VR Experience: How brands can harness VR
Virtual Reality was once a twinkle in the eyes of technologically savvy designers all around the world. Now, it’s a household name and a key part of any good marketing campaign. With almost two million VR headsets set to be in circulation by the end of this year, it’s no longer a fringe format reserved for eager early adopters. It’s a key part of the mainstream and with such a wide range of applications, the cult of VR will only keep growing.
“Whether it’s social, online content, or experiential, each platform has its own benefits”
So, what’s the secret to good VR? How can switched on brands use it to create lasting, meaningful experiences which give their audience a deeper sense of engagement and interaction? There are some key factors to think about when crafting your own experiential VR piece – including careful consideration about what your content will be used for and how you’ll be reaching your audience. Whether it’s social, online content, or experiential, each platform has its own benefits and can make the different between relevant VR and a one-off novelty.
Social: Oreo – 360 Cupcakes
It’s not often than you see a swirling, 360 world, filled with floating cupcakes and streams of smooth chocolate rushing past your head. When tasked with creating a VR experience fit for the social world, Oreo had to approach the brief a little differently. Their audience are one who live out their day through Snapchats and Instagrams. They’re tired of traditional advertising and aware of brands trying to take up their newsfeed.
“Virtual reality transcends the simple mode of content you see in the everyday online”
In response, Oreo crafted a VR experience which could be enjoyed through the comfort of your own phone. Animating a virtual world which took users on a journey through where the inspiration for their Cupcake flavoured cookies came from – it showcased how a simple, sensory experience like this can reach out to your audience in new, more involving ways. Virtual reality transcends the simple mode of content you see in the everyday online sphere and can elicit a more emotional response from your target market if done well. Cookies and cream, anyone?
Experiential: Audi – VR Showroom
Moving from candyland to the slightly more ‘real’ virtual reality, Audi demonstrated how brands can tap into the potential of emerging tech, by allowing customers to experience their latest showroom models, without ever touching a car. Something we chatted about in our VR in the automotive industry article , rather than their potential target market having to trek to a showroom, they were able to completely customise the model they were interested in and view every angle of the machine, from within a headset.
“VR is primed to plug into the experiential portion of your marketing mix”
In the ecommerce and retail space, VR has remarkable potential to change the way we shop. If you can communicate to your audience the benefit of a product and actually show them what it feels like to walk around your model, or test drive it around Silverstone at 90 miles an hour, then you create a much deeper connection with your audience. The point of an experience is to actually experience something you want to remember and revisit and with sports cars a simple gear shift away, VR is primed to plug into the experiential portion of your marketing mix.
Content: Mountain Dew – VR Snow
Lastly but not leastly, VR lends itself perfectly to transforming your piece of online content from a novel film into a rich experience. Mountain Dew traversed the side of a mountain (or rather, several mountains), to bring their audience the ultimate snowboarding snowdown. Putting the extreme back in experience, they kept it strong and simple by crafting a 360 film you could enjoy from a VR headset in your living room, on the bus, or wherever else you want to live out your alpine dreams.
“Online content is the quickest way to reach an audience”
Their Dew VR Snow allowed the user to ride along in place of one of three snowboarding pros, down the rocky slopes of Utah’s backcountry. Over every jump, round every bend, you tag along for the ride with them and are able to experience something which otherwise would be impossible. Online content is the quickest way to reach an audience and with such an immersive format at your marketing fingertips, you’d be a fool not to ride this snow wave and join in.
Whatever type of marketing experience you’re looking to create, VR could transform it into something more meaningful and engaging. It integrates seamlessly into even the most structured of strategies and could take your audience somewhere they never thought they’d be able to go. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a short summary of points and tips below, to help you harness the experiential power of VR:
- Social – Consider how your VR experience can work with different social platforms. Make the most of Facebook’s 360 video player to integrate your VR content into the newsfeed in a natural and accessible way.
- Experiential – Think about why you’re looking to craft a VR experience. Is it to help your audience experience something they’ve not seen or done before? To fully immerse your audience, why not build binaural audio into your experience, for another layer of added reality.
- Online Content – Sometimes, the simplest VR experiences are the best. Or, if you’re looking to create something a little different, could you craft an animated virtual experience?