The Riding Dead: a VR Experience for The Walking Dead

Challenge

AMC’s long-running, award-winning television series The Walking Dead was returning for its seventh season. By the time a TV series reaches its seventh season, sustaining interest and viewership becomes increasingly challenging.

The excitement around the series’ return becomes confined to groups of die-hard fans who’ve followed the series from the start, and the length of the series and required investment to catch-up becomes a barrier for new viewers.

Against this backdrop, The agency was challenged to expand the reach of The Walking Dead in its seventh season and drive viewership on local channels across three countries – Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.

Disruption

We realized our audience was “uber”-busy (pun intended), highly selective of how they spend their time, and suffered from an overwhelming amount of advertising messages being targeted at them.

In order to cut thru the noise, we realized we needed to take The Walking Dead Season 7 out of the regular channels, and create an experience where the series could engage with its audience in a more visceral manner.

So we thought: “Why not bring The Walking Dead out on the streets through Virtual Reality and ambush ride-hailing customers as they take a trip?”

The result as an integrated campaign that brought the world of The Walking Dead into Uber or Grab cars through the power of virtual reality. Notably, this started as a Malaysia-led project, but was eventually rolled out into Indonesia and Philippines as well.

The idea behind campaign was simple. Imagine putting on a VR headset and being transported into the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse shot from the first person perspective. Passengers of Grab or Uber would be able to experience actually being in the middle of a Zombie invasion when they book a ride and be entertained while being exposed to The Walking Dead universe.

To drive this project forward, the agency worked with one of the handful of production companies able to shoot VR content with a fully-customized video rig. We also developed a custom app with motion-sensing to ensure that once the passenger in the car had put on the  to create the app and “experience” elements and creating a seamless VR experience.

Furthermore, we also partnered with ride-hailing services Grab (Malaysia and Philippines) and Uber (Indonesia) to create an immersive experience from the app to the actual arrival of the car. In some cars, we had drivers in Zombie make-up taking passengers on the ride of their life. This activation drove buzz and word of mouth because of the deep immersion and theming with The Walking Dead universe.