PHD has launched an initiative to take all 3,000 employees from across the network to Cannes…well, virtually at least.

The agency has today announced its Cannes 360 project, which aims to give all employees – and other interested parties – a taste of the French Riviera through virtual reality films shot at the industry’s premier festival, Cannes Lions.

The series of short 360 films will include scenes from YouTube Beach, the Croisette and the Palais, as well as interviews and talks with thought-leaders. The films will be hosted on PHD Worldwide’s YouTube channel, and can be viewed via the YouTube app, or PHD’s website, with or without Google Cardboard.

Offices from across the PHD network are inviting employees to enjoy the 360 videos on their phone with the YouTube app or through Google cardboard to enjoy a more immersive experience of Cannes.

Immersive experience through VR is just one of the subjects being discussed at PHD’s Cannes Lions seminar, with guest speaker Kevin Kelly – tech commentator and co-founder of Wired.  The session “Predestination – Where we are all heading”, looks at the 12 inevitable tech trends explored by Kelly in his latest publication “The Inevitable”.

As well as exploring the implications of tech trends like AI and VR, the first 15 minutes of the seminar session will itself be captured through 360 filming, demonstrating the technology that Kelly predicts will become much more pervasive in the very near future.

According to Kelly, “VR is going to transform our internet of information into an internet of experiences and it is creating presence, immersion, a sense of being there and a way to experience things that we previously only read about or heard about. That new emphasis on experiences is the new value in the world”.

Mike Cooper, Worldwide CEO said, “What’s happening at Cannes Lions will dominate the marketing news agenda next week and of course the majority of the agency and wider industry won’t get the chance to attend. So there is a huge fascination about the content. While nothing will really compare to actually being there, our Cannes 360 project is a fun way to bring Cannes to life in a new way and demonstrate some of the technology that we are going to see more and more brands using in the future”.

Those interested in joining the experience can visit PHD’s YouTube playlist and website.

Predestination – Where we are all heading takes place on Wednesday 22nd June at 1pm in the Lumiere Theatre.  Kelly will also join a panel at the Innovations Lions, hosted by PHD, exploring AI.  ‘Will a Robot Win a Lion?’ takes place on the same day at 3.30pm on the Discovery stage and includes speakers from Google and Critical Mass.

Virtual Reality will be the focus of activity at YouTube beach, where visitors can go on a VR adventure or take a sub-sea selfie with YouTube 360. Google’s keynote at the festival will focus on VR, with Clay  Bavor, leader of the virtual reality team at Google, as the main speaker.

“We are happy to support PHD to virtually bring Cannes to their 3,000 employees with YouTube 360 and Google Cardboard. It is great to see an agency coming up with fresh ideas that involve the newest technology” Caterina Kostoula, Global Business Leader at Google.