Topshop returns to virtual reality with immersive water slide experience

Topshop's virtual reality water slide through London's streets

Topshop’s virtual reality water slide through London’s streets

Topshop has turned the windows of its flagship store in London into an interactive pool scene complete with an immersive virtual reality water slide.

#TopshopSplash, as the summer campaign is called, will see visitors able to put on an Oculus headset, sit on a giant inflatable at the entrance to the water slide, and experience a thrilling, hyper-real journey through London.

Created with Fat Unicorn and Your Studio, and running from May 25 – June 4, the high intensity ride takes users through a computer-generated version of the city’s streets, twisting and turning as they go.

The initiative taps into the idea of “presence” that VR engenders – a sense of actually being in the alternate location the experience is supplying, and thus feeling what it provides. This has been used for rollercoaster rides in VR for some time – in some cases in addition to truly being on a ride, while in others without going anywhere at all.

In Topshop’s case, the user doesn’t actually travel on the water slide, but is made to feel as though they do. It follows an earlier experience from the brand using VR to transport store goers to its London Fashion Week show in 2014.

Topshop's virtual reality water slide in its flagship store window

Topshop’s virtual reality water slide in its flagship store window

Sheena Sauvaire, global marketing and communications director at Topshop, says: “As VR technology continues to advance our desire was to blend it with retail theatre to create an immersive and shareable experience for our consumers, as a fun way to celebrate the start of summer.”

To help with the summer feeling comes extrasensory elements in place around the store, including the scent of suncream, as well as relevant pop-ups such as soft-serve ice-cream brand Milk Train. Further concessions will also run relevant initiatives – Hershesons will give tutorials on hair trends, embroiderers Hand and Lock will be on hand to customise new swimwear, and Cheeky salon will be offering Summer-themed nail art.

Snapchat users can also access an exclusive Topshop lens from Saturday, May 27, featuring a surreal summer-themed aquatic world. Those who try the free VR experience will also be able to share it with friends via social media thereafter.

Topshop's water slide displayed in-store

Topshop’s water slide displayed in-store