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Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the first virtual Army Open House – Army 55 Virtual Exhibition – was held from 1 to 13 December 2020 to commemorate the Army’s 55th year. The event took on the theme of #OurArmyFamily and sought to recognise the support our soldiers received from their loved ones and those they served alongside. It symbolised a space where both families meet – where loved ones discover much more behind the uniform, and where brothers in arms salute one another’s service and commitment. The S$1.5m project involved designing an immersive virtual world where visitors could interact with content on-demand, and producing customised army-themed collaterals as event souvenirs. Through interactive and experiential engagements set in 360° environments, the first-ever virtual Army Open House bridged the social distancing gap and brought the heartlands to homes.

Describe the creative idea

What does family mean? The word ‘family’ means different things to different people. What remains the same is the way they make us feel. The Army 55 Virtual Exhibition was a celebration of these relationships – where the families we were born into met the family we serve alongside in the army – in a virtual home away from home.

Shaped like a home, the immersive virtual exhibition appealed to different age groups, as well as servicemen and civilians alike. There were activities for both the young and old, including a virtual run that encouraged exercising as a family. Relatable content, such as a first-person shooter game, social media challenges and workout posters were included alongside army-centric content, such as virtual formation booths and a parallax scroll timeline that served as a fitting commemoration of our Army’s 55 years. Aligning with the theme, Singaporeans now became a part of #OurArmyFamily.

Describe the execution

Opening with an animated splash, the Red Lions landed on a 3D 360° virtual world where visitors interacted with content in different ‘buildings’ designed as recognisable larger-than-life Army elements:

• ShowTime: Live streams at the ‘Float’, the site of BMT passing out parades

• 55 Years of Our Army: A parallax scroll timeline and appreciation wall in HDB blocks forming the number 55

• Our Formations: 16 formation booths housed in a colour-changing beret-shaped dome, reflecting the different vocations of our Army

• Our Stories: A vault of NS story contributions shaped as boots, signifying the first steps into NS

• Young Warriors: Colouring activities and army-themed games within a camo cream tube

• Soldier Strong: Nutrition and training plans, and sign-ups for a virtual run hosted in a dumbbell

• Our Training Ground: A first-person shooter game designed as a SAR 21, a recognisable rifle of our Army

List the results

The Army 55 Virtual Exhibition garnered a total of 72,000 attendees over 13 days. This high visitorship was achieved through the creative planning and design of an event that made celebrating our Army’s 55 years more relatable to everyday Singaporeans. Through human interest stories, an appreciation wall and a collection of NS stories, the event appealed to the emotions of the public, instilling a sense of pride and inspiration for future generations. With multiple engagements, the event recreated a sense of community and connectedness between the public and our Army, even from behind a screen. This was exemplified in the virtual run, which sought to achieve a total of 55,000km and clocked an actual distance of 171,157km. Setting a precedent of what could be achieved virtually for a traditionally high-touchpoint exhibition, the event successfully conveyed the centrality of family in our Army.

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