Valencia Tourism Invites You Into the Ultimate Immersive Experience: Reality

The tax man won't find you here

For the region of Valencia, Spain, Serviceplan came up with "The Most Immersive Experience Is Reality." 

The images are saturated and bright. The narration lends the feel of an action-packed RPG: "Down the river we go! I think they're following us. Stay in control. You've got this! We've unlocked the secret map."

A man gestures for us to follow. A group of locals raise glasses for a toast. Then, suddenly, we're airborne, overlooking everything—an unexpected out-of-body flight.

There's an established discourse and tension between tourism campaigns and the so-called "immersive" experiences proffered by screens and headsets. The two are juxtaposed or pitted against each other, like warring siblings vying for a bigger chunk of our time. Three years ago, BBH Singapore recreated the country's Sentosa Island Resort inside Animal Crossing. Just months later, TBWA\Sydney positioned the experience of visiting New Zealand as an open-ended video game

Of course, conversations must flow at least two ways. McCann London created spots for beautiful destinations, accessible only through games on Xbox. In 2021, Meow Wolf—purveyors of immersive experiences themselves—collabbed with Wieden + Kennedy on a tourism ad for the multiverse.

Sometimes tourism and the digital world engage in meta conversations with the larger culture that exceed the original goals of the campaign. There was that time Fridays for Future worked with Fred & Farid L.A. to make a bleak tourism push for Mars, a commentary on how excited billionaires are about getting there while everything earthbound goes to shit. (Elon Musk has optimistically speculated that "a bunch of people will probably die" making the journey. That's a realistic assessment offered in especially poor taste, given how keen he is to establish indentured servitude on the Red Planet.)

Iceland brought things back down to earth. Created by SS+K, "Introducing the Icelandverse" made a case that neither the metaverse nor space travel will provide the weird, otherworldly thrills you could experience right here, just by visiting a place that lets you feel a bit lost in your human certainty.

Which brings us back to "The Most Immersive Experience," which sets its boots in well established trenches. That hardly means the trope isn't still good, but we're reminded of something Margaret Thatcher once said: "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't." Nobody's doubting, hopefully, that flesh-and-blood reality has more to offer our numbed, overstimulated senses than diodes and screens strapped to our faces and limbs. But if you're advocating for that by constantly reminding people how much better you are than the other thing, well ... people can't be blamed for thinking the opposite.

We don't believe anyone actually prefers sitting at home to going on adventures—as a rule, anyway. We think interaction with strangers has become volatile and difficult, even before introducing linguistic differences. And the costs of overcoming the mental hurdles to travel have become so great that you never even reach the economic, professional or political barriers.

It doesn't help that places favored by tourists, including parts of Spain, appear hostile to company right now. Sometimes this is because rowdy visitors are abusive in public (see: Amsterdam and Lanzarote). In the case of Venice, tourism smothers local culture, resulting in passive-aggressive economic behavior. And increasingly, tourism is on a collision course with climate change, stalling relief efforts and further disenfranchising local populations (see: Greece, Maui ... and yes, also Venice).

The virtual world doesn't have these messy peccadilloes. And while messiness is also part of the "immersive" experience of reality, you'd probably prefer to limit undesirable variables over the two weeks or whatever you get for a vacation. Who can guarantee that—an experience absent of volatility? Sometimes, for this reason, we spend sleepless days and nights wandering the universe of No Man's Sky, limiting our (rare) interactions to helpful extraterrestrials and nameless fauna.

Though the siren call here is hard to beat. "It's the best filter you'll ever see. It's the salt of the sea that stays on your skin." We love that feeling.

"The Most Immersive Experience" was directed by Isola Films' Cayetano Gonzalez, who wanted to build the campaign on sensations that can't be duplicated in a digital environment. The narration is supplied by Arkano, a Spanish rapper with Valencian roots. He is said to have studied real conversations and expressions in the virtual world to bridge a kind of "metaverse" experience into what may well be your reality. (Though if you haven't made summer vacation plans by now, you better hop to it). 

This marks Serviceplan Spain's third year representing the Region of Valencia. Hundreds of pieces of creative have been created for online and offline supports, and will be dispersed throughout the year in both Spanish and Valencian, nationally and regionally, as well as translated and adapted for international markets.


Client: Turisme Comunitat Valenciana
Title: "The Most Immersive Experience Is Reality"
Agency: Serviceplan Spain
CEO: Ainhoa de la Pozas
Executive Creative Director: Emilio Valverde
Art Director: Carlos Alcácer
Copywriters: Pablo Tesio, Andrea Ventura and Arkano
Client contact: Sergio Bellentani, Miguel Ángel Blasco, Luis Tormo, Carmen Sahuquillo
Account director: Vanesa Gómez
Junior Account: Teresa Borrás

Production company: Isola Films
Director and Photographer: Cayetano Gonzalez

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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