American Express - You Vs. Sharapova VR Experience

VR experience for the U.S. Open and American Express.

This is the world’s first VR experience using the new HTCVive VR technology, allowing you to walk onto the VR court and play against Maria Sharapova in a one on one game. Just try and return her 100MPH serve. We actually had to slow down her serve so participants can hit it. The VR experience ran during the U.S. Open at the American Express lounge.
American Express has been a sponsor of the US Open Tennis Championship for over 20 years. Card Members love tennis and visit the US Open in large numbers. So each year, American Express looks to enhance their on-site tennis experience in ways that bring them closer to the action.

Objectives
To excite our current Card Members, as well as future prospects, by putting them closer to the action than ever before and delivering unique entertainment they would never forget.

The Idea:
Have you ever wondered if you could take on a pro? You Versus gave tennis fans the chance to find out.
Housed on-site inside the US Open American Express Fan Experience, You Versus was the first-ever virtual reality experience to blend live action video, CGI, and the ability to fully move around inside a virtual world as you moved in the real world—letting fans play a professional athlete.

Unlike passive virtual reality (VR), You Versus had people up and swinging. They were handed a responsive haptic “racquet,” and once they slipped on the VR headset, they found themselves transported onto the court to actively play Maria Sharapova—enabling them to return her groundstrokes, lobs and even her famous serve.

After playing, users received a video that stitched the VR and real world action together so they could show their friends how they fared against a pro.

Results:
This cutting edge, innovative experience generated buzz, including: Adweek, ESPN, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, Tech Times and The Wall Street Journal. And even a Tweet from Bill Gates to his 24 million followers after he tested the product himself. Ultimately, You Versus generated over 1 billion PR impressions, and led us to more than achieve our fan experience objectives.

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