VR are the two letters currently on the lips of the gaming and marketing industries alike. By definition, Virtual Reality, or VR, is completely immersive. As all types of marketing are being increasingly judged on the new metric du jour, engagement, VR would appear to be the holy grail. By encompassing the user’s present consciousness, it allows for an extended period of branded quality time, so no wonder modern marketeers are salivating at the prospect.
Set to be the big development of 2015 in industries that span across everything from to education to pornography, arguably VR is most absorbing for marketing, providing quite literally a whole new dimension in which to connect with customers. In this post we take a look at some early adopters and their novel uses of the technology.
A key hook for any savvy marketeer is to evoke a strong emotional response from the viewer. VR provides ample opportunity to allow a user unprecedented access to different perspectives and experiences. Charitable films previewed at the Sundance Film festival took full advantage of such an opportunity. Project Syria transports the participant to a terrorist attack on the streets, whilst Use of Force documents the real but never before seen murder of an immigrant by US border patrol. As a method to raise support, expose a taboo or refresh a world weary outlook, VR is both a unique and powerful tool. It encourages a connection and compassion unlike any other format and has been leveraged to great effect.
Creating an absorbing and genuine narrative around your brand just got a facelift. VR facilitates the creation of a whole alternative universe for brands where their values rule the roost. Merrell created their own outdoor adventure landscape, HBO staged an exploration of the Game of Thrones territory of Westeros and Red Bull showcased life in the skies as one of their daredevil pilots.
Project Nourished is in the developmental stages of creating a Virtual Reality dining experience, where aromatic diffusers, augmented images and low calorie jelly allow users to transcend regular eating norms. If successful, the same technique could be used by restauranteurs to showcase new venues or trial new menus in a pioneering fashion for the health conscious.
The exponential rise of Oculus Rift is clear evidence of the faith in VR technology. Facebook purchased it for a cool $2bn last year, an investment which they hope will allow virtual reality technology to be brought to the masses. Oculus’s partnership with Samsung also hints at where its future is heading, with VR technology in development to be available mobile first and on the move.
Perhaps it’s not quite all good news… one AR prototype is developing an AdBlocker IRL, by blurring out the logos of recognisable brands just as you might do on your browser. Many users also claim to suffer from extreme motion sickness when using the device. However, with Oculus Rift keen only to release the product once they’ve ironed out all negative side effects, sceptics and fans alike will have to reserve judgement until its official launch. The virtual world undeniably has great potential, if carefully crafted in the right hands, to provide a unique, completely branded experience.