ZORB CONCEPT VISION – Becoming a Zorbonaut

“People have become relatively immune to messages targeted at them.  The way to reach your customers is to create an experience within them.”
 Don’t stop at just one experience – you should create a series of related experiences that flow one from another….”

Zorbing is a soft adventure sport invented in New Zealand.  The original concept was developed as a means for walking on water.  It evolved into rolling downhill inside an orb, generally made of transparent plastic. There are several types of zorbing: to be strapped in, to walk freely inside or to be tossed around by the ball motion either with or without water.

They had built up a successful operation on a very limited budget, investing heavily in developing the operations of the business.  The next step was expansion through franchising in countries overseas.  To do this they needed to demonstrate the opportunity to potential franchisees.

The Challenge

The brief was to develop a concept that pushed the boundaries commercially to demonstrate the opportunity to potential franchisees and provide a ‘vision’ road map for site development.

The Solution

Our premise was to create a Zorb experience as soon as visitors entered the site before they purchased a ticket.  Visitors arrive by car or coach through a internally illuminated road tunnel made of similar transparent materials to the Zorb balls with random speed road bumps simulating the bumpiness of being in a Zorb going down the hill.  Once through the tunnel, they emerge out into an alien landscape of unusual evocative semi-transparent buildings sitting on a landscape that’s not of our world – a Zorbscape environment built by Zorbonauts who have arrived in Zorbs.

This strategic approach would enable them to provide a more distinctive experience that significantly differentiated them from alternative soft-adventure competitors in Rotorua.  It would propel them to being the ‘must go to’ attraction in Rotorua.  It would also demonstrate the overall experiential package that franchisees would be buying into, not just the Zorb ride technology.

The overarching theme we developed for Zorbing was that it should have a feel of being retro-future – steam punk e.g. old pressure gauge dials, tubing indicating that everything uses air pressure to function combined with alien technology.

We wanted to create an atmosphere of fun with the anticipated tension similar to when visiting theme parks from the time a visitor first drives down the road and sees the entrance through to the time they leave feeling excited, pumped and vowing to return as soon as possible.

We drew our inspiration from a variety of themes to create this fun and tension.

  • Cinematic – Blade Runner, Star Wars, Metropolis,
  • Mechanical – with emphasis on steam punk and Heath Robinson – an English cartoonist who developed crazy/quirky mechanical contraption with echoes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,
  • Futuristic – the Zorb ball itself being alien technology,
  • Architectural domes and spires – sharp pointy buildings, the juxtaposition being the Zorb inflatable balls could so easily be punctured if they bounced too high,
  • Buckminster Fuller.

We then set out to create an experiential story that either randomly or sequentially unfolded – mixing fun and tension throughout.

We focused on every single customer interaction to create unique individual experiences within the overall experience that seamlessly together.  Firstly, we broke down the whole experience of going Zorbing into nine distinctive areas of activities at the ‘Zorbscape’.  These being: –

  1. The arrival – Zorb entrance and driveway
  2. Zorb car parking
  3. The Zorb HQ
  4. Zorb mobile
  5. Zorb launch pad
  6. Zorb runways
  7. Zorb landing pad
  8. Kids Zorb
  9. Zorbalator

Within these areas of activities, we defined 27 different interactions (moments of truth) that visitors would experience.  For some, it would be less if they choose to watch, rather than participate, but we wanted them to have as great a time watching because the experience was so unique and fun – in this way, they would become just as big fans as the people who participated.  We wanted to maximise the ‘word of mouth’ opportunity of everyone sharing their experiences.

Creating a totally interactive experience that positively triggers all the human physical senses such that each customer is fully engaged with the whole Zorb experience.

The Result

Companies in Baja California, England and Ireland purchased franchises.