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SA alcoholic beverage industry first for Amarula’s VR tour of Africa

In a South African alcoholic industry first, Distell and its African brand, Amarula, have created a virtual reality tour of Africa so that consumers can experience the continent’s open spaces, plentiful wildlife, beautiful people, and distinctive culture.

According to the brand’s global marketing manager, Mncedisi Junior Jekwa, virtual reality (VR1) is trending as the most exciting technology driving brand activity and the entertainment industry. He quoted Samsung’s S7 launch, CES 2016, Ridley Scott’s VR movie and the Oculus Rift fandom as leading the new wave.

And now joining the frontrunners is Amarula.

“Africa has always been rooted in the brand’s DNA. This exciting technology allows us to bring the Amarula story to life in a more visceral manner,’ Jekwa said. “We believe strengthening the link between Amarula and Africa will enable us to grow the brand further as the world is starting to look to Africa for creative inspiration.’

FCB Cape Town executive creative director, Mike Barnwell, said VR was chosen as the medium ahead of traditional channels as it was the perfect fit and vehicle for such an immersive experience.

“The technology itself was the creative treatment,’ Barnwell said. “It fitted the job at hand perfectly because it would allow Amarula to take consumers on a journey to locations they would probably never otherwise travel to, and allow them the opportunity to experience these as they would in real time.’

The three minutes 45 seconds 3D-360º experience will be rolled out using Samsung Gear VR headsets and Oculus Rift units around the world in travel retail, focusing on duty free shops in major airports.

The video unlocks the story of the product and how it is truly made from Africa; from the marula trees growing wild, to the maturation houses and eventual product experience – each scene offers the consumers a step in the Amarula brand story and the Amarula process.

A 2D-360º experience will also be available on Amarula’s YouTube channel and Facebook page so that consumers can immerse themselves in the majestic tour at their own leisure. View it in HD here.

Partnering with FCB Cape Town to produce the experience was Deep VR, a South African virtual reality film production company specialising in 360° video to be relived in 2D and 3D. It uses in-house design proprietary camera systems to capture spherical video content in a variety of environments.

“The shoot to capture the footage we needed took us two weeks but from conception to final product took just over five months, because the process of stitching the images together for VR is a lot more involved and labour intensive compared to traditional film,’ said Deep VR CEO, Ulrico Grech-Cumbo.

“If after experiencing Africa in 3D, consumers are unable able to make the trip to the continent, the best way to experience Africa is to taste it, with a tall glass of Amarula,’ Jekwa concluded.

Client: Distell
Brand: Amarula
General Manager for Amarula: Dino D’Araujo
Creative agency: FCB Cape Town
Executive Creative Director: Mike Barnwell
Creative Director FCB: Aaron Harris
Group Head and Senior Art Director: Dylan Davies
Radio and TV Producer: Ashleigh Jarratt
Group Account Director: Stephanie Binns
Virtual reality agency: Deep VR
CEO: Ulrico Grech-Cumbo
Director of Photography: Telmo dos Reis
Audio specialist: Samukelo Mahlalela

Read full article at Screen Africa