Brewing Success with AR: The Elysian Brewery & BCVR Immersive Halloween Experience

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Brewing Success with AR: The Elysian Brewery & BCVR Immersive Halloween Experience

Blog Author
Read about how BCVR Immersive and Elysian Brewery created a chilling experience for the NBC Chucky release. Including top tips on creating image tracked AR for use on product packaging.

BCVR Immersive are a creative group based in London. They work on a range of projects including film and sound production and immersive production. They aim to create immersive experiences for brands incorporating AR, VR and MR technology. 

BCVR worked with Elysian Brewery, a small Seattle based brewery and a part of the Anheuser-Busch Group who also brew other popular Budweiser, Stella, Estrella and Hoegaarden. They have two tap rooms in Seattle, brew 11 “Active Beers” and 8 seasonal beers. This includes 4 pumpkin beers over the Halloween season. 


The Challenge

The campaign objectives were to 

1. Enhance the in-store experience for the Halloween beers 
2. Extend the NBCU Chucky collab beyond packaging & static imagery
3. Grow brand awareness & affinity via time spent with the experience
4. To trial in AR providing learnings for future initiatives


The experience was created to showcase the new series of Chucky on NBC while also advertising the special pumpkin beer box for Halloween produced by Elysian Brewery. 

Elysian Brewery created a Pumpkin Pack beer collection which included beers such as Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale, Dark O' The Moon, Great Pumpkin Ale and Night Owl Pumpkin Ale. These boxes would be displayed and sold in grocery stores throughout Halloween across the USA. 

Having previously partnered with NBC to include Chucky on beer bottles, Elysian wanted to take the partnership one step further and do something more immersive to hit their key objectives.

Being a creative brand, regularly showcasing this on Instagram and its other social channels, immersive technology felt like a good fit to extend the brand into a more immersive space to drive interactivity and engagement. To do this, BCVR immersive suggested creating and launching an augmented reality experience.

But with a limited budget and a limited timeframe, BCVR Immersive had to be creative, adaptable and quick to deliver the desired project on time. 

Overall, the AR experience needed to focus on the beer and the packaging. The pumpkin beers would be in a selection box containing 6 bottles. This is where BCVR Immersive began its development of the experience. 

Image shows Chucky from NBC show emerging out of box on a smartphone in a world tracked AR experience built with Zapworks.

The Creation 

This project required a tight turn around. Elysian Brewery had the Halloween beers ready. The development process started with the basic foundations which were mapped out within PowerPoint. These ideas were then developed and built upon until the final narrative was established. 

When creating the experience, an important thing to consider is your target audience. This experience was created to showcase the beer, for people who enjoy discovering new flavours and tastes. These beers were a special edition, so also play on the “exclusive” angle encouraging people to snap up the beers while they are available.

Another important factor when creating AR is where the experience will be loaded and interacted with. For this experience the boxes of beers would be available in supermarkets and beer shops across the USA. So the experience would be launched firstly in stores, and if purchased they could then launch the experience at home. 

When building the experience BCVR Immersive had to go through a fairly thorough process of optimisation in order to make sure they kept loading times as fast as possible. Even though there was access to Wi-Fi in stores there was no guarantee of users being connected, so the team at BCVR wanted to make sure it would be speedy enough over mobile data connections as well.

Zapworks allowed us to make sure this was a fast and efficient process allowing the experience to be as optimised as possible even with assets such as the featured HD video of Chucky inside the experience.


The Experience 

BCVR Immersive and Elysian Brewery knew that they wanted the experience to launch from the box of beers. This would be the “trigger”. The experience also needed to include Chucky to advertise the new series on NBC. 

The CTA (call to action) for consumers was to scan a QR code to launch the experience. To launch the image tracked experience the consumer would be instructed to find the front of the box of beers. Chucky would begin to cut himself out of the box of beer, so the consumer would see the knife emerge from the box. When he escapes the box, he begins a dialogue talking about the new TV series on NBC.

There were a few challenges when creating this experience. The biggest challenge was that, there was a delay in receiving the Chucky materials such as the video and the audio. The voice recording took place after sorting the video of Chucky meaning that the audio had to fit the lip movement. This took a significant amount of time as the video had to be retimed and lip movement had to be altered.


Project Learnings 

Syncing sound to video was tricky. The team at BCVR worked within pro tools for both the audio and the video. Both the audio and video needed tweaking to ensure that Chucky’s lips were synced to the audio recording.

There was a bit of concern around how Chucky would look as he was captured in 2D but the BCVR team were able to restructure him in 3D using a selection of HD images. 


Advice for adding AR to packaging 

If you know you want to add a QR code on your packaging but have not completely developed your experience, make sure to include a space where the QR codes can be added to the packaging. Even if the experience is not ready when you print the packaging, at least the QR code can be added to the space before the product is shipped.

Think about what the ultimate goal of the experience is going to be. Make sure that the AR experience is adding value to the promotion of the product or to the customer. The user experience and narrative needs to be good and the overall narrative of the AR experience should sit well within the product and the promotion of the product. Make sure that the experience does not get lost.