Shinola has built its brand selling rugged, mid-range to high-end consumer goods with a compelling hook: The company’s watches, bikes, journals, leather goods and more are all assembled—at least in part—in Detroit. Earlier this summer, an FTC ruling came down declaring that, because the parts that they use for some of these products come from other countries, Shinola can’t use the "Built In Detroit" as their slogan without an "of Swiss-imported parts" asterisk.
Maybe that’s why Shinola launched a new 360-video tour of their factory today—so you can see exactly what it’s like where the watches, bikes, and other parts are assembled, all through the lens of Luke Wilson hanging out and touring the headquarters. Wilson rolls through the building on a bike (while his less-famous brother, Andrew, co-directs), interviewing employees and generally being an affable, awkward goof. The 360 video experience makes the "tour" aspect of the video a little more immersive, something that the Wilsons—who were closely involved in the creative side of the video—say was part of the appeal.
"We thought the VR would be cool for the Shinola factory and store because it’s something different," Luke Wilson explained in a Q&A with the brand. "VR, I think, gets associated with action or space or aerial shots of grand vistas—so to show the factory and the people seemed like a different take on it."
The Wilsons—like Shinola’s parent company, Bedrock Brands—aren’t actually from Detroit, calling Texas home. But they definitely know how to work the message of the local, made-here flavor that the brand is built around. "The hustle and bustle of students and people learning and teaching is always an exciting vibe," Luke says. "And you can feel it in the Shinola headquarters with the watch builders, designers, and leather goods masters. To be someplace where things are getting made from scratch through to completion seems like a particularly American endeavor. As is Detroit. And Shinola."