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Intu and Emoji pilot consumer VR initiative across shopping centres

Shopping centre outfit intu is piloting a new experiential initiative involving virtual reality in an exclusive partnership with Emoji.

The owner of some of the UK’s most popular shopping and leisure destinations has launched its first paid-for virtual reality experience at three shopping centres, allowing customers to interact with characters from The Emoji Movie.

Intu will now be tracking data to measure the success of the pilot activity across Merry Hill, Lakeside and Braehead before making the decision on whether to roll out the experience across all 14 of its shopping centres.

The pilot will measure shoppers’ propensity to pay for VR leisure expeiences and the popularity of the movie-based VR content.

Should the pilot scheme be successful, the initiative could reach more than 35 million customers nationwide.

This isn’t the first time intu has initiated such experiences for consumers, having seen success with its in-app augmented reality function, bringing a number of Nick Jr. characters to life over the Easter holidays.

Karen Harris, managing director of intu’s digital innovation team, said: “We are running a number of trials to look at the benefits of virtual reality and augmented reality in a modern shopping centre environment.

“We think there is enormous potential for these types of leisure experiences to drive up footfall, dwell time and likelihood of revisiting a shopping destination. Data from this trial will be used to understand how we can continue to take this technology forward.”

The Emoji Movie experience involves VR content exclusive to the UK featuring characters and worlds from the film and recorded lines from its lead actors. 

Players will be charged £5 and each experience will be generated by a unique QR code.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent some six years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobHutchins3 if ranting is your thing...

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