Royal Air Force (RAF) – Op. VR

Royal Air Force (RAF) – Op. VR


Agency: M-integrated solutions

Client: Royal Air Force (RAF) Recruitment

Event Name: RAF Cosford Air Show (plus 7 additional air shows, exhibitions and events)

Agency Website:





The Brief:  

Inspire eligible candidates to consider a career in the RAF, by engaging them with a highly emotive, awe-inspiring taste of the extraordinary experiences and opportunities the Royal Air Force (RAF) has to offer.

Position the RAF as a cool, technology-led and innovative employer, an exciting, aspirational and pioneering organisation.

Showcase the multifaceted nature of the RAF; the breadth of roles, capabilities and opportunities in the RAF, and demonstrate to potential recruits the extraordinary opportunities of life as a serving member.

Harness the appeal of virtual reality to the target audience of 16-24 year olds in an original and captivating way.

Engage audiences of all ages and introduce new audiences to the RAF.

Transform the capability of the RAF Recruitment Force to deliver recruitment messaging.

Create an unforgettable experience that participants talk about with their friends and family.


The Solution:

RAF Op. VR (strapline, See Your Future Take Flight) is a multi-user, virtual reality experience that immerses the user into a day in the life of the Royal Air Force. Showcasing five job roles, it gives the RAF a unique opportunity to offer users unrestricted access to inaccessible situations. The user can vertically take off and fly an F-35B Lightning II, intercept an unidentified aircraft, carry out an aid drop on a disaster hit island in the Caribbean, receive and interpret surveillance in a command centre and set up a mobile satellite communications system. In each custom-built scenario the user is required to perform an interactive task, boosting feelings of involvement with the work of the RAF. A vibrating rumble pack on the user’s seat increases the feeling of immersion in the scene for the user. Op. VR has increased awareness of the range of work that the RAF does and also the breadth of opportunity a career in the force offers.

Virtual reality as a platform has an enormous appeal to our target audience. They live their lives in a digital world, are experience-focussed and seek new forms of entertainment. They are less interested in brand conversations and prefer brands that make their lives both easier and enriched; to them, authenticity is key.

In a recent survey over 71% of young people aged 10-17 and 58% aged 18-34 described VR as ‘awesome’. Over 20% of Millennials referred to VR as the future of technology. (Voxburner)


The Activation:

Not only did we explore the realms in which the RAF currently operate, we also give the user a glimpse into the potential future operating environment of space. The user sees the earth from the point of view of a satellite used by the RAF to carry its communication across the world as well as a an Airbus Zephyr, the latest in solar powered unmanned aircraft the RAF use to carry out surveillance.
The audio design was crucial. Extensive references were gathered to ensure authenticity to key sounds, like the Helmholtz resonance, heard as the ramp of the Airbus Atlas A440M opens. The soundtrack is a bespoke creation designed to add to the tension of the experience using techniques as a ticking clock and shepherd tine during the interactions.
We understood that our core audience, the recruit-able 16-24 year olds, would not be impressed with an average or passable VR experience, we focused on ensuring that Op. VR was realistic in the extreme. Recruitment marketing for the RAF sets a high bar for truly integrated marketing activity.

This product allows users to see and feel what it’s like to be in places where only currently serving members of the RAF can go, as they actively carry out mission duties all over the world.
Parents of young people aged 10-17 are generally favourable towards virtual reality and are open to their children using the technology. Tasked with enhancing RAF Recruitment event-based activity in the service’s centenary year, M-is chose to produce a fully immersive, volumetric virtual reality experience to be produced totally in house. In partnership with our clients, we identified that an excellent VR experience would be irresistible to the target audience, the perfect way to authentically engage the target audience with the work of the RAF.


The Result:

So far 7,225 people have taken part. This doesn’t include the high number of RAF personnel and Air Cadets that participated as well. It is a staggering amount of RAF Recruitment content minutes viewed, 65,025 to be precise – with a consistently high view-to-completion rate of 100%.

10% of respondents to the survey highlighted they had visited a local Armed Forces Careers Office. It’s a big decision, a major commitment, and a compelling result for Op. VR. 50% of those who experienced Op.VR took further action, ie they further investigated or explored the RAF as a career choice.

Our research shows that our audience retained a lot of information from their experience, even months later, including information about the priority trades and roles including the Cyberspace Communication Specialist and Intelligence Analyst, positions which are considered harder to recruit for.
98% of respondents found the presenters inside the Op VR dome to be interesting and engaging, a crucial result in a communications campaign which was built around virtual reality but actually included much on-the-ground human interaction across air shows and events.
45% of respondents said, after taking part, they didn’t realise the RAF did so much. 25% said it changed the way they feel about the RAF for the better. 92% were “really impressed” with Op. VR and 75% say the experience was unforgettable. In other words. Op. VR’s effectiveness comes from the innovation at the heart of the product.

Immediately after taking part more than 90% of those who experienced Op VR learned something new about the RAF while more than 80% said they would now consider a career in the service.