Pushing the boundaries of Virtual Reality with Birmingham’s largest student development.

Privilege

  • AR
  • Advertising
  • Branding
  • Digital
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Photography
  • Social Media
  • Video
  • VR
  • 3D Design & CGI

Onyx is a new luxury student accommodation taking shape in the heart of Birmingham. A place where residents can live, work, play and thrive – under one slick roof, with an impressive range of high-quality rooms and apartments and a long list of onsite amenities, from games and cinema rooms to a roof-top terrace. Opening in September 2020, Onyx is raising the bar and redefining the student accommodation market.

Onyx brand film

Our role?

To create an electrifying brand, website and fully integrated marketing campaign for the new, state-of-the art development that gets people talking and sharing and fills rooms – fast. A campaign that transcends the abundance of towering, scaffolded student accommodation builds dotted around the city and positions Onyx as so much more than just a place to rest your head, but a thriving community that will give students everything they need to enjoy the ultimate university experience.

A cosmic brand concept

Our journey with Onyx began with the considered development of a name and branding, the inspiration for which came from the commanding physical presence of the building itself.

One of the largest student accommodations in the country, Onyx will boast a range of studio and shared apartments with 1,025 en-suite bedrooms over 24 stories.

Tall, commanding and slick, the building will comprise two bold, angular towers with sharply-defined ‘razor’ edges, rising 13 and 24 stories respectively and finished with a smooth black gloss.

Bedroom CGI Bedroom CGI
Common room CGI Common room CGI

Inspired by the unique black crystalline appearance of the building, the name Onyx also nods to Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter which borders the development – a vibrant business and commercial district full of places to eat, meet and socialise. Just like the building itself, the name Onyx is strong, confident, contemporary and distinctive.

The brand mark is reminiscent of the sharp characteristics of cut onyx and resembles the shape of the actual building. The concept for the branding and its story developed around the notion of a cosmos, an intergalactic, interconnected system of many parts that combine to form a well-ordered, brilliant whole.

Much like Onyx, with its vast offer and joined-up network of support, a cosmos is an inclusive, harmonious community, exquisitely designed for all who inhabit it. It also has connotations of outer space – a metaphor of exploration, curiosity and possibility, just like a student’s time at University.

A captivating marketing campaign

Using this commanding and dynamic brand identity, we then developed a website, state-of-the art virtual reality experience, PPC campaign and ongoing social media marketing, all complemented by an exceptional suite of photo realistic CGI images of the building’s rooms and spaces. We’re also working to develop brand partnerships and a stakeholder and resident engagement strategy in the run-up to the building’s opening later this year.

Bringing the building to life

And with sales targets for Onyx hitting over 30% occupancy in the first four weeks, it’s clear to see that our campaign has certainly had the desired effect and grabbed people’s attention. And that’s largely down to the most innovative and effective marketing asset we created – an immersive and emotive VR experience that brought this incredible, cutting-edge building and all its amenities to life.

With VR, the possibilities are endless. Any setting, any emotion, can be wrapped around the audience, thus bringing them into the action in a very real way. Which is exactly what we were able to accomplish with the Onyx VR experience.

We utilised the latest stand-alone Oculus Go hardware, which meant that the headsets could be easily transported between the showroom and any events that the site team wanted to host.

After donning a headset, users are launched into outer space in a captivating orbit before zooming past constellations resembling notable buildings and features of Birmingham city centre, like the Bullring statue. They then arrive at the Onyx building and explore the exterior landscaped gardens before being welcomed into the homely reception area.

Key to adding creative flair to the experience was incorporating dynamic transitions between scenes and effects that really emphasised the fully immersive 3D nature of the VR whilst highlighting the building amenities, for example in one transition popcorn flies at and past the user, symbolising the cinema room, whilst in another scene all of the items in the room are hit by a zero gravity effect and begin to orbit all around you.

The experience ends with a view of the two impressive roof terraces and the user’s view then returns to the skies where they’re left with an empowering and optimistic sign-off: ‘It’s written in your stars,’ positioning Onyx as a place that will support students to reach their full potential.

Our aim was to create an experience like no other. One that would entice and drive our audiences to book a room at Onyx and one that was flexible enough to use across multiple formats and in multiple locations.

VR trailer

New brief? Talk to Ted