- AT&T Audience Network announced in a news release that it is creating the "Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience" at San Diego Comic-Con on July 19-21 to promote the new season of its show "Mr. Mercedes," based on a Stephen King trilogy of novels. Season two of the show debuts August 22.
- The immersive experience will give fans a look into the past and future of the show through a virtual reality (VR) escape room game, "Mr. Mercedes: Lair Escape," using HTC Vive Pro VR headsets. The experience also includes the "Mr. Mercedes: Finders Keepers" augmented reality (AR) adventure game, where fans gather clues to access exclusive content and prizes.
- The "Mr. Mercedes Immersive Experience" also recreates Finders Keepers, Mercy General Hospital and Brady's Lair sets from the show. Other features include a 3D light projection that brings the character Brady to life in a hospital bed, a photo experience that turns a fan's face into Brady's and provides a shareable GIF, and a private screening room offering a glimpse at the upcoming season.
More brands have been embracing the escape room trend, which has exploded in popularity over the past several years, and AT&T is trying to elevate the format with more digital features like AR and VR. By tapping immersive mobile technology like AR/VR and 3D light projections, AT&T might able to provide something more memorable for participants and immerse them further in the world of "Mr. Mercedes."
AT&T isn't alone in taking this approach. The brand Eight O'Clock Coffee unveiled an AR digital escape room experience this week, giving gamers the chance to win a year of free groceries. Snickers recently got into the escape room game as well with a pop-up experience in New York City related to a new line of flavors. Visitors that completed challenges in the specified time frame received a "Flavor Diagnosis," identifying the flavor best suited to ward off hunger.
The marketing tactic is likely a bid to encourage more social media sharing among millennials and Gen Z crowd. Instagram has seen a 16% jump in the use of hashtags like #escaperoom and #weescaped, as well as an uptick of escape room pictures, since 2016, according to USA Today.
AT&T's escape room is additionally in line with other networks and film studios using more interactive experiences to promote new releases and drive viewership. Universal and the Virtual Reality company recently created a VR game for the release of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" at Dave & Busters venues.