“ [The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks] opens up some of
the country’s most spectacular wonders to everyone. ”
- Smithsonian Magazine
America's National Parks belong to everyone. However, most of us aren’t able to experience these incredible places firsthand. For the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, we wanted to use Google technology to change that, making five of the most unique - and remote - parks in the system accessible to anyone with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
We enlisted park rangers as our guides. Together, we invited everyone to explore The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks. With their expertise and our technology, we took users on incredible adventures you won’t find on any map.
To launch the project, we leveraged Instagram influencers, Google social channels, the Google homepage, and even Pegman himself. And this year, we’re taking 1700 kids on their first ever field trip to a national park because nothing beats seeing these amazing places with your own eyes.
Using the most cutting edge Virtual Reality gear available - sometimes building it ourselves - we asked visitors to follow rangers on an immersive adventure through five National Parks. Rappel into a crevasse, fly with thousands of bats, soar over an active volcano, dive through shipwrecks, and experience the Milky Way in 360° video and ambisonic audio.
Users could also interact with their environments to learn how the bats of Carlsbad navigate using sonar, or see the effect of climate change on glaciers in Kenai Fjords. To launch the project, we leveraged Instagram influencers, Google social channels, the Google homepage, and even Pegman himself.
THE VR FILM / CUSTOM CARDBOARD
We developed a campaign narrative "We went there, so you can too" — weaving it into several promo films. Take an adventure through the 5 featured parks in a 4 minute VR film available on YouTube. We donated cardboard units to educational programs all over the country to give kids access to the parks like they've never had. To date, we've distributed over 5,000 National Parks Cardboards.
GOOGLE PRODUCT INTEGRATION
We even took over Google products for the Centennial with partnerships like a custom Pegman in Google Maps, content and information on Google Arts & Culture, a feature on Google Trends, and promos on Search and YouTube.
Our social campaign included video, VR and static assets. For example, Google Maps' Pegman "went there" in his ranger-inspired costume and gave viewers a glimpse of the adventures they could look forward to seeing on the site.
NEW YORK TIMES TAKEOVER / NYT VR APP SPOTLIGHT
We placed the VR trailer in a New York Times 30 day takeover that included innovative, new 360˚ units on the homepage of the site. The VR film was also featured in the award-winning NYT VR app.
5 DAYS / 5 PARKS INFLUENCER CAMPAIGN
Our immensely successful influencer campaign sent photographers to our five parks to give their followers access into the Hidden Worlds from a personal perspective. We produced over 6.7m social impressions from the amazing photography; like these from Travis Burke.
NATIONAL PARKS EVENTS
Families at Google Science Fair and the National Parks Service Centennial Celebration in DC were able grab a cardboard and experience the VR film.
Cardboard "Coin-operated" Binoculars cleverly became tools to demo the VR experience.