World War II veteran becomes first to use Virtual Reality to return to town he helped liberate
To commemorate Remembrance Day 2016, Seedcamp-backed company Twine – a marketplace that connects companies to a network of over 180,000 creative freelancers in design, music, and film – launched a campaign to help Chelsea Pensioner, Frank Mouqué, become the first World War Two veteran to use virtual reality technology to return to a town in Northern France that he helped liberate.
We asked Twine CEO, Stuart Logan, to share some insight behind the scenes of the company’s first major PR campaign and why they decided to use virtual reality, with the limitless potential it offers, to create a truly profound and meaningful experience.
Watch as veteran Frank uses VR for the first time
We recently launched our marketplace on Twine so companies can access our creative network to make high quality and engaging audio-visual content. With the rise of social media and new marketing channels opening up all the time, companies need more content to grow their businesses and engage more effectively with their customers. I felt this campaign would be a great opportunity for Twine to give people an insight into the positive impact the Twine community can have on people’s lives globally through the projects they work on.
We posted a project brief on Twine and found the London based video production company, Mutiny Media, to film the 360 video. We knew that they specialised in making cutting edge and highly immersive virtual reality films and would be great to work with on this project.
The production company travelled to Armentières in Northern France to shoot the film, which consisted of shots of a war memorial in the centre of the town, a tribute by two residents who were children when was the town was liberated, a class of school children singing the well known song, ‘Les Mademoiselle De Armentières’ and Bernard Haesebroeck, the Mayor of Armentières, giving Frank a specially minted coin for his bravery in helping to liberate the town.
After Mutiny Media stitched the 360 video together, we visited the Royal Hospital Chelsea and gave Frank a virtual reality headset to wear whilst we filmed his reaction to it. Mutiny Media then combined the 360 video with the film of Frank watching it, so that you can see Frank’s reactions as the video unfolds. We also worked with the London based composer, Paul Saunderson, who provided a really evocative soundtrack, which really complemented the film.
From a business perspective, working on this project was a fantastic PR opportunity for Twine. We put together an interesting, impactful and emotive story that showcased the possibility of our platform, but also had a great social impact by supporting a good cause. As a result, we made it into both national and international news, with Frank’s story and Twine’s involvement covered in digital and print media including Fox News, BBC, The Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Telegraph, ITV and many more. This campaign reached millions of people and the feedback and goodwill we’ve received has been fantastic.
It was really important to get the balance right between telling the story and making sure Twine was mentioned in each news piece. To do this, we prepared a press release and enlisted the help of our PR agency to manage enquiries from journalists. The careful management of this project helped us build our brand awareness and digital presence, with the coverage of the project generating inbound links from a variety of reputable sources. We expect to see growth in SEO traffic over the coming months as a result of the campaign.
PR is often a route to market that start-ups avoid, as its success is not easily measurable and to doing it right takes a lot of preparation time. From my experience, you can get it right. What are you waiting for? Get creative and make some waves!
If you have a VR headset, you can see what Frank saw here: