Many a customer would have wished to could ride alongside Hiccup and Astrid on the back of a dragon, soaring high in the sky and swooping over incredible landscapes. Walmart and DreamWorks Animation are making this a reality – a virtual reality – through an exclusive, first-of-its-kind immersive V-commerce activation tied to the theatrical release of ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’.
Ahead of the film’s release on 22nd February, 2018, the ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Virtual Tour’, powered by HP, Intel and Positron, will visit select Walmart parking lots in the US. Spatial&, a V-commerce startup focused on creating next generation merchandising experiences using technology and storytelling tools, collaborated with DreamWorks Animation to create this VR-driven shopping event designed to foster one-on-one relationships with the film’s characters. As part of this, the tour will feature ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ merchandise, available for purchase in a branded, immersive gift shop.
“Spatial& was founded on the belief that VR will transform merchandising and retail and we can’t wait to finally share this uniquely immersive shopping experience with consumers across the US,” said Katie Finnegan, CEO, Spatial&.
CREATING BONDS THAT LAST
The experience, directed by Kurt Mattila and Gil Zimmerman and produced by Armand Weeresinghe, begins in an onboarding room where the film’s mischievous twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut greet guests, setting the scene for the adventure. Participants are then led into a dragon’s cave to suit up in headsets, and sit in specialized Positron motion VR chairs powered by the HP VR backpack, before embarking on a life-like five-minute journey through the Hidden World with the help of Astrid, Hiccup, Toothless, Hookfang and more.
This activation gives everyone, ages eight and up, the opportunity to interact with ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ characters through immersive real-world sound, motion and sensory cues. Viewers are drawn fully into the experience physically and emotionally, creating deep bonds with the dragons and characters they encounter along the way.
“We have set an extremely high bar for quality and innovation for the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ franchise, and our partners at Spatial& exceeded our expectations with their incredible work on this project,” said Abhijay Prakash, chief operating officer of DreamWorks Feature Animation.
“The How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Virtual Tour is a great opportunity for our customers to engage with this franchise. It’s also the most recent example of how Walmart uses emerging technologies, including VR, to enhance the experiences of shoppers across the country,” said Scott McCall, Senior VP for entertainment, toys and seasonal, Walmart U.S. “Customers will also get a preview of the exciting new products available at Walmart for How to Train Your Dragon fans of all ages at the great prices customers expect from Walmart.”
Following the VR experience, participants are guided into a ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ themed gift shop where they can purchase memorabilia featuring the characters they befriended and created deep connections with during the activation. Items for sale include everything, from plush toys to action figures to franchise DVDs and video games. Select merchandise from the collection will be available in 2,000 Walmart stores nationwide and on its ecommerce site.