and wandering walkers to keep fans on their toes as they wait for Season Eight to air this fall.
— Aaron Matthew Kaiser (@aaronkaiser) July 23, 2017
Legion Of Fans
FX gave Legion fans the chance to try out the HoloLens and step into the mind of show protagonist, David Haller. Sessions: The Legion Mixed Reality Experience combined actors, environments and augmented reality to recreate key scenes in the show’s first season, as well as a sneak peek at Season Two. Naturally, the experience became a photo op for social sharing.
— BillythebrickCosplay (@billythebrick) July 23, 2017
Marveling At VR
Of course, Marvel was a major presence at the largest comic fan gathering of the year and had its newly announced VR game in tow. Marvel Powers United VR lets players assume the role of some of Marvel’s famous super heroes including Deadpool, Rocket Raccoon, Captain Marvel and The Incredible Hulk. Fans lined up to strap on an Oculus Rift headset and try the game for themselves before it releases in 2018.
Demigorgons, Zombies And Ghosts—Oh, My
In anticipation for Season 2 of Stranger Things, Netflix brought its VR/360-degree experience to the nearby Hilton Gaslamp—transporting fans to the infamous living room of Joyce Byers with Christmas lights and all. The experience was nominated for an Emmy this year in the Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Within A Scripted Program category.
Universal brought its VR movie tie-in experience The Mummy: Prodigium Strike—a shooting game where players are equipped with a plastic VR rifle and are challenged to repel a horde of zombies.
Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul was on display at the nearby Omni Hotel, where guests could step into the terrifying world of Paramount’s popular horror franchise.
— PAVRGAME (@pavrgame) July 22, 2017
Creepy Clowns And Replicant Hunting
Speaking of scary, those looking to tackle their fear of clowns could venture onto a creepy bus for FLOAT: A Cinematic VR Experience to promote the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s IT.
Perhaps the most talked-about and elaborate VR activation was Warner Bros.’ Blade Runner 2049 Experience. Inside a small theater, guests donned Gear VR headsets and were whisked away on a futuristic car chase through the city in pursuit of a replicant driver. Rumble seats, headphones and wind made the experience totally immersive until the users’ Spinners (flying cars) crash land onto the street. When the VR headsets were removed, users found themselves inside the recreated world of Blade Runner 2049, complete with elaborate sets and actors. Visitors were screened to make sure they weren’t replicants as colorful characters hung out in a noodle restaurant or lingered nearby.
The experience featured an art gallery that included props from both the new and original films and a Johnnie Walker bar serving whisky in test tubes.
As VR matures and becomes more widely adopted, experiences like these will keep fans talking for many more Comic-Cons to come.