Microsoft HoloLens experience for "Smurfs: The Lost Village"

London, 6 April 2017: In anticipation of the worldwide release of Sony Pictures Animation's Smurfs: The Lost Village, in theaters April 7, the studio is teaming up with AOL and OMD to give moviegoers a glimpse of the future of branded entertainment and go into the Smurfs' world with a new experience for Microsoft HoloLens. A branded marketing-led experiences on HoloLens, the world's first self-contained, holographic computer,– the Smurfs: The Lost Village experience brings the Smurfs into the world of mixed reality.

With HoloLens, which helps people engage with digital content and interact with holograms in the physical world. fans using the experience can help Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on a riveting race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures. Using a map, gamers can use tables and surfaces in their immediate surroundings to play, unlocking a series of levels leading to the fabled Lost Village.

The game has been created by Partner Studio by AOL in collaboration with production company UNIT9 and media agency OMD, who helped develop the initial idea and brokered the partnership, as a showcase of how entertainment experiences will evolve as new technologies like MR, VR and AR become mainstream.
To add scale and ensure maximum awareness of the campaign is achieved, an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the game has also been created. OMD has developed the content distribution strategy, that will see the content seeded across 16 markets (UK, Australia, Brasil, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine) through AOL's branded video content syndication platform. The video offers key audiences the chance to experience the 'lost village' and discover how the teams went about creating this innovative experience in behind-the-scenes clips of the production and development of the game.

Elias Plishner, EVP Digital Marketing at Sony Picture Entertainment, said, "Smurfs: The Lost Village takes moviegoers into the world of the Smurfs, and the HoloLens allows us to go one better: to bring our world and the Smurfs' world together in a mixed-reality setting. It's huge fun for the moviegoer that perfectly whets the appetite for the movie."

"Partner Studio by AOL uses a combination of world-class content and distribution to enhance how we connect our partners' brands with consumers," said John Baylon, Head of Advertising, AOL International. "We are always looking ahead to build the most innovative experiences that consumers actively want to engage with. This was the perfect opportunity for us to show how brands can use the latest technology to build immersive experiences on these new platforms that will soon be in households around the world, while using our distribution power to add scale with great content right now."

Stuart Morris, Executive Director at OMD explains, "In the world of movie marketing, immersive storytelling is key for enhancing those moments when a consumer is engaging with one of our movie titles. By virtually immersing consumers within the world of Smurfs: The Lost Village, the AOL HoloLens experience is the perfect example of delivering key storytelling moments in a way no one has seen before. OMD's close partnership with Sony Pictures Animation ensures that together, we are at the forefront of exciting, story-telling opportunities in a rapidly shifting technological landscape."

The Smurfs HoloLens experience will be widely available to the developer community imminently on the HoloLens Store, while the behind the scenes video will be live through AOL's Be On Platform on Friday 7 April.