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Burt’s Nature showcases the Burt of Burt’s Bees in VR

Burt's Bees has a new VR experience that allows users to learn about the brand's namesake.

“A good day is when no one shows up…and you don’t have to go anywhere,” says Burt’s Bees co-founder and namesake Burt Shavitz in the 2013 documentary Burt’s Buzz.

This statement is a fairly good window into the life and times of the photojournalist turned beekeeper turned brand ambassador.

Shavitz died in 2015 – and even though CPG giant Cloroxbought his eponymous personal care company for $925m in 2007, the Burt of Burt’s Bees – and his “quiet, uncomplicated life in nature” – remains core to the brand’s identity, too.

And that’s why Burt’s Nature: A 360-Degree Tour is enabling virtual visits to Shavitz’s cabin in Parkman, Maine. It gives consumers a peek into his daily life, as well as the brand itself.

Shavitz lived in a roughly 300-square-foot converted turkey coop with no electricity or running water, which the brand said reflected his ethos that “the old ways are the best ways” and “land is everything”. It was relocated to the company’s headquarters in Durham, North Carolina in December 2016.

To bring virtual visitors to Shavitz’s homestead, Burt’s Bees worked with Google and creative agencies Baldwin& and MediaMonks to create an on-site digital viewfinder that immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of rural Maine.

The experience includes tagged items and rich content. For example, visitors can click on various hotspots to learn about his take on his bees and his honey business, as well as nature, his golden retrievers and his motorcycle. The rich content includes video and text – with the former produced by Jody Shapiro, director of Burt’s Buzz.

“Burt was a living embodiment of our purpose to connect people to the wisdom, power and beauty of nature,” said Jim Geikie, general manager of Burt’s Bees, in a statement. “As Earth Day approaches, Burt’s life is a potent reminder for all of us that we can’t lose sight of our relationship with nature.”

In the spring of 2016, Burt’s Bees said it partnered with artist Matthew Willey to celebrate Shavitz’s life by creating a mural in his name. The design, which is part of Willey’s The Good of the Hive initiative, showcases the concept of the swarm to reflect how Shavitz himself stumbled upon his first hive, as well as to signal new beginnings as the company carries his legacy forward, the brand added.

In 2014, Burt’s Bees said it installed an observation hive to help educate the over 1.5m annual visitors to Durham’s American Tobacco Campus, a mixed-use development where Burt’s Bees is based, on bees and their importance to human and environmental health. At its seasonal peak, Burt’s Bees said its observation hive serves as a home to over 15,000 bees and is the largest of its kind in North Carolina.

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