How Google Cardboard took fans inside Abbey Road with NME

Some 80,000 Google Cardboard virtual reality viewers were distributed with copies of NME magazine to give music fans the chance to see inside the iconic Abbey Road Studios last week (29 September to 1 October).

  • The Google Cardboard activation at King's Cross Station (all images by Andy Hughes)

    The Google Cardboard activation at King's Cross Station (all images by Andy Hughes)


Music fans were able to use the Google Cardboard viewers alongside Google’s virtual reality app 'Inside Abbey Road', which offers fans a new and exclusive music VR experience inside the venue.

As part of the campaign, Google worked with agency Amplify to recreate Abbey Road Studios’ iconic Studio 2 at an experiential installation in London’s King’s Cross Station from 29 September to 1 October.

Google Cardboard and the app were also promoted and distributed through co-branded and designed distribution stands in key London locations, regional stations and universities throughout the UK.

Cardboard viewers were available with copies of NME at pop-up distribution points outside live music events, shopping areas and social spaces, too.

The campaign was supported with cross-platform content across print, digital and social and is the first time Google has distributed the virtual reality viewers for free at this scale in the UK.

In print, NME has run a four-page spread that talks readers through the Inside Abbey Road VR experience and the history of the legendary studios.

Giles Martin, producer at Abbey Road, said: "The decision to work with Google was all about embracing this new technology, but it was also a great opportunity to let people see what happens there. Abbey Road is like the Tardis, and most people have no idea what goes on behind the front door. It's a working studio, so you can't really show people around, but there are so many fans who make the pilgrimage there, and it's always seemed a bit unfair that they can't have a look inside. Modern technology now allows you to step through that doorway into a three-dimensional world - and in a funny way, that's very Abbey Road."

Abbey Road Studios was completely closed to the public until last year when Google unlocked the studio doors with a 360 degree interactive online experience.

The partnership for this camapign was brokered between Benedict Ransley, creative media manager for NME, and OMD UK for Google.

Abbey Road Studios has partnered with Airbnb to host a sleepover with music artist, Mark Ronson, on 15 October.

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