Neilson showcases virtual reality skiing in social campaign

Neilson Active Holidays is using virtual reality to give people a taste of what it's like to ski or windsurf at their resorts and is showing off its new technology in a social campaign.

The online ad, called #Haveagobeforeyougo, was created by MBA, which also created the virtual reality experience, which uses an Oculus Rift VR headset. It was demonstrated to the public at festivals, trade shows, and shopping centres across the UK.

The VR film was made by attaching eight Go Pro cameras to the helmet of a skier and windsurfer, with MBA editing and producing the footage in-house.

The ad shows people on moving skis and windsurfing boards, with electric fans blowing behind, as they used the Oculus Rift headsets to simulate the experience of a skiiing or windsurfing holiday.

The campaign was created by Graham Kerr, the executive creative director at MBA, and Jack Gallon, the agency’s head of art.

Gallon said: "We used VR as it was the most engaging and realistic way to give people the Neilson experience. The only true, authentic way to let people really see and feel what going on a Neilson active holiday was like.

"There were lots of practical challenges we needed to overcome. No one had ever put windsurfing into VR before. We couldn't use the normal VR cameras as they're just too bulky so needed multiple Go Pros. Finding people who could both surf or ski and shoot at the same time was the other obstacle.

"We’re creating a social movement by travelling up and down the country letting people experience Neilson holidays: taking it to guys that have never even heard of a blue run, let alone been on an active holiday."

MBA will launch the film to bloggers and across social channels later this year and host further events.

Neilson Active Holidays appointed MBA to help build its Summer Beach Club and Ski holiday brands without a pitch last year. MBA was asked to develop targeted digital and direct work, as well as creating content that would help grow the business.

Neilson Active Holidays was established 37 years ago, starting out as two separate companies – one providing ski holidays and the other teaching people to sail in Greece.

The company was previously owned by Thomas Cook, but went through a management buyout backed by Risk Capital Partners in December 2014.

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