Cannes Lions

Carnival Simulator

CIRCUS, Bogotá / ABINBEV / 2021

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

The Carnival of Barranquilla is one of Colombia's most important folkloric celebrations, and one of the biggest carnivals in the world (proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO). But for the first time in history this year, Colombians were not able to experience the Batalla de Flores parade as they always do, with the traditional comparsas, carrozas and people crowding the streets to dance and enjoy themselves.

Cerveza Águila has always championed Colombian culture and traditions. So, to keep the Carnival afloat, we joined forces and developed “Carnival Simulator,” an activation that breathed new life into the country’s most important festival. Taking carnival from the streets to the virtual world, we leveraged technology and media to bring real value to the audience.

Idea

This year, the need for social distancing left Colombia with no choice but to cancel the highly-anticipated Carnaval de Barranquilla. For the first time in history, the Batalla de Flores could not take place, and Colombians were unable to experience the parade as they always do—with the traditional comparsas, carrozas and people crowding the streets to dance and enjoy themselves.

To keep the celebration afloat, we joined forces with Cerveza Águila and developed “Carnival Simulator,” an activation that kept a tradition alive through gaming and brought the carnival from the streets to the virtual world. Building on the gameplay of the popular PC game American Truck Simulator, we created fifteen different float models for gamers to drive through Barranquilla’s map in a multiplayer experience, and invited some of Colombia’s renowned gamers to try it in a virtual live event produced by us and livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.

Strategy

Both Carnival and gaming have the power to bring people together. In Colombia, American Truck Simulator is one of the most popular simulation video games—not only among the gamers who play it, but also for the thousands of people who watch their livestreams. Knowing that, we set out to build a stronger connection between young Colombians and Cerveza Águila by leveraging the technological capabilities of an extremely popular game, and adding cultural value to it.

Taking one of the key elements of the Carnaval—its iconic location—we brought the celebration from Vía 40 to the virtual world. But “Carnival Simulator” is not just another translation from in-person to virtual. By combining such an important tradition with a game that Colombians are already familiar with, we built a unique digital experience that takes brand building to the next level—strengthening Cerveza Águila’s relationship with its consumers by finding them where they are.

Execution

Our first challenge was to replicate the floats in 3D with the maximum level of detail—focusing on the colors, textures and proportions of the real ones. Then, we had to find a way to incorporate them as playable vehicles into the game. Through an extensive research on this simulator, we discovered that there were commands to access an editor panel, and found an opportunity in the 3D design using the file extension .SCS *, which allowed us to make the 3D models of the floats compatible with the game.

To enhance the experience and make it as realistic as possible, we also recreated the place where the parade traditionally takes place: the streets, monuments and landmarks that could make Colombians feel at home. Using an EditorMap* extension and Google Street View, we built a detailed and realistic version of the road where users could drive their floats. The virtualized parade experience reflected Carnival de Baranquilla’s celebration of culture through design, joy and colors, enabling people to participate in a new way.

Finally, we invited some of Colombia’s renowned gamers to try the game during a virtual live event produced by us and livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook that amplified the event to audiences everywhere.

Outcome

On average, 300,000 people attend the in-person carnival, but our online event increased participation rate by +900%, with more than 1.7 Million impressions during the day of the livestream.

The official website registered 6,522 visits and more than 4,500 new active users. Moreover, the communications on the campaign reached 3 Million people on the first day—through only social media and the official website. The response rate reached 65% with the campaign.

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