Trippin out on Toms at Agenda
by Hunter Meece
Remember the first time you got on a ski lift? I’m not talking about the bunny hill, but like a real fucking ski lift. One that is so high up you feel dizzy as you stare at the jagged rocks and cliffs below. As the cold and stunning view leaves you breathless, you are suspended in infinity with a terror deep in your stomach as you imagine what may be waiting at the top.
It’s been a long time since my first ski lift, but the feeling of experiencing something for the first time is unforgettable and as I grow older, it’s something I cherish and seek out wherever it may be. When the opportunity came to attend my first trade show representing Stay Wild, I could feel the cables lurching forward and I jumped on a flight to Los Angeles with only a two-hour notice.
The mountain of brands present at the Agenda trade show seemed infinite as I plowed down the mountain with my pizza fully engaged. It didn’t matter that my muscles were burning or that I probably looked like a kook; the sheer volume of vendors distracted me from my exhaustion.
Admittedly I was a bit embarrassed because they looked like some real hotdoggers and it was pretty obvious that I was still working on my pizza. It turned out that they weren’t pretentious at all and were stoked to show off their brand. It was jaw dropping.
TOMS is different from the other brands that were on the mountain. Unlike other brands just looking to make a profit, they have been successful in generating a profit while generously improving lives on a global scale. Sometimes words fail to capture the essence of a style this fluid. I mean, imagine someone doing the splits in the air over a mogul to reach someone trapped on the mountain without boots! Essentially this is what I witnessed when TOMS shared their virtual reality with me.
For those not familiar with Oculus Virtual Reality – Google or YouTube it. It’s a powerful tool that works with your smartphone to give you a visual experience of an alternative reality. Imagine stepping into your favorite game, being immersed in your favorite movie, or in the case with TOMS, jumping to a destination on the other side of the world. This technology gives you the illusion of being physically present in places you may have only dreamed about. By partnering with Occulus VR, TOMS has been able to allow customers to experience the contributions of their unique brand firsthand. Imagine what it would be like to be in the skis of the person doing the splits over a mogul to help the bootless person – to see from their point of view. Imagine looking 360 degrees around yourself and being able to decide where your attention should go. While staying loyal to the brand’s values, this experience brings marketing back to the customer as an individual.
From TOMS’ perspective I saw what it could possibly be like to give to people in Malawi, Haiti, Peru, or one of the other 70-some countries where they have an impact. In their virtual reality it was impossible not to be captivated by the expressions on individuals’ faces as they interacted with the TOMS giving team. It was brilliant and made me want to wear their shoes. Interacting with brands the rest of the day was still an adventure, but my experience with TOMS stays with me. It was virtual, but TOMS is the real deal.