Dive into the John Lewis Christmas Advert with a VR Experience at its Flagship Store

Christmas is synonymous with many things food, presents, decorated trees, rubbish films on repeat and awful music, plus some jolly guy in red. But it’s also become a season where advertisers and brands pullout all the stops for some memorable Christmas adverts. UK retailer John Lewis has become quite renowned for its festive advertising, and this year was no different, employing a trampoline, animals and barrels of seasonal fun. As apart of it visual effects studio MPC Creative partnered with adam&eveDDB to create a promotional virtual reality (VR) experience which is available at John Lewis’ flagship store on Oxford Street in London.

John Lewis Busters Garden

The special VR area’s called Buster’s Garden, and features an Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) combined with Leap Motion gesture controlled tracking, enabling visitors to interact with the animals, encouraging them to jump and bounce on the trampoline. The experience – which took 3,000 hours of specialist VFX artistry to develop – used Unreal Engine, but required bespoke hardware to run due to commercially available computers being unable to cope with the real-time rendering and graphics demands of the piece.

Andre Assalino, Interactive Creative Director at MPC Creative, said: “We wanted to create a premium, fun and authentic installation that would place people directly into an interactive version of the world already established within the TV ad. VR was the obvious medium, as its premise is profoundly simple: fully immersive entertainment allowing people to share a fun moment with the animals, resulting in a uniquely memorable experience.

“We had to push the boundaries of interactive VR to the limits”, Andre explains. “Creating a photo-realistic scene with believable furry animals, and natural interactions with virtually no learning curve for the user, were our biggest challenges. Add to that the complexity of making sure everything could run non-stop for the whole campaign in one of the UK’s busiest stores, and things really get interesting.”

Head down to the London store to try it for yourself, and for all the latest VR news keep reading VRFocus.