Kids’ fear of the water tackled with Virtual Reality

The Swedish Swimming Federation, with Energy company E.ON, and M&C Saatchi Stockholm have launched a virtual reality initiative to encourage reticent children into water. The campaign, The Power of Swimming, is aimed at young non-swimmers who need a little encouragement to take the plunge.

The idea was designed by M&C Saatchi Stockholm earlier this year, with the agency working closely with E.ON, the Swedish Swimming Federation and production company Apartment5 to make this life-changing initiative come to life. By using virtual reality, powered b a smartphone and a Google cardboard style headset, the children are introduced to three members of the Swedish swim team, Simon Sjodin, Jennie Johansson and Erik Persson. The swimmers guide them into a swimming pool, helping them to overcome their fears by swimming virtually. Later, the children meet the same swimmers in a real swimming pool, where they are encouraged into the water and begin to learn to swim in real life.

Surprisingly, in a land full of lakes and surrounded by sea, one in five Swedish children can’t swim, so this new project is a small but significant step towards a swim-savvy Sweden. The overall aim of the initiative is to inspire young people to start swimming and raise confidence in the water this summer. During the film, psychologist Philip Lindner tells viewers: “Shorter exposure can help people experience fun things they’ve previously missed out on, and create motivation to change.”

The children’s response to the water has been completely changed by the VR experience. They say things like, “I was in the water in a second,” “I think that’s what I want to do when I grow up,” and “It feels good to be under water now.”

The goggles provide VR via a smartphone
The goggles provide VR via a smartphone

Martin Cedergren, Executive Creative Director and Partner, M&C Saatchi Stockholm, said: “At times in your career you are extra proud of a campaign. This is one of those moments. We really hope this initiative will positively change children’s swimming experiences and encourage them to feel confident enough to get in the water.”

For more on the VR goggles, and to order, visit E.ON’s Swedish website here.

You can try out the VR film by watching the 360 film on YouTube below