Introducing Balenciaga's WebAR Game: An exploration of sustainability and social responsibility

Augmented Reality (AR) enables brands to foster authentic connections with consumers, showcasing shared values and a genuine commitment to making positive contributions to society.

As a leading luxury fashion brand, Balenciaga has always been committed to creating innovative designs while promoting social responsibility. In celebration of International Earth Day on April 22nd, 2023, Balenciaga collaborated with 8th Wall to develop an augmented reality (AR) experience focused on regenerative agriculture. The game was designed to promote sustainable farming in Balenciaga's manufacturing processes while providing a dynamic experience for players.

This AR For Good experience, the Balenciaga Regenerative Agriculture Experience launched on Earth Day is an initiative supported by 8thWall WebAR technology.

Challenges: Developing an educational game around sustainable farming

Aligning with Balenciaga's values and brand image

Developing the Balenciaga Regenerative Agriculture Experience as an AR agency presented us with several challenges based on the brief. First and foremost, we aimed to ensure that the AR experience aligned with Balenciaga's values and brand image while also promoting sustainability and environmental awareness on Earth Day. This required a thorough understanding of regenerative agriculture techniques and integrating them into the virtual farming concept in an engaging and educational way for users.

Ensuring the AR experience's accessibility to Balenciaga's diverse audience across a multitude of devices presented another challenge.

Integrating regenerative agriculture techniques effectively

Balenciaga’s challenge was to optimise and distribute the minigame that highlighted their commitment to sustainable responsibility while providing an educational experience for users. 

The goal was to showcase sustainable farming practices and techniques that improve soil health, such as intercropping, crop rotation, agricultural waste, and composting. The game had to be engaging and immersive, while still delivering an informative message to users. 

Approach: Utilising 8th Wall's world tracking effects and creating an immersive universe

To achieve the goal of creating an engaging and informative game, Balenciaga utilised 8th Wall's world tracking technology, specifically their SLAM engine, which is hyper-optimised for real-time AR on mobile browsers. 

Incorporating objectives and progression system for engagement

The concept for the WebAR game was to create an immersive universe where users could learn about the stages of land cultivation and regenerative agriculture while actively taking part in the farming process. 

The game was designed to guide users through virtual landmarks, following arrows and light up hints throughout the landscape to learn and follow the steps. The user experience included a system of objectives to achieve, unlocking the next step of the game. This provided a level of freedom while still being guided and directed, making the learning process more engaging and interactive.  

Atomic x Balenciaga Earth Day 3D environment
Atomic x Balenciaga Earth Day 3D Assets

Results: A successful launch with high user engagement 

The launch of the WebAR game on Balenciaga's official website was a huge success, with the of thousands visits in just two days. The majority of the audience was in the US, with over 5,000 visits, followed by Japanese site-goers. 

Building meaningful campaigns in the digital era

The game achieved its goal of promoting sustainable farming practices and raising awareness of Balenciaga's commitment to sustainable responsibility. Balenciaga's commitment to sustainable farming extends beyond the WebAR game. 

The brand is investing in eDNA technology to measure and monitor biodiversity and partnering with Epiterre to restore ecological balance and safeguard livelihoods in the Occitanie region of Southwestern France. This data helps corporations, landowners, and farmers get a more accurate picture of ecosystem health. 

The success of the WebAR game demonstrates the power of leveraging social initiatives to support corporate social responsibility (CSR) and promoting AR For Good.

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