Gillette have been in a mission for several years, the objective – to reduce skin irritation caused by shaving. The first solution saw an increasing number of blades on each shaver head; the theory being that more blades equates to fewer shaving strokes, thereby reducing the amount of friction on the skin. However, Gillette found during extensive research that men’s shaving habits did not change as a result of more blades – in fact, men were found to stroke between 180 and 700 times each time they shave. Gillette thus turned their attention away from changing men’s shaving habits to instead work on a solution to protect men’s skin.
The Gillette ProShield was born; a razor that has a protective lubrication strip before and after the blade. Known for their innovation Gillette looked for an engaging way to communicate the benefits of ProShield and arrived at virtual reality (VR).
Working alongside Because Experiential Marketing, we came up with a number of innovative ideas, ranging from a Google TiltBrush-style interactive application that put users into a bathroom where they could be free to express their creativity with shaving gel and a [Gillette signature] gold ‘swoosh’ palette; to our personal favourite, a two-player tennis-style game where the rackets were replaced with Gillette ProShields.
During the concept stage the activation changed from a single installation to a country-wide (across Australia) roll-out of the experience across cosmetic counter concession stands, where there would be minimal staff hand-holding. The complexity of the experience therefore had to be tempered and the natural fit became a 90-second CGI-VR advert.
The intention of the advert was to demonstrate the difference between the skin irritation caused by a disposable razor and the Gillette ProShield. The experience centred around a single character but on two sides of a mirror, on one side the character would be using the disposable razor, the other a Gillette ProShield Razor.
The emphasis from Gillette was on realism, the character, the environment and the animations all needed to be highly realistic. With that in mind V-Ray was decided upon as the engine in which to create the advert, a tool that is widely used by filmmakers for creation of special FX.
Strong emphasis was also placed on the SoundFX and musical score. On the disposable side of the mirror, the music was intentionally grating and friction sounds can be heard with each stroke of the razor. Counter that with a more uplifting music and SoundFX that depict smoothness, gliding and happiness.
One of the great advantages of VR is the ability to play with scale, one second you’re flying around a giant character, the next you’re at skin cell-level following the razor as it effortlessly glides over the skin, leaving a trail of smooth lubrication.
The development process took 6 weeks from concept to sign off. A simple schematic animation was the first customer deliverable, this is a very basic animation that enabled us to pin down the animations and timings. Once confirmed we started work on the musical score and the SoundFX, as well as 3D modelling of the character, environment and ‘furniture’.
Ryan Edwards, Assistant Brand Manager at P&G had this to say about the experience –
“The key criteria for the activation were a) that it could be executed within an in-store environment, b) that the experience would be engaging and exciting and c) that it brought the product benefit to life. For the consumer, the activation had to be engaging, different and exciting to break out of the in-store auto-pilot that we know exists. 360 VR content is something completely new and different in this space so it enables us to disrupt that auto-pilot shopping experience. We also needed to communicate the product benefits and VR allowed us to do this in a unique way. Because of this content development, we now own a super flexible asset which is iconic of Gillette and can be used widely unlike some other executions which can be very limited.”
The Gillette VR experience was delivered as a GearVR application for use within stores, and also as a standalone MP4 video for use by Gillette in social media.