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The Jigsaw Virtual Room: A first-of-its kind VR ad

How Unity and Lionsgate made an unprecedented emotional connection with the audience

People didn’t just watch this ad - they stepped into it

Lionsgate partnered with Unity to bring the fictional world of their Saw film franchise to life through an innovative virtual reality advertisement for their latest film, Jigsaw. The results? More smiles, faster heart-rates, and dramatically increased engagement.

The experience

The Jigsaw Virtual Room Ad: Once the user enters the virtual room ad, they are trapped and must solve a puzzle to escape

The goal

Engage fans and new audiences with an emotional connection to the Saw franchise

Platforms

Samsung’s Internet for VR app and Nanite Fulcrum app within Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR devices

Assets

Standard brand assets and custom voice-over; Unity also created 3D models of real Jigsaw props

After a seven-year gap in the Saw franchise, Lionsgate’s objective was twofold: reignite fans to get them to the box office and reach a new audience open to horror films. Enter the Jigsaw Virtual Room.

The results:

  • 275,000 unique users, compared to an average 1-2K downloads for similar content
  • 39K impressions (benchmark 5-10K)
  • 70% completion of trailer at the end of experience (benchmark: 12%)
  • Emotional Efficacy Study (Isobar’s Mindsight Technology) compared to watching the trailer in either VR or on a mobile phone
    • Elevated heart rate (+24%) (From emotional efficacy study)
    • Heightened galvanic skin response, or sweating (+44% peaks/minute)
    • Increased muscle activation (more than 3X) associated with smiling

When the audience becomes part of the story

Created and powered by Unity, the VR ad welcomed fans into the world of Jigsaw in a dramatic new way that elicited a powerful emotional response. Unity worked closely with Lionsgate to bring the fictional world of Jigsaw to life. The Jigsaw Virtual Room featured real props from the movie rendered in VR, custom voice-over from Jigsaw himself, actor Tobin Bell, and even included shrines to each of the eight films in the Saw franchise.

When the user entered the ad, they found themselves trapped in a terrifying contraption, facing life or death decisions. What followed was not only digital-metric results that far surpassed traditional advertising benchmarks, but also a powerful response measured by an emotional efficacy study.

Responsive storytelling gets a much stronger response

The efficacy study showed that the strong emotional responses occurred while the user was in the trap in the Virtual Room—regardless of whether or not they attempted to escape.

In contrast, the responses to the trailer in VR and the mobile trailer were almost the same.

In other words, it was not the medium of gaming or VR alone that caused the reaction—it was the concept of responsive storytelling, in which the user’s actions impact how the story progresses. The user’s physical response to the gamified ad experience has proven that the interactive portion has a stronger effect.

Powerful, far-reaching and repeatable

In order to make sure Lionsgate could scale the immersive ad, Unity bundled the VR experience with targeted mobile video. This resulted in a tailored VR experience that was repeatable, had mass-reach, and performed remarkably well. Trailer views across Unity had a viewability score and video completion rates exceeding benchmarks.

“Combining the storytelling power of immersive content with the guaranteed reach of a media buy; we're thrilled to have worked with Unity on this integrated campaign, bringing Jigsaw into an engaging VR and mobile ad experience.”

— David Edwards, SVP of Digital Marketing at Lionsgate

Want to hear more?

Learn more about Virtual Room ads, or if you have questions or are interested in advertising with Unity, we’re here to help.

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