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The virtual reality of drinking and driving; Diageo’s educational tool

VR drunk driving experience
Geoff Tompkinson | Getty Images

Through the use of virtual reality (VR), Diageo's Digital and Technology team wants to take consumers on a drunk driving journey from beginning to end in order to demonstrate the tragic consequences that come with drinking irresponsibly.

"The goal is to be able to actually put someone in the middle of that experience and for them to see the choices that led to that horrible outcome. I think this approach is much more impactful," said Dan Sanborn, SVP of Culture and Partnerships for Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol.

In order to recreate a realistic and relatable experience, Sanborn's team will interview a number of people impacted by drunk driving and use those stories to enhance the VR experience.

The consumer's point-of view will be from the passenger seat of the car, instead of from behind the wheel, emphasizing the power of choice.

"I think giving someone a passenger seat to watch that situation unfold will allow them to think about what could have been done differently ... because many times [prevention starts with] the person that may be afraid to speak up or knows that the driver is making the wrong decision," said Sanborn.

Sanborn said his goal is "to make sure as many people as possible get to see it."

For that reason, the company is developing a multi-platform experience that can be used "across Facebook 360, YouTube, and VR headsets" Sanborn said. "In addition, Diageo will also have a sit-in module experience that [the company] will be sending around the country to different sporting events and concerts."

While this initiative focuses solely on drinking and driving, Sanborn's vision for the future reaches beyond this one topic.

"We want to be able to take what we've learned from this endeavor and continue to develop more [VR] experiences that address the many issues around decisions when you're drinking."

According to Sanborn, Diageo plans to roll-out its immersive virtual reality experience in the fall of 2016 with hopes of "sparking an effective and disruptive conservation" about drinking irresponsibly.