During the 2016 October School Holidays, over 10,000 families nationwide in New Zealand engaged with the Green Fairy both in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Up until July 2016, the team at Conical had produced a prototype to what later was known as New Zealand’s First Virtual Reality Movie: a sit down gaze-based experience for Virtual Reality, complemented by an Augmented Reality colouring app and fairy house.
We had long queues of people eager to try out the technology and meet the Green Fairy. Our weekend launch at Auckland Libraries in partnership with the Auckland City Council was a big hit July 2016, as well as our weekend showcase at MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) before delving into the ambitious Wesftield Malls rollout nationwide. We had other showcases at various tech-related events such as Semi-Permanent between July and October.
At the Auckland Libraries we were able to test the final turnaround for the total duration of the experience as a whole. We used the Augmented Reality colouring in activity as a tool for families to wait in line before trying out the VR Story Experience. We also had a few VR Stations manned by our team to get as many people through as possible. It was advantageous that the total duration of the VR Experience was 3 – 4 minutes. The total duration varied each time depending on the user, because the experience was interactive, allowing the users to move the story forward at will.
Welcome to the Experiential Age.
One of the biggest learnings from our 2016 rollout is that we have entered a different era - the age of broadcast is coming to an end and we are now living in a time where everyone thinks they’re special and they deserve the best. Instead of being passive viewers of media, we found that audiences of all ages and ethnicities waited in line for as long as it took in order to experience the Green Fairy's story. By having the Green Fairy accessible with our VR and AR content, families were able to experience and engage fully with her as a character.
It is important not to confuse that our VR Experience was made for True VR and not 360° video. People who try VR for the first time can make the mistake of trying 360° video first and think it’s VR. This happens because 360° video can be accessed through mobile devices which are more accessible than game-engine based head mounted displays. It worked to our advantage that when people tried out the Green Fairy in True VR, because they couldn’t quite tell why it looked better or “felt more real”, when comparing it to the “VR” experiences they had tried before.
In our Augmented Reality colouring app we gave audiences agency to participate and make the AR fairy house theirs. The Green Fairy would then come in and check it off from the kids to make sure they did a good job. We learned a lot about play patterns in children and what they ended up doing with the fairy houses afterwards, finding different uses for them besides giving the Green Fairy a home. It was important for us to introduce families to the Green Fairy first in Augmented Reality so they would become familiar with her, and later get to know her in VR as she told her story.
We had a third component in our marketing rollout which was to give a chance to families to step into the Green Fairy’s home. We created a detailed room in VR which included all the elements found in the AR app which they had just coloured in.
Our team was featured on the TV3 Newshub segment during our Auckland Libraries activation for breaking ground in releasing New Zealand’s First VR Movie. This led to a ripple effect across the country, opening conversations with government grants for VR/AR as well as being one of the pioneers in developing a Language of Storytelling for this medium. The Green Fairy project has now received funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, to revamp the project and take it to market in Q1 2018.
The Westfield Malls campaign was a huge success after The Green Fairy was on national television, appearing on Newshub in July 2016. Our team toured the malls in October with VR stations, AR colouring in activities, and AR photo competitions with the help of our partner agency at Luminary and the support of Westfield.
Overall it was our goal to give as much value to families who were wishing to experience immersive technologies giving them a chance to get hands on with it after hearing all about the arrival of VR and AR over the past few months.
Visit the Green Fairy’s Facebook page HERE to watch more videos and learn more about our 2016 Experiential Campaign.