Aishwarya Ramesh

OnePlus 9RT’s new ad dabbles in the metaverse in a gamified reality

The ad by George Kovoor and his Ogilvy team, shows the smartphone being used for gaming, virtual reality, and more.

It’s a story we’re all too familiar with. We spend most of our day working in front of the laptop or computer, a medium-sized screen. Once we log off work, we spend more time staring at a little screen (usually our smartphones), or a bigger screen (a television) to relax. You could say that over the last few years, we’ve been feeling rather boxed in, thanks to the COVID pandemic.

The biggest difference between the pandemics then and now, is widespread access to Internet connectivity (now). The Internet is truly a wonderful place. It can transport us to a completely different reality, and make us forget about the trappings of our own reality, even if it is just for a little while.

OnePlus 9RT’s latest ad takes place in a world which is somewhere between reality and the Internet. The over one-minute-long ad is a digital-first movie created by George Kovoor, the digital lead at Ogilvy South, and his team. Kovoor tells afaqs! that a shorter version of the ad will run on TV. It will also run on streaming platforms. He explains that this is the case because of the audience that OnePlus is trying to speak to – the gamers.

Even when these gamers are watching TV content, they’re watching it on their phones and iPads. So, it’s even more important that the ad recreate the same experience for the viewers, irrespective of the size of the screen they’re watching it on.

Kovoor adds that the gamers are even more impatient, when it comes to lag – even with experiences like waiting for a YouTube video to buffer. “When the client came to us, they told us that this phone is ideal for gamers. Thanks to its processor, it doesn’t have any lag. Lag, or lack thereof, is one of the most important aspects of a good gaming experience.”

<div class="paragraphs"><p>George Kovoor</p></div>

George Kovoor

Conversations between Kovoor’s team and OnePlus began around October last year (2021) – about the same time when Facebook had rebranded itself as ‘Meta’. Kovoor points out that because of the pandemic, we’re living most of our lives in a largely online way. In fact, he hasn’t been to an office in over two-and-a-half years.

"We wanted to create a world where the virtual and the real world collide."

Also Read: Facebook goes Meta; changes name in a rebranding exercise

“We wanted to create a world where the virtual and the real world collide. If you see the film, you don’t realise when the protagonist is in the real world and when he’s in the ‘meta’ world. There are portions where the intersection of these two worlds are blurred. This was our brief to the production house. We wanted the viewer to wonder which world he was in by the time he finished watching the ad,” Kovoor explains.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Screenshot from the ad</p></div>

Screenshot from the ad

There are ads that are done completely in the metaverse and those that are created completely in the real world. Kovoor wanted to achieve a mix of both.

Also Read: Facebook's parent company has gone 'Meta' - a look at the impact on the brand

According to him, one of the most challenging aspects of putting the campaign together was the fact that the creative team couldn’t go to Helsinki (Finnish capital) for the shoot.

“There were many challenges that we faced with this campaign. The idea was quite complex. It was difficult to make the client understand and visualise the end product the way we did. Our team is made of gamers and techies, and getting the clients to understand it in the same way that we did, was our first challenge.”

The ad, which is shot from the protagonist’s perspective, shows off the processor’s speed. It emphasises on factors like an absence of lag, when it comes to the gaming experience.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A glimpse of gaming on the OnePlus 9RT</p></div>

A glimpse of gaming on the OnePlus 9RT

Kovoor points out that OnePlus is a very tech-oriented company and was happy to come on board with the idea. “When it came to us with the brief for this campaign, we jumped at it.”

According to Kovoor, most of the ad is location agnostic and could take place in any part of the world. The brief, in fact, didn’t include a location. Kovoor recalls that last year, his team members were taking ‘workcations’ in Himachal Pradesh and Goa, and that did not hinder the pace of work in any way.

"Today, location is truly immaterial, even more so in the gaming world. We wanted to bring that out in the film as well."

“For this campaign, I’ve been dealing with a production house in Helsinki. We’re dealing with clients from all over the world daily. Today, location is truly immaterial, even more so in the gaming world. We wanted to bring that out in the film as well,” he states.

Kovoor points out that this is also what the metaverse is all about. The location of a user is immaterial. All he needs is an Internet connection. “We wanted to have real people and virtual avatars in the same room because this is what Facebook’s Metaverse intends to do in real time as well.”

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The meeting with virtual avatars</p></div>

The meeting with virtual avatars

As far as Kovoor is concerned, the future is ‘now’. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the popularity of the metaverse and though the film appears to be futuristic, it actually mirrors what is happening in the world of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) today.

He points out that games, like ‘Roblox’ and ‘Minecraft, allow people to play in virtual worlds, with folks from different parts of the globe.

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