From starting his own business at university to working on the HTC Vive Virtually Dead activation, we caught up with Rob Wigman to find out more about his career path so far.
1. How did you first hear about OMD Fuse and what attracted you to the role?
A friend of mine within the OMD network introduced me to Fuse. I would not call myself a sports fan, but Fuse is more than just sports focused. The role was for the Fuse brand partnerships team working with clients like Disney and Bentley. This sounded perfect as I had a good level of skills from running my own company, which could be applied to the world of marketing.
2. How did your previous experience help you secure a job at OMD Fuse?
My photography degree probably didn’t have the biggest effect on securing my role at Fuse, but founding and running Pholio, an agency for emerging photographers, for six years definitely put me in a good place. When starting a business and running it, you have to understand all elements from client relationships, new business/pitching, strategy and finance to working as a team to reach your goals. These skills led me to secure the role at Fuse and have proved integral to my growth within OMD Fuse since I started a year and a half ago.
3. Could you explain a typical day, if there’s such a thing?
This might be a bit cliché, but there is no typical day! One day you could be pitching creative ideas to a client/CMO and the next running a brand partnerships workshop with two clients to come up with activation ideas – it really depends. What I love about working at OMD Fuse is that we are all one big team and everyone who works here comes from different backgrounds and specialties. When a pitch lands or retained client work comes in, you work with different people to do the job. Personally, this has meant getting involved with anything from football and motorsports briefs to VR and high-end luxury brands.
4. What are your career highlights so far?
Getting to work at OMD Fuse is first and foremost! Secondly, it would be a project I helped create and activate for HTC Vive, HTC’s VR offering. They came to us with a challenge of how to launch their VR headset Vive in the UK and Paris with very little budget targeting millennials, which are hard to engage through traditional media. We created and activated ‘Virtually Dead’, in partnership with millennial app Dojo. The activation is a world first in immersive theatre with VR at its heart showcasing a zombie shoot’em up game. 10,000 millennials participated in the experience and we smashed our KPIs by 91%. We have been shortlisted for quite a few awards, winning best partnership at the 2016 M&M Global Awards. Seeing it from conception to completion and now winning industry awards has been a great highlight for me.
5. What challenges have you faced?
Coming from a company where we had five or six employees and numerous freelancers, the scale of OMD was a challenge at first. I needed to figure out who best to speak to and work with on projects and briefs. This challenge was made easier when I joined the Grand Tour, a 10-week course setup to learn and become familiar with all the different OMD agencies and offerings. I am now working on a number of projects with client, insight and data teams to ensure a 360 response. This has turned my initial challenge into a huge advantage when creating data-driven projects and work for our clients.
6. What tips would you give people who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t just apply for roles based only on your experiences in an industry. OMD Fuse looks for talent and the right person, not just a wealth of specific experience. The second tip is to be passionate and go above and beyond! You can really create a role for yourself if you have these qualities.
OMD has completed a hugely successful launch for HTC Vive, the first complete virtual reality system. Engineered by OMD’s specialist service unit Fuse Sport + Entertainment, a collaboration between Noma Labs and HTC which, alongside production partner Bearded Kitten, resulted in the fully immersive theatre production, “Virtually Dead”. Live in London and Paris, both events were completely sold out, as enthusiasts flocked to see the very latest in VR technology and experience immersive theatre at its finest.
Combining previously unseen VR technology with interactive performance, “Virtually Dead” blurred the lines between what’s real and what’s not, giving the audience a completely new, thrilling and scary interactive experience. During the hour-long activity, ticketholders were guided by actors into designated VR areas containing 13 minutes of playable VR content. Instead of a static experience, Vive’s much anticipated “360° room-scale” technology allowed guests to move around and explore their new virtual world.
Following a sinister virus outbreak, which has wiped out millions of people in Arizona, ticketholders were invited to join the fight against the plague of Zombies that has taken over. The US Military swing into action and the entire state is quarantined. A special army is trained to deal with the potential overseas spread of the virus and recruits are put through their paces to be able to tackle the virus on the front line.
Olivia Rose, Account Director at Fuse said, “It was a thrill to be involved in creating something which is literally breaking new ground in terms of audience experience and engagement. Many entertainment events become fairly standard in terms of format and delivery, but this was something very original and special. Merging immersive theatre with virtual reality presented incredible opportunities and we were absolutely delighted with the success of the events in both London and Paris.”
Jon Goddard, Head of VR Marketing, EMEA at HTC commented, “Introducing our revolutionary 360° room–scale VR technology into an immersive theatre environment is an entirely new venture, and one we couldn’t wait for people to experience. We’re incredibly excited to have worked with Fuse and subsequently the creative teams at Noma Labs and believe Vive, the first complete virtual reality system, is the perfect VR partnership to deliver a truly spectacular production.”
- Tickets sound out in two weeks!
- 45+ press features
- Conversations around Virtually Dead reached 100+ million people worldwide
- 15m+ Virtually Dead video views
- 20 million data points used to target millennials in London and Paris
For more information, contact [email protected]
A few weeks ago, I was asked to take part in a debate with the Guardian on ‘The Sports Industry and Sustainability’. Joined by a panel of experts including Tania Braga, Head of Sustainability, Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Russell Seymour, founder of the British Association for Sustainability in Sports, I was asked to provide a point of view from the standpoint of rights holders, sponsors and fans.
At Fuse, OMD’s Partnerships and Experiences agency, we know the power sport has to inspire, motivate and engage fans. It’s why we believe in the power of sponsorship to drive brand love, increase consideration and influence purchase decision-making. But what about harnessing the influence sport, clubs and teams have over their fans to drive environmental behaviour change? Can a football club really get their supporters to switch to a green energy supplier or to take up recycling?
An example from one of our clients that have done just that is PepsiCo in the US. Leveraging their NBA sponsorship of Miami Heat team, PepsiCo set up recycling machines that incentivise and reward fans who use them with discount vouchers for merchandise in the stadium. It’s a really great example of how a sponsor and big FMCG brand can engage sports fans, enhancing their experience at a venue whilst encouraging recycling and, importantly, driving a change in behaviour.
Nissan also used a sporting event, the UCL final last year, to promote their fully Electric Vehicle (EV). We didn’t lead with environmental messaging, but instead showcased the performance and convenience of using an EV in a modern city like Berlin. We leveraged the passion of football fans and the sponsorship platform that the Champions League provides to show fans how their physical kinetic energy could be converted into energy that fuelled the Nissan Leaf EV.
There’s a real role sport can play in making environmental and sustainability issues relevant to the everyday consumer. There’s also a massive challenge for the sustainability industry that isn’t used to talking the language of sports fans. That’s the role rights holders, sponsors and marketers can play in the sports industry/ sustainability discussion – making sustainability cool, relevant and part of what is already a consumer passion to drive effective and positive social change.
Read more about the live debate or the summary article on six ways to tackle sport’s waste problem. Any questions or want more information, do get in touch with Rachael Smith, our Purpose Director.
The Shallows is a twist on a classic story of human vs nature – the story of a shark attack in open water where Blake Lively’s character must use her survival skills to overcome all odds. Sony Pictures wanted to launch the movie by bringing to life the challenges she must overcome in a way that would captivate a younger audience. In close collaboration with FUSE, we put together a launch event where 12 internet celebrities from across the globe came together to take part in challenges in shark-infested waters. With professional camera crews on board, a drone camera and a mechanical shark fin, we were able to capture some fantastic footage of these YouTube stars that we are now sharing out across paid and owned channels.
The event ran just over a week ago, so the media campaign is still currently in progress – with a phased market by market rollout that continues until the end of August. Influencers involved include Cheng Loew – Germany, Valeriia Liubarskaya – Russia, Room 94 Members: Sean Lemon, Dean Lemon, Kieran Lemon and Kit Tanton – UK, Francesco Gentile – Italy, Bullysteria (Hector Trejo) – Mexico, Pauline Wang – France, Celopan – Spain, OllieGamerz – Spain and Federico Devito – Brazil.
For more information, please contact [email protected].