BBC Unpack is a unique set of virtual experiences in a box, offering a warm welcome to resettled refugees and asylum seekers who arrive in the UK. It aims to provide an initial point of contact, connecting them to their new home, providing language learning, and encouragement. It’s about unpacking Britain, discovering its treasures, quirks and culture. All users need is a Smartphone, something they are likely to own, or have access to through charities, councils or volunteers. Unpack is designed to be exciting, bright and optimistic, and they are cheap and easy to make. The label can be personalised, allowing for a simple change to a native language. BBC Unpack is a great way to provide tailored digital content, and to begin interacting with a vulnerable and important part of the British population, which is set to grow over the coming years.
This is a response to a D&AD Brief for the BBC, titled "Reimagine our relationship with the BBC using new and emerging technology". It asks contributors to consider an audience's needs, behaviour and capabilities, and then about how emerging, or existing but unexplored technologies can be used to create a seamless connection between the person and the brand. "The tech is just a tool, and the better a job it does, the less noticeable it will be." Although VR is nothing "new", and the BBC have extensively explored its storytelling capabilities, its specific application for this audience is the right fit. I'm a massive nerd, and I wanted this so much to be about cutting-edge user interfaces and crazy AI, but you don't need much more than cardboard and a phone to create an important narrative experience for this under-served audience.
The pack itself won’t last forever. It’s only folded cardboard. Once users have finished this stage of the experience, they can pass on the headset, or simply recycle it. However, the project will have a legacy beyond the initial welcome. BBC Unpacked is the next step of the journey. Through the app, or a BBC web portal, BBC Unpacked provides helpful links to organisations, documents, and forms, in addition to local news, links from around the UK and message-boards for users to ask questions, and post responses. The BBC is an integral part of the Great British experience, offering a breadth of services and content for all. BBC Unpack further enhances this depth of connection, delivering key content to an overlooked audience, aiding in the transition to a new home.