Entering a lift at the 13th floor and to have it crash down to the ground as part of a Halloween experience helped Fanta make its brand more relevant to 16-to 19-year-olds.
This marked a departure from Fanta’s TV-focused global approach, with the VR element chosen primarily because of its appeal to a young audience, the ‘cool’ factor associated with the technology and the desire to position the brand as a facilitator of Halloween fun. The Coca-Cola-owned brand also identified it as an untapped opportunity within the category to make a splash.
With just six weeks to create the campaign, Fanta worked with MediaCom’s content division, MediaCom Beyond Advertising, creative agency Kode Media, and partner TrojanVR to develop and create 360° elements. Create Productions brought the experiential installation to life.
"Halloween is the one time of the year when we can all unleash our creative selves and embrace everything fun about the freakish and frightening," says Rosalind Brown, marketing manager at Coca-Cola GB.
Fanta didn’t want to just create a buzz, it wanted to build a relationship between the drink and its customers. Halloween was deemed the perfect season to do this because of its broad popularity.
"For Fanta’s younger audience we knew that experiences trump products," says Julia Black, business director at MediaCom. "This is often driven by fear of missing out; they are constantly looking for unique, exclusive events that they can use as social currency on their feeds."
An element of experiential activity, sitting at the heart of the campaign, ticked all the boxes. It also gave the brand an opportunity to bring the fright element of Halloween to life and create unforgettable experiences.
An extra dimension
A physical VR experience ran across two locations in the UK – from 13 October to 1 November at Thorpe Park and 13 October to 28 October at Westfield Stratford, with three large lifts at each site.
Users entered a physical lift cab that transformed into an immersive Halloween experience. Each ‘ride’ lasted for four minutes, during which the user stopped at different floors, each presenting a different scene.
On one floor, for example, something came forth from the shadows in an otherwise unassuming corridor; on another a shadowy figure was transported from a bank of flickering television screens into the confines of the lift.
4D elements added to the excitement for users, with a true-to-life vibration from the floor when the lift stopped at the various levels, and a whoosh of air as the virtual doors opened.
"VR was a clever way for us to provide an unforgettable experience during Halloween," Black says. "VR was the centrepiece to create this fully immersive experience [with] 4D elements to heighten the feeling of audiences being there."
Success would mean delivering the experience to more than just a handful of people. While the full experience was location-based, it was also available to view online, along with footage from the experience and a VR shoot; this was used to drive traffic to a dedicated landing page on the Fanta website where users could watch a video.
This enabled younger audiences worldwide to watch it online via YouTube, with a broader social plan adding an extra layer to the campaign. The entire campaign ran from 1 October to 1 November.
Alongside this, Snapcodes on specially-designed Halloween Fanta cans unlocked increasingly scary Halloween filters and lenses, which were also featured on out-of-home advertising. The campaign was amplified with a series of gifs, stills and reaction videos.
"The limited-edition Fanta cans and bottles, exclusive Snapchat partnership and VR tech all came together to add a bit of drama and intrigue to the ‘fright-night’ season," Brown adds.
Expect the unexpected
Black says that the "13th Floor" was so unexpected because it built the suspense with audiences and created an entirely unique experience, while the use of VR elevated it one step further.
There were some last minute logistical issues to overcome when some of the locations originally investigated became unfeasible. Black says that by addressing the issue quickly, other locations were found that ultimately added a layer of relevance to the campaign.
"We had to work in a tight and efficient way across the client and MediaCom teams," she says. "This involved regular – often daily – conversations to ensure approvals and feedback were actioned."
Fanta’s 13th Floor in numbers
- The experience as a whole was seen more than 21 million times
- There was a 30% uplift in online advertising
- Sales increased by 14.5% year on year
- People queued for two hours to experience Fanta’s Halloween terrors
- There were 47% more participants than forecast