SXSW 2016: McDonald’s VR Loft

The chain restaurant that has turned the Irish prefix as a shorthand for global similarity descended upon Austin, the city known for “keeping it weird,” this year for the second consecutive year.

McDonald’s, like many other brands at SXSW 2016, bet big on VR. The McLoft was rented as a virtual reality demonstration space across the street from the Austin Convention Center.

V-Artist was a VR experience that succeeded where others have failed. The experience was created in partnership with Dallas’ Groove Jones studio. It allowed users to paint inside of a virtual Happy Meal by using three tools. These included a paintball gun, a color-guided laser etcher, and a 3D paintbrush.

DeLu Jackson is the corporate vice president of global digital engagement for McDonald’s. It could have been a generic experience, where we just said let’s make a VR experience that is VR. We’ve made it uniquely McDonald’s with a specific application for the Happy Meal. This is central to the brand.

The handheld controllers of V-Artist allow the user to feel as if they are in the virtual world. V-Artist will enable users to walk through 3D paint ribbons, creating a truly immersive experience.

After they finish painting, the users can use a virtual camera within the app to take a picture. Once they remove the headset, they can then print out a copy featuring McDonald’s branding. This small feature helps users to transition smoothly from virtual reality to the real world.

McLoft’s VR experience is not a one-off. In a press release, it is stated that “McDonald’s has already tested virtual experiences in certain markets, such as in Sweden, where customers are able to create their own Google Cardboard VR headsets using recycled McDonald’s Happy Meal box.”

McDonald’s virtual reality experience is ahead of its time. While it’s difficult to imagine the company reaching out to younger customers who are more authentic, they’re trying.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *