Pepsi Pop Star Goes Immersive

by Guy Frum

Pepsi Pop Star Goes Immersive Inside Amusement Park

As amusement park rides go, the Pepsi Pop Star experience doesn’t look like much. No loops and twists like a traditional rollercoaster, no death-defying drops that let people six miles away hear you screaming, nothing that appears to go upside down, underwater, or through shark-infested waters. In fact, it looks rather short and squat when you compare it to what you might see around the corner at Universal Studios or Disney World.But if we’re learning anything when it comes to immersive technology in the entertainment field.

More Than Meets the Eye

The immersive entertainment experience is located in the Kissing Tower region of Hersheypark, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It occupies about 2,500 square feet and park visitors cna book their free spot in a private dance pod. Every person can create their own personalized, custom avatar by taking a selfie and then dancing in line with professional routines to the beats of great modern bands like The Killers and Imagine Dragons. Everyone who enters the experience can pick a background, song, outfit, and hairstyle for their avatar, which is blended into the selfie to create a realistic version of themselves. 

Since social distancing remains a priority in most public areas, the Pepsi Pop Star allows users to interact via a virtual friendly competition, challenging other guests to dance-offs to see who gets the highest score on the digital scoreboard that is part of the pod experience. The challenge doesn’t end there, since anyone who participates can gain access to a 15-minute music video starring themselves and share it across all their social media channels. A simple Qr Code scan sends the video from the theme park to your phone in half a second.The experience isn’t all digital and enhanced reality either, Pepsi ties it in its own products for merchandise and refreshment, but does so in an exclusive manner that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the “real world.” A virtual shopping cue inside the experience offers one-of-a-kind merchandise that can be picked up on-site, much as you would have the opportunity to do at a concert. 

There’s also a futuristic ‘Pepsi Cooler’ that features limited-edition Pepsi Pop Star cans that can be collected or simply enjoyed after a dance workout. The entire process lasts 15 minutes and is free with an advanced booking that can be made online. Pepsi has been inextricably tied to pop music for decades, thanks in large part to its sponsorship of the halftime of every Super Bowl since 2013. In the last 8 years, the food and drink mega-corporation has delivered performances from Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and the Weeknd. Merging the music of the current generation with the chance to live out one’s own music video dreams is a stroke of genius for Pepsi, and keeps the theme park experience reinventing itself.