International Paralympic Committee: This VR Experience from the IPC Enhanced Inclusion for People with Disabilities Brand: International Paralympic Committee


Campaign Summary

To drive greater understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) partnered with Meta and five Paralympians to share their stories of being a disabled athlete in an immersive VR experience on Oculus.



The IPC's "Raw: Emotions Unite Us" campaign had four key objectives:

  1. Amplify the brand presence of the IPC and the Paralympics.
  2. Show that WebXR is a sustainable approach that can drive true accessibility for audiences.
  3. Explore the inherent power of spatial audio as a new medium for storytelling.
  4. Demonstrate that virtual reality can capture the raw impact of emotional experiences.

Target Audience:

The primary target audience was the global traffic from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and — by extension — the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The IPC hoped to reach event viewers who were interested in learning more about para-athletes and their experiences.

Creative Strategy:

Paralympians are inspiring because they defy limitations and expectations. Speaking to a para-athletes can often be a very meaningful experience; one in which individuals have their entire perception of disability forever changed. Knowing this, the IPC wanted to scale this type of experience and create a campaign that would broadly shift people's idea of what disability can be, creating a more inclusive world in the process.


This important project, which took place over a three-month period, was a huge cross-functional effort across multiple disciplines, including sports partnerships, creative, product, media, accessibility teams, DEI, engineering, and marketing and communications.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Finding a way to communicate the emotional experiences of the five Paralympians chosen for this immersive Web XR project was a unique challenge. Emotional responses can be unpredictable, and what one person finds powerful, may leave another person wholly unaffected. In order to ensure its campaign connected with a broad audience, the IPC needed a powerful medium. That was the motivating factor behind the choice to use VR. Virtual reality has a unique ability to immerse its users in experiences and bring the rich stories of the Paralympians to life in a way not possible with any other medium.

Mobile Execution:

Accessibility had to be at the heart of a campaign focused on creating a more inclusive world. So, the IPC worked to ensure that Raw was the most accessible WebXR experience possible.

A chromatic visualization tool helped the brand to ensure all color systems met web color legibility standards. In-world, high-legibility closed captions were added to provide all auditory and voiceover information to those with auditory impairments. Further, the IPC designed the content with low mobility in mind, using simplified input requirements and multiple perspective tools.

Using WebXR as a medium also meant that there would be limited processing power available, and so every frame needed to serve the campaign's main objectives. Using radio's "theater of the mind" concept as its inspiration, the IPC built a visual story on top of black visuals and a spatial sound environment. It created 3D worlds to support each moment of the story, using the spatial soundscape to enhance the immersion. This spatial audio storytelling engulfed users in the experience, enhancing the likelihood of creating an emotional experience.

As the target audiences for Raw were broad demographics, the experience had to be a truly effective, cross-platform approach. The decision to make the webpage the core of the experience allowed the IPC to reach an exponentially larger audience than VR alone would have allowed. Users without immersive devices were able to embrace the full experience with minor accommodations for resolution and devices. Meanwhile, the IPC used PlayCanvas to port the VR build into Javascript so it would be playable via a weblink.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Since its release, over 18,000 people have accessed the Raw: Emotions Unite Us VR experience. This demonstrates that although spatial audio is still emerging, it can be a compelling way to reach VR users.

The experience represents a big brand shift for the IPC, which had previously only operated via standard channel marketing strategies. The reach of this project exceeded any other digital project or marketing piece that the IPC had ever undertaken and had the highest reach of any Meta XR experience to date. Raw generated a 60 percent brand awareness lift for the IPC, compared to regional benchmarks.

The overall marketing campaign produced 21 million impressions, a reach of 8.8 million, and two million views — with a 4 percent click-through rate.

Mobile is the native device for Meta platforms, and over 156,000 unique users were reached on mobile devices — higher than desktop or VR. However, desktop had the highest retention, with 12 percent of unique users completing at least one episode.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Social Impact Marketing, Metaverse | Awards: X Global Gold Winner, X Global Bronze Winner