There’s nothing like a long line to pique the public’s interest. And that’s exactly what Panasonic has done with its sponsor pavilion at the 2010 Winter Olympics—twice! Outside the brand’s two-story, glass-front structure, fans wait in line to get their tickets and assigned showtimes for a seat in one of two 3D theater experiences hidden at the back of the pavilion. Inside the spacious lobby, fans line up again behind velvet ropes to wait their turn for a seat at the show. Panasonic takes full advantage of the curious crowds and wait times to engage consumers in a few interactive experiences that reinforce its eco-messaging and position as a leading player in the HD 3D market. On one side of the space, fans line up to put on a pair of 3D glasses and then poke at themselves in front of a live 3D camera. On the other, the brand emphasizes its sustainability initiatives with an “eco ideas” zone. Kids especially flock to the area to jot down their own eco ideas on a card (“use recycled paper” is a popular one) and then wait as a staffer places it on a small kiosk where the message is instantly scanned. Then, they wait anxiously for their message to appear—in their own handwriting—on a large flat screen. At another station, attendees use a roller ball to scroll through all of the messages collected at the pavilion. The zone also features two flat screens that use touch technology to engage fans in quizzes and other branded video content. Two busy 3D home theaters flank each side of the waiting area and another popular spot offers a chance to pose for a photo op with giant stuffed Olympics mascots named Quatchi, Miga and Mukmuk.
Once inside the theaters, fans put on a pair of 3D goggles and are treated to a highlight reel featured on a 103-inch HD 3D TV. One video segment traces Panasonic’s involvement with the Olympics as a sponsor and technology provider. Just as the 3D experience starts to feel a bit too much like an extended Panasonic TV ad, the next clip starts and shows off the HD 3D technology through stunningly vivid scenes from the Beijing Summer Olympics and the opening ceremonies from the Vancouver Winter Olympics. In one clip, a soccer ball misses the goal and flies right at the viewers, causing a few to jump from their seats. Overheard on the way out of the theater: “I can’t wait to watch all of the Olympics in 3D.” Mission accomplished.