See How This Whiskey Brand Transported Consumers to Scotland—Without a Passport

Scottish whiskey brand the Macallan launched a group 4-D virtual-reality experience to take consumers in New York to its new distillery in Scotland.

By Ian Zelaya July 30, 2018, 7:31 AM EDT

The experience was housed in a 15-foot cube structure that featured 360-degree video projections of Scottish scenery and the distillery. The video was captured by drones and a remote-controlled robot.

Photo: Wes Tarca Photography

Scottish spirits brand the Macallan is no stranger to launching tech-focused marketing strategies to connect with consumers. Last year, the brand debuted an immersive augmented-reality exhibit that incorporated Microsoft’s HoloLens, and it also launched an A.R. app. For its latest activation, the Macallan celebrated the debut of its new distillery in Scotland by launching a 4-D virtual-reality experience, which groups of people could take part in together.

The Macallan Distillery Experience activated in New York’s Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal from July 25 to July 27—which happened to be National Scotch Day—and was previewed for media July 23 at the Weylin in Brooklyn. The experience was designed to take consumers on a multi-sensory journey into the brand’s new distillery at Easter Elchies Estate in Speyside, Scotland, which was unveiled in June. The $180 million distillery took four years to build.

Captured by drones and a remote-controlled robot, the 15-foot cube structure displayed 360-degree video projections of Scottish scenery and the distillery on the outside and inside walls. While virtual-reality headsets typically provide people with an isolating experience, the activation allowed multiple people to interact at the same time. 

Wearing headphones, groups were led by a brand ambassador through the experience, which featured special effects such as wind and scent diffusion technology to match the footage. With interactive leap motion controls, guests could choose which parts of the distillery they wanted to learn about with mid-air hand gestures. Consumers could choose from topics such as facts about the Speyside estate, the brand’s heritage and history, and the whiskey-making process.

Fans who were unable to make the New York activation could view the experience on their mobile phones, laptops, on social media, and at select wine and liquor retail stores, bars, and restaurants using a virtual-reality headset. 

The Macallan partnered with 360-degree video and virtual-reality company Blend Media and projection mapping company Pixel Rain Digital to create the experience.

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