Emma Levine

Living with Lag

Oculus Rift experiment boosts sales by 54% for a Swedish ISP.

For two days, four Swedish volunteers lived with lag.

But ‘What is lag?’ you ask.

Lag is that frustrating time between making an action and seeing the result. It’s pressing send on an email but taking seconds for it to fly away into cyberspace before landing in another person’s inbox. It is delays, buffering, pixels and frozen screens.

The four volunteers used a rig that was comprised of an Oculus Rift, Raspberry Pi, a webcam, and noise cancelling headphones. They performed everyday tasks like cooking and jogging, as well as bowling, dancing and playing ping-pong. Every movement they made was delayed.

The heartwarmingly hilarious experiment captured on film was a cleverly designed commercial for Swedish ISP, ume.net. The aim was to prove that we wouldn’t live with lag in real life, so why would we put up with it online.

Ume.net provides fiber broadband that offers 1000 Mbits/s (megabits per second) – essentially lag free. So to entice people to leave a lagfilled life and go with ume.net for a lag-free life was aim of the game.

Ume.net set out to create a viral campaign with a minimum target of 10,000 social actions, and to be picked up by at least 10 news outlets. They aimed for a 5% increase in brand awareness and brand preferences, and a 15% increase in sales compared to the previous year within 6 months of ‘Living with Lag’ being released.

‘Living with Lag’ hit 1 million views on Youtube within 24 hours of its release and was most popular in Sweden and the United States. They got 33.3 times the social actions and over 350 media outlets and blogs picked it up including Gizmodo, Mashable, Fast Company, Engadget, CBS News, Business Insider, Fox 13 News, Daily Mail, Buzz 360 and so many more. The total value of the 78 million earned impressions was €3.3 million (AU$4.86 million).

In terms of the business, there was a 7% increase in brand awareness and a 10% increase in brand preference. The sales increased by an average of 54% per month in comparison to the previous year, exceeding the 15% sales increase goal by 260%.

Let just say they smashed that one out of the park!

View the video to see why the campaign was such a success.