ABC’s FBI whodunit Quantico emerged as one of the buzzier shows to premiere last year during a relatively quiet Fall season, thanks to its break-neck pace, bananas plot twists and extremely attractive cast cavorting around as FBI trainees. With solid ratings, the drama has already been renewed for a second season. Continuing ABC’s goodwill for the freshman series, the Disney-owned network has created an exclusive virtual reality mission that ties into the overall mythology of the series.
Quantico: The Takedown is ABC’s first venture into the virtual reality space, acting as a VR experience that complemented the show’s midseason return on March 6. Scripted by staff writers on Quantico, the VR experience places viewers directly into the action as a new FBI recruit on a mission to find and capture an assigned target with two of the hit show’s characters. The storyline present in the VR experience intermediately connects with the ongoing story unfolding in the show, with a mole in Quantico responsible for heinous terrorist attacks in New York City.
Sponsored by Lexus, Quantico: The Takedown was actually an arena the luxury car brand had wanted to break into in order to connect with a more tech-savvy audience. MaryJane Kroll, media manager for Lexus, noted the company has used virtual reality technology in the past to showcase their vehicles and that the partnership with ABC’s Quantico served as a seamless and authentic way to highlight Lexus and their VR capabilities. “By working with the show’s writers and producers, we found a way to show off the LX while allowing the audience to literally get closer to the characters and plot lines,” she said.
The aforementioned LX is Lexus’s latest SUV model, which has a glossy co-starring role in Quantico: The Takedown. With viewers acting as a character in the VR experience, the 4-minute adventure both begins and concludes with you in the backseat of the Lexus LX 570 SUV, with plenty of vanity shots showing the sleek exterior of the vehicle as you race the clock to apprehend a terrorist. In order for ABC and Lexus to connect with as large an audience as possible, the network joined forces with VR network Littlstar to make the Quantico VR experience available on any and every VR-compatible device, be it Apple TV, a headset like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive or on a mobile device.
“Our goal with Quantico from a VR standpoint was to make sure the storytelling was front and center,” said Jeffrey Weinstock, vice president and creative director at ABC Integrated Marketing. “With VR, the viewer is in the car with our actors. It’s a much deeper level of engagement for a sponsor while still remaining organic and true to the storyline.” Quantico fans looking for goodies and that deeper engagement level with their latest TV obsession can unlock bonus footage from upcoming episodes, behind-the-scenes features and even hints about character motivations and allegiances that will be expanded upon within the show. And for anyone who wants to experience a short, fun VR adventure but may not know where to jump in, ABC developed the “QuanticoVR” mini website to guide anyone through the 360-degree VR short.
Designed to be a love letter to fans of the show while still showcasing the Lexus advertising tie-in, ABC worked hard to develop Easter eggs that relate to the twisted, tangled web of the show’s episodic arc for Quantico super fans while retaining a welcoming allure for those unfamiliar with the show and just looking for a fun, immersive VR adventure. Quantico: The Takedown has something to offer for everyone, including a great platform for Lexus’s next-gen ad campaign. After all, will we even realize we’re being sold something when we’re just excited about immersing ourselves in a virtual reality of our favorite TV shows?