Review Fix chats with Jamie Mandor, global head of marketing at Merrell, who discusses the brand’s nifty Oculus Rift-powered TrailScape, an interactive hike application on display at the Sundance Film Festival that allows runners and outdoorsmen to experience a brand new type of adventure.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be involved with the Sundance Film Festival?
Jamie Mandor: Sundance is the perfect venue for Merrell because independent thinking and adventure are encouraged and that’s very much inline with the Merrell brand philosophy.
Review Fix: How do you think this production with the Oculus Rift will help your brand?
Mandor: At Merrell our goal to inspire and enable awesome experiences. In our fast-paced world the way you adventure is changing. As a way to inspire experiences, we partnered with Framestore to create the Merrell TrailScape, an immersive ‘virtual hike’ powered by Oculus Rift. It enables you to take an iconic adrenaline filled hike in a fun, no-risk way. Our goal is to inspire you to create your own awesome experiences that lead to self-discovery.
Review Fix: What else will you be doing for the festival?
Mandor: The Merrell TrailScape is a venue where you will be fully immersed in the energy of the brand. We want people to walk away wanting to adventure further, discover new places and create awesome life experiences.
Central to the space, guests will be transported outdoors through a thrilling virtual hike powered by Oculus Rift. Beyond the virtual hike, the experience is full of elements that further inspire adventure. From a live reel of footage from the Dolomites in Italy revealing the beauty of that environment, to books and outdoor trivia coasters, all touchpoints inspire you to want to get outside and adventure.
Additionally, the Merrell TrailScape will host an Interview Studio where legendary film reviewer Peter Travers will conduct interviews with key filmmakers, tastemakers and festival talent. Merrell and Rolling Stone will also present a concert Sunday night, January 25th, headlining the Local Natives.
Review Fix: What was the development process like?
Mandor: Working with Oscar award-winning Framestore on the first use of in-motion virtual reality was a really exciting project. We took a team to the Dolomites in Italy to capture the awe of this beautiful place to ensure that our in-goggle experience was as true to the environment as possible. The end result is an immersive, thrilling 4-D experience where you scramble along treacherous rock ledges and navigate a wood suspension bridge between peaks. We hope people will walk away from the TrailScape with a newfound curiosity in their own journey, feeling empowered to go out and create their own awesome life experiences.
Review Fix: How did I t feel the first time you used it?
Mandor: As someone who loves being outdoors and has been on many climbing adventures, I thought it would be cool but was unsure it could evoke the emotion of the real experience. However, when I put goggles on and took my first steps, I was instantly immersed in the adventure. I am hopeful that this Merrell experience will inspire more people to push their limits and get outside.
Review Fix: How do you want people to remember their experience with your brand during the festival?
Mandor: We want people to walk away curious about their own adventure and empowered to escape and create their own awesome life experiences that lead to self-discovery.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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