Project Main Details
In 1984, in the the small town of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine—before the organic movement was even on the map—Burt Shavitz harvested honey, made lip balm with it, and founded Burt’s Bees. In a short time, his face would adorn a line of all-natural healthcare products worldwide; by 2007, Burt’s was a $900 million company owned by Clorox. But the brand’s roots remain faithful to Burt’s vision to this day. And despite his success and fame, Burt preferred a humble lifestyle, living his days in a modified turkey coop with a wood-fired stove in rural Maine. When he passed away in 2015 at 80 years of age, Burt’s Bees wanted to celebrate and commemorate their founder in a unique and powerful way.
Burt Shavitz’s home was rebuilt at Burt’s Bees headquarters on the American Tobacco Campus, in Raleigh, NC. It stands as a tribute to Burt’s philosophy, and the brand’s ongoing mission to love and respect nature.
But it didn’t stop there. Burt’s Bees asked Google how we might bring people everywhere into Burt’s home in North Carolina—and give people in North Carolina a little taste of that field in Maine.
So, back to that question: How do you use technology to evangelize and celebrate the life of a man who lived off the grid?
We did what Burt would do. Keep things simple. Think about what’s good for a user. Embrace the analog. And add a little sense of wonder.
Welcome to Burt’s House. The real one is barely big enough for two people at a time. With the power of Maps, we’re able to accommodate a lot more. Now users everywhere can visit Burt’s place and look around. A mix of text, images and videos are at your fingertips, so it’s easy to find out more about what made Burt, Burt—and also learn about the critical role that bees play in the environment.
Back in North Carolina, we wanted to do something immersive that enhanced the installation, without compromising its simplicity—or making people stare at their phones to engage. What would it feel like to stand in Maine? What if we could virtually transport people to the tranquility of the Coop’s original location?
We built a custom Viewfinder to do just that. Instead of binoculars that let you sightsee into the instance, ours has superpowers—thanks to a 360° VR experience hidden within. Users step up expecting to see across the street, and find themselves gazing out across a field in Maine as if they were on Burt’s front porch. Or, they can virtually step inside the Coop itself. All 400 square feet of it.
Digitally-powered, but delightfully analog in its presentation, Burt’s Binoculars evoke a little whimsy, giving people a meditative break in the day to enjoy some of nature’s wonder.
So, whether you’re on the ground in North Carolina, or browsing the Web from afar, be sure to drop by Burt’s Place. And learn more about what you can do to help restore bee colonies.
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