Cannes Lions

The Field Trip to Mars



6 Gold Cannes Lions
8 Silver Cannes Lions
5 Bronze Cannes Lions
6 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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To inspire the first generation that will travel to Mars, we brought the Red Planet closer than it has ever been before via the first-ever group virtual reality experience. We transformed a classic school bus into an immersive, moving field trip where passengers can see, hear and feel what the surface of Mars is like, and do so as a shared experience without headsets or goggles.

Our first riders, D.C.-area students, thought they were going on a normal field trip. But as the windows transformed to reveal the Martian landscape, we surprised them with a field trip unlike any other.

By creating this first-of-its-kind technology to bring Mars to Earth, we’re using innovation to inspire an entire generation to realize how much further they can truly go.


Over the course of six months, we designed the first-ever headset-free group virtual reality vehicle experience. We started by creating 200 square miles of Mars’ surface using Unreal 4. We then mapped the Mars surface to the real streets of D.C, and showcased geological features, the Curiosity rover, a realistic base camp and a massive Martian dust storm.

And then we bought a school bus.

We completely gutted the bus to install our custom-built switchable electric glass screens that transitioned from transparent to opaque, and paired them with 4K transparent LCD displays. We then re-outfitted the bus to make it look and feel like any other school bus.

By integrating our virtual Mars surface, custom screen technology, GPS, 3-axis accelerometer, magnetometer, and laser surface velocimeter, the bus became our virtual reality “headset”. When the bus moved, the surface moved; and when the bus turned, we turned on Mars too.


Our virtual reality Mars experience debuted at the USA Science & Engineering Festival and was a huge hit. Over 2,500 attendees took the trip to Mars, even waiting up to an hour and a half to try out the revolutionary experience.

Festival-goers weren’t the only ones to take notice. Since our inaugural field trip on April 15, videos featuring the virtual field trip have been viewed over 2.5 million times and we have generated over 120 million impressions.

The day after launch, the bus was a trending topic on Facebook for more than 24 hours, and social conversation spread to over 50 countries. Major news outlets like NBC, ABC, and Fox have covered the story, as well as leading technology and innovation sites like Engadget, PSFK, Futurism and Digital Trends.

Even Silicon Valley is taking notice—the bus was highlighted for its groundbreaking use of VR at the 2016 Samsung Developers Conference Keynote.

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