Ralph Creative on Chainsmokers VR… and Breaking Bad?

What is the best use case for virtual reality in branded content?

It looks like creative agencies are being asked to find new and innovative ways to incorporate new technologies in order to interact with audiences and customers for brands. This is exactly how Chainsmokers Paris.VR was conceived. Chris Hassell, the founder of Ralph Creative discusses how they dipped their toes in virtual reality (VR) and teases on future augmented reality (AR) and VR projects they’re working on.

Ralph Creative started twelve years ago as a digital agency which, most recently, started to get involved with live events. This led them to nabbing Sony Corporation as one of their clients. With Sony’s involvement not just in the PlayStation VR, but within the music and audio hardware industries, Ralph Creative set out to find a new way of experiencing music through VR as part of Sony’s LostInMusic event.

Hassell explains how the concept of Chainsmokers Paris.VR came from a brand campaign perspective. One thing they did know was that they specifically wanted developers to help them build the experience rather than developers who could build 3D and bring it into VR. They were looking for videogame developers who would be able to build a solid engine for the experience. They soon found Brynley Gibson who had recently left Sony’s London Studio for Kuju and approached him on working on the project. With Kuju on board and Gibson’s knowledge of VR Chainsmokers Paris.VR came out as a well-polished final product. It went on to win Best Branded VR Experience at the Raindance Festival VRX Awards and has been downloaded around the world through the PlayStation Store.

“I remember showing them a preview build and it kinda clicked with them, and they’re like oh right.” Hassell explains, “So it’s remixing as I’m looking around and depending on what I’m looking at and what choices I’m making as we go through the different routes, and I was like yeah! That’s what it was always supposed to be!”.

He adds that the moment they realised what the experience was, they wanted to add more remix stems in order to create more variations of the music. Hassell also says that even though users might not like the music or musicians, there was a lot of appreciation for the experience because it was a new way of experiencing music. VR had truly enhanced the way of listening to music. VRFocus previously discussed the Chainsmokers Paris.VR experience with Gibson and the importance of videogame knowledge when building VR experiences.

When asked about using VR for branded content, Hassell points out that asking a brand to creative a VR experience is difficult. Not only do you have to build a world from the ground up, but it’s a big investment. Why would a brand do that? For Sony it makes sense because the experiences promote their technology and platform. However, for a soft drinks brand it would not. In turn, when it comes to AR there’s no sealed off bubble. It’s adding information on top of an existing world, which would make more sense for a product. He explains that Ralph Creative are currently working with a UK high street restaurant chain that is using AR to enhance the dining experience – avoiding the dragging of taking children away from their parents.

It also looks like Ralph Creative might be doing something with previously shot footage of hit television show Breaking Bad, at least based on one particular tease dropped in the interview.

“There’s a big show, a show that was big a few years ago that was about a chemistry teacher that may turn ‘bad’, in some ways. I can’t possibly say which show it is, but it is set in Alberque. We did some great work for that a few years ago that was world expanding stuff and that we did online episodes that we did interactive, personalised experiences with the lead character. And so, we’re looking at potentially re-using some of that footage in a more modern 360 degree way, so we’re playing with that at the moment.”

It is not confirmed whether this is a new, separate experience or the Breaking Bad experience mentioned last summer as being in the works for PlayStation VR. VRFocus will keep you informed. To find out more about Ralph Creative, watch the video below.

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