Augmented Reality @Taronga Zoo

While people go to the zoo for something rare and exotic, Blaze Advertising brought something unique to Ausgrid's sponsorship of the Great Southern Oceans exhibit at Taronga Zoo. A world-first in augmented reality, the opportunity for kids to interact with a virtual sea lion was the centrepiece of the campaign that Blaze developed to bring the message of energy efficiency to a new and tricky target audience.

Scott Deakin, the Creative behind the campaign, described the challenges: “Ausgrid’s partnership with Taronga Zoo is focused on energy efficiency. This year’s ‘Zoo Month’ campaign needed to help a younger audience - between 3 to 14 years – to learn about the positive impact of energy efficiency and develop good habits early on. We had to create something that was going to be engaging, informative and fun.”

In a huge collaborative effort, Blaze worked closely with the zoo, the keepers and augmented reality specialists ExploreEngage. Together they created a unique experience featuring a fully animated version of Taronga Zoo's sea lion, Nala, and her child friend Amy. Seeing themselves projected onto a "magic mirror" display, visitors were able to enjoy an adventure with Nala and Amy that involved both the virtual and physical environment around them.

"The augmented reality experience was a new and interactive way to engage the public about how simple actions around the home can save energy and help the environment," said Martin Harris, Manager of Community Investment and Partnerships at Ausgrid.

“The experience combines cutting-edge 3D depth camera and motion sensing technology to have an awareness of the participants,” said Paul Kouppas, CTO, of Explore Engage. “It’s a world-first to have an interactive object move around a user who is moving.”

The message of the campaign also continued after the virtual experience finished. Children were presented with a takeaway bag, including a copy of the illustrated story Amy Helps Save Our Marine Animals and a wind up torch.

Anthony Dunsford, Sponsorship Manager for Taronga Zoo, praised the memorable and engaging approach to the campaign. “This has provided a unique and innovative experience for our visitors,” he said. “What we’ve achieved is an interactive experience that delivers a message to children and encourages them to practice energy efficiency everyday at home".

Agency: Blaze Advertising
Creative Direction: Scott Deakin
Creative/Art Director: Scott Deakin
Account Director: Mike Boyd
Account Manager: Ann Molloy
Set Concept/Design: Scott Deakin, Andrew Chauvel
Video Editor: Rob Stephenson, AMVI
Music Development: AMVI

Technical Development: ExploreEngage

Set build: Wildsets

Client: Ausgrid
Manager - Community Investment & Partnerships: Martin Harris
Sponsorship & Communications Officer: Cathy Fleetwood

Taronga Zoo:
Corporate Partnerships Account Manager: Alison Bennett