Proving once again there is no bandwagon advertising won't jump on, regardless of whether it's germane to the brand, Team One, Lexus and ABC created the first ever scripted VR experience for ABC's new show Quantico. There are myriad ways you can watch it including via Youtube, on your Apple TV, on mobile, or your VR headset. And I know most of you have one.
You can also check out the embedded three and a half minute film below. Explore how two FBI trainees take down a bad guy in a club as part of their training mission. There also also two Easter eggs that can be found while scanning the footage. The first unlocks bonus footage from the mid-season premiere. And the second which is visible in the headset, gives you some backstory about the characters' motives. Oh yeah, there's also Lexus LX 570 SUV in it.
Not sure how it is on the headset but to watch on Apple TV requires me to download an extra app which i'm not going to do, same with mobile. I watched it on Youtube. Have to say, the VR experience gets in the way of the "storytelling." It doesn't make me "feel like I'm right there," so much as make me feel like I'm moving the screen around while other people do stuff.
For another, the big issue is the show itself. Admittedly this is not the fault of Team One or Lexus, and having worked on branded content with networks before, I can safely say you are at the mercy of the content, and the willingness of the shows' writers to be collaborative. If I were Lexus I don't know that I'd want my brand associated with such forgettable content like Quantico.
Let's take the premise of the show: Rookie FBI agent crime drama. How on Earth did this rare unicorn of a premise ever get green lighted? The characters seem ready made for prime-time in that they couldn't be more cliché if they tried. Quantico. Starring: The Tough No-Nonsense Girl With A Chip On Her Shoulder. The Dude Bro She Used To Date. The Wisenheimer Driver. The Latino Bad Guy.
As for the actors...that word might be a bit generous. The minute the woman looked at "me," and said "listen up noobie," I was pretty much done.
Questionable content aside, I'd also like to point out that the Lexus SUV, when you do see it, doesn't look all that great. I tried looking around the car whilst in the experience. Again, maybe if I had a headset strapped to my head it would be different, but looking at it on Youtube, I couldn't tell you if I was in a Lexus or a GMC Jimmy. And do FBI rookies generally go around driving in SUV's that start at $88,000 MSRP?
I realize most of this critique is about the show. But Lexus chose to partner with Quantico. There must have been a reason for it, right? As far as prototypes go at least Lexus can say it was first scripted VR experience. Conde Nast has developed shows and so has SyFy but they aren't out yet.
I'll tell you what the best experience would be for me at this point. If the ad world stopped confusing execution with idea. Because this is all of the former and none of the latter You can call it branded content, but that doesn't give you a pass on strategy or relevance. Next brainstorm, just start with the ideas. You can even wear your headset while you concept, I don't care. Please, can we try to make that a reality?
Agency: Team One
Executive Creative Director: Alastair Green
Group Creative Director: Jason Stinsmuehlen
Associate Creative Director: Jon King
Creative Technologist: Mike Rozycki
Account Director: Joel Dons
Account Supervisor: Trina Sethi
Associate Media Director: Elaine Evangelista
Media Supervisor: Noopur Chhabra
Public Relations Account Supervisor: Kat Kirsch
Senior Producer: Chad Bauer
Social Media Account Director – Meredith Gruen
Social Media Account Supervisor – Robin Watkins
Media Partner: ABC
VP & Creative Director: Jeffrey Weinstock
Director, Integrated Marketing: Chris Powers
ECD, Entertainment Marketing: Charlie Bowyer
Senior Manager, Integrated Marketing: Meg Smith
Digital Account Executive: Tara Smith
Production Company: UNIT 9
Director: Jonathan Pearson
Executive Producer: Luca De Laurentiis
UK Production Manger: Kane Phillips
VR Lead Tech: David Crone
VR Tech Assistant: Chris Belcher
Post Production Supervisor: Zlaten Del Castillo
Production Company: Wee Beastie
Executive Producer: Monica Hinden
Executive Producer: Josh Shurtleff
Line Producer: Monica Monique
Production Manager: Vlad Doclin