2015 Winners

Tech Breakthrough: BRONZE

The Dogwood Initiative - Oil Spill Virtual Reality

Rethink helped client and citizen group Dogwood Initiative illustrate the catastrophic damage an oil spill could cause to British Columbia’s pristine coastline with an innovative digital art installation on the shore of English Bay. No wildlife was harmed in the making of the stunt, which used a virtual reality headset hidden inside an old­-fashioned set of coin-­operated sightseeing binoculars to depict the aftermath of an oil spill.

Unsuspecting viewers were immersed in an animated 3D depiction of a scenario, replacing the usual picturesque scenery with a dying orca whale, bitumen­-soaked sand, black smoke billowing into the sky from flaming pools of oil, and spill vessels attempting to contain approximately 500 metric tonnes of crude leaking from a crippled tanker.

The virtual reality scene was an enhanced replica of the immediate surroundings rendered in realtime using software typically used for gaming called Unity 3D. The experience was delivered using a Rift DK2 headset developed by a company called Oculus VR, which Facebook recently bought for a cool $2 billion.

The combination of high tech and low-fi in a real world setting was a first for social messaging to be delivered creatively using Virtual Reality, which is usually used for video games and tech demos. Because Vancouver is regularly voted as one of the world’s most live-able cities it’s hard for Vancouverites to visualize a disaster on their beloved beaches. So as users panned the scene, the 3D rendering reacted to their movements and since the installation was by the sea, the squawks of seagulls above, cool sea breeze and salty sea air further enhanced the experience.

The charismatic Mayor of Vancouver, as well as other local politicians and policy makers, came down, surveyed the scene and shared their discontent of the virtual scene. The installation gave them the opportunity to inspire Vancouver voters to hit the polls and have their voices heard on the issue.

The installation also earned national attention, and beyond, via CITY news, the Huffington Post, Fast Company, Reddit, not to mention blogs from around the world as well as chatter on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Client: The Dogwood Initiative

Creative Agency: Rethink

Creative Directors: Dré Labre, Aaron Starkman, Ian Grais, Chris Staples Art Director: Hannes Ottahal, Dre Labre, Leia Rogers, Shafeez Walji Writer: Leah Gregg, Dré Labre Broadcast Producer: DW Digital Producer: Ted Morgan, Cynthia Cyr, Anna Pellicci Account Services: Becky Rudson, Cynthia Cyr Production Company: Shootbox Media Rethink Director: Dre Labre, Leah Gregg Director of Photography: Leah Gregg, Megan Bodaly, Phil Lanyon, Marc Boily Line Producer: George Johnson Post Production House: Rethink Editor: Megan Bodaly Audio House: Rethink Creative Technologist: Ken Malley, Alex Fleming, Dré Labre Technical Development: Adrian Crook & Associates, Factory 1 Studios Prop House: Laird FX

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Zoe Sherwood at 416-408-2300 x237 or zsherwood@brunico.com.