- Walmart and DreamWorks Animation launched an exclusive virtual reality and v-commerce, or virtual commerce, activation on Feb. 15 that promotes the upcoming release of the animated film “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” on Feb. 22, according to a news release.
- The virtual tour, powered by HP, Intel and Positron, will be set up at select Walmart store parking lots around the country through the beginning of April. The first stop on the tour is Burbank, California, on Feb. 15-16. During the VR experience, visitors the chance to interact with the film’s characters through immersive sound, motion and sensory cues. The activation includes a VR-driven shopping event, created with v-commerce startup Spatial&.
- After the VR experience, participants will be guided into a gift shop where they can purchase merchandise from the film, including plush toys, DVDs, video games and action figures. Select merchandise will also be available in select Walmart stores and online.
Walmart and DreamWorks are hoping to tap into consumers’ growing interest in entertainment-focused VR and immersive experiences to generate buzz about the upcoming film release and inspire sales of film merchandise. Walmart continues to battle it out with Amazon in the e-commerce space and likely sees the "How to Train Your Dragon" activation as a way to create memorable experiences and build brand loyalty.
"The How to Train Your Dragon" campaign follows other recent film-focused marketing efforts from Walmart. For the Golden Globes last month, the retailer unveiled an ad featuring iconic Hollywood vehicles, like the Batmobile, the "Back to the Future" DeLorean, Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine and more, to promote it’s grocery pickup. The commercial was the most-talked-about ad during the awards show, racking up 8,100 mentions and 6 million YouTube views by Jan. 8, according to a Talkwalker analysis.
Walmart isn’t alone in leveraging VR to connect with shoppers in unique ways with the hopes of driving purchases. Several brands have used created in-store VR experiences to let consumers try out and learn about products virtually. For example, Macy’s recently launched VR furniture shopping experiences in several stores that allows shoppers to design living spaces with 3D furniture images and use VR headsets to move through the space virtually before making a purchase. Beauty brand Coty debuted a multisensory VR experience that immerses consumers into its fragrances and offers personalized scent recommendations.
Hollywood film studios are also embracing VR and related technology to generate excitement about new releases and encourage ticket sales. Universal teamed up with Dave & Buster’s last summer on a VR experience promoting the release of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." Disney Pixar rolled out a VR app to promote its animated film “Coco” in 2017.