By Barry Janoff
May 25, 2016: Not content to get products such as Pitch Black and Baja Blast into the hands of consumers, Mtn. Dew is using a virtual reality platform and gaming softwear to give consumers a hands-on experience with top Nascar drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott.
As part of its recently launched DEWcision 2016 multi-media campaign, Mtn. Dew said it would "leverage the latest in Oculus VR hardware and gaming/CGI software" to put people behind the wheel of race cars, employing a 360º perspective in peson, on YouTube and via other social media platforms.
The effort enables people via VR to race through a beach-desert landscape powered by Baja Blast or a futuristic cityscape powered by Pitch Black.
With DEWcision 2016, playing off of this year's presidential election, Mtn. Dew is asking people to pick a favorite between Pitch Black and Baja Blast, which, according to the brand, "are two specialty flavors that have developed cult followings of true Dew aficionados."
Depending on which path a person chooses in the VR experience, their vote will also be counted to help determine which flavor wins DEWcision 2016.
Mtn. Dew said is the first time it is using VR as a content channel as part of a larger, integrated 360-degree campaign.
Dale Jr., Kahne and Elliott — all part of the Mtn. Dew Racing Team — provide running commentary and other insights as the drive the VR courses, directing viewers to use the 360º option to look for obstacles and other unique scenes happening not just in front of but also above, behind and on both sides of the car.
"You're in the driver's seat," offers Earnhardt Jr. "This is no ordinary track, but I think you can handle it."
As part of its DEWcision VR leg, Mtn. Dew has formed partnership with Shazam, becoming the "first brand to launch a VR campaign on the app.
Using Visual Shazam, people can access exclusive VR content when they scan Pitch Black or Baja Blast bottles.
The VR racing content will also be available this week to people at the JR Motorsports Fan Day in Mooresville, N.C. (May 26-27) as well as on YouTube 360 and Facebook 360 and through the Milk VR library.
Mtn. Dew said it is one of the first brands to use the new Oculus Rift VR headset and developer kit to "transport fans to a choose-your-own adventure gamified VR racing experience. The experience was developed by Firstborn using Unreal gaming software for VR.
After putting on a VR headset, the viewer is seated and given an Oculus-enabled steering wheel. The steering wheel is linked to the VR world, allowing viewers to steer their chosen car on the racetrack.
In addition, the brand is launching a dedicated VR hub at MountainDew.com/VR that features all of its VR content playable via a mobile phone.
According to Greg Lyons, svp-marketing for Mtn. Dew, "Dew Nation (never ceases) to amaze me with your passion for these two brands. From bathing in Baja Blast to road tripping to stock up on Pitch Black, we think we've seen it all . . . until now. This summer, we're challenging you to show us how far you would go for your favorite flavor."
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