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Smurfs: The Lost Village

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Insight

Smurfs have been a beloved entity for decades and the films are more wondrously crafted with every release. Sony Pictures needed to futureproof the franchise. It did this by creating something that had never been done before, with a technology that is only just scratching the surface of its commercial potential. 

By partnering with Microsoft HoloLens, OMD was able to develop an unforgettable experience for fans and their parents. The Augmented Reality experience had to be so unbelievably immersive and “realistic” that fans couldn’t help but feel like they were really there. and that is exactly what it did. 

Strategy

Smurfs, “The Lost Village” was one of the biggest releases for Sony Pictures in 2017. The brand wanted nothing more than to bring the magic of the Smurfs from the big screen to life in the most cutting edge way possible. The agency used the emerging technology of the Hololens to create a world as delightful as the movie and characters themselves, except in this version, it invited fans to become completely immersed in it. It’s gamification, Augmented Reality and entertainment all in one unforgettable experience.

With a focus on the target audience (kids!), OMD partnered with AOL and Unit9 to artfully construct a Smurf world that they could explore. Every child who donned the headset would become fully immersed in a reality beyond their imagination, and with Papa Smurf, as their guide, they were able to go on a gamified adventure unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.

First and foremost, it wanted to invite fans to bring their movie to life in front of their eyes. Because HoloLens is such a new device for the mass market and embeds new ways of interacting, it needed to make sure that the experience felt intuitive.

In addition to this, it wanted to appeal to a broader, adult audience who would also engage with this content. The experience was therefore designed to act as a powerful PR tool that delighted fans along the way. 

Execution

OMD wanted to build a AR experience of the HoloLens that pushed the boundaries of technological artistry to excite the core target audience, as well as broader, adult fans of the franchise.

The experience itself is a gamified version of the movie in which users are led by Papa Smurf and encouraged to explore the world, unlocking hidden content. It was tested countless times to ensure it delighted children—exciting them with something they’d never experienced before and allowing them to immerse themselves in one of their favourite films.

The agency painstakingly crafted the characters and environment from the animation, to create an augmented reality experience the fans of the film would never forget. Together they set out to create a universe that would feel even more delightful than the film itself to create a unique experience for fans. The experience was designed to perfectly emulate the film and pay homage to the beloved Smurf characters.

Fans of the film would also have the chance to experience the game, behind the scenes. OMD created a 2 min video of the behind the scenes build that went into creating the experience. The content featured exclusive footage from the films itself, alongside game play from the users perspective. 

This footage, alongside a 30 second cut down edit was seeded across the AOL network and BeOn Influencer and Editorial universe to reach the core and expansion audience online. 

Results

Reach: Behind the scenes content resulting in 20.8 Million Impressions and 15.9 Million video views with an astounding 62% video completion rate.

Engagement: There was incredible PR pick-up, with stories featuring in The Drum, M&M Global & Mashable, among many others. These stories generated over 40m media impressions and 15.5m organic social impressions.

Impact: It offered moviegoers a glimpse into the future of branded entertainment, while generating industry buzz and showcasing an exciting use of MR technology suitable for audiences young and old. 

This was a ground breaking example of the future of storytelling in mixed reality for entertainment brands, showing how 3D characters can be brought to life in your own home, driving interest and awareness of Smurfs: The Lost Village globally.

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