The Extraordinary Honey Bee And How VR Experiences Can Change The World



From concept to distribution, learn how The Extraordinary Honey Bee VR film came together with partners such as Häagen-Dazs, HTC Vive and Google.

Since 2008, the Häagen-Dazs brand has turned its attention to help save the nation’s honey bee population. The “HD Loves HB” campaign has donated over $1,000,000 to honey bee research in hopes to figure out what is causing colony collapse disorder (ccd), which is a major factor in why they are disappearing at such an alarming rate.

Häagen-Dazs rely on honeybee colonies for some of their most popular flavors including rocky road, coffee, and strawberry. They are also responsible for pollinating one-third of the foods we eat. Instead of just throwing money at the issue, the brand decided to partner up with a creative agency and a tech company to help raise awareness on the environmental issue.

At #SMWLA, Kerry McLaughlin (Brand Manager, Häagen-Dazs, Nestlé) was joined by Ylva Hansdotter (Head of Customer Experience, HTC Vive), Gabe Gordon (Managing Partner, Reach Agency), and Sam Margolius (Executive Producer, SPECTACLE VR) to discuss Häagen-Dazs’ latest addition to their HD Loves HB campaign, the brand’s first foray into VR. The panel spoke about VR as a medium and how Virtual Reality has the potential to change the world.

“We are at a time where mankind’s challenges have never been greater,” says Ylva Hansdotter of HTC Vive. She spoke about how VR can be used to effectively tell an immersive story that can resonate with a viewer. In January, HTC Vive announced the VR for Impact program, which invested $10,000,000 to support experiences that can help change the world.

The first experience is called “Space VR” and provides the viewer with the overview effect, which is the change in awareness that astronauts experience when they are viewing the planet from space. Showing the planet from a distance and showing the small layer of atmosphere protecting it “puts things in perspective,” says Hansdotter.

Another experience is called “The Tree,” which the viewer is the seed growing to become a rainforest tree. The ending is tragic and focusses on the deforestation and the global effect it has on the environment. HTC Vive’s third experience is what brought HTC Vive, Häagen-Dazs, Reach Agency, and SPECTACLE VR together, “The Extraordinary Honey Bee.”

The Extraordinary Honey Bee

“Bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate for quite some time now and this is really going to put the future security of our food system at risk,” says Kerry McLaughlin of Häagen-Dazs. With honey bees being such a crucial aspect of their business, Häagen-Dazs decided to launch a fully integrated marketing effort to help bring the honey bees back. They would even appear before Congress to lobby for more research.

To expand their outreach, Häagen-Dazs chose VR as their next outlet to convey their message and partnered with Reach Agency to bring their first VR film to life. Gabe Gordon of Reach Agency spoke about choosing Häagen-Dazs over other Nestlé brands because of their social good campaign. Reach Agency partnered with SPECTACLE VR to create a film that best exemplified the HD Loves HB campaign. They picked Emmy-winning director Jason Zada (The Forest) to helm the project, which would not only inform viewers on what is happening with the honey bee population but also how they can help.

The story centers on a smart and optimistic bee named Alex who shrinks the viewer down and shows them the life of honeybee and the near future if we don’t make changes to help the environment. A teaser trailer was made for the Sundance Film Festival, which can be viewed below.

After premiering the trailer at the Brand Storytelling event during the Sundance Film Festival, Reach found a partner with HTC Vive as their disruption channel for their VR experience. The Extraordinary Honey Bee became one of the first recipients of the VR For Impact program.

The film is still in post-production and will be released in July 2017.

Further analysis and commentary from ‘VR for Impact:’ session


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