Why should brands care about advertising in VR, virtual reality or AR, augmented reality? Because it’s a great opportunity to connect with consumers. Viewers are completely immersed in content, free of distractions and hyper focused on brand’s crafted messages. Consumers have the opportunity to get a better feel for products. A quality VR/AR experience can deliver an intensely emotional and impactful message linked to real behavior changes that can leave long memory traces. According to Yoni Argaman, VP, marketing and business strategy at Interactive, VR/AR “Adoption will introduce the ability to capture and track our surroundings and our behavior – the exact way we interact with the world. This will significantly increase the amount of ‘events’ that can be captured, increasing the general data noise but opening brand new treasure troves of data that will lead to more granular segmentation that can result in more refined, personalized ads.” Here at PMG we are ready and excited about the future of possibilities around the ability to capture more data.
Still in its infancy, VR/AR has grown its mainstream attention over 4x in the last year1. From games, TV shows, movies to proprietary VR/AR experiences, content is growing. According to Forbes, venture capital firms have poured $3.5 billion into VR/AR investments in the last two years. You can even watch the Presidential debates via VR. This holiday season will most likely be considered the year when VR begins its slow roll to mass penetration and possibly the birth of the metaverse. Thanks to technology like Google’s cardboard that converts smartphones into primitive VR headsets, GoPro VR, Mozilla VR, Google’s much anticipated Daydream platform, Youtubes 360-degree video, SnapChats AR specs and the public release of several sophisticated standalone VR headsets including Facebooks Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sonys Playstation VR and Samsung Gear VR, VR/ARs user base will continue to expand. As content grows and experiences are shared via VR, opportunities to advertise will not escape the markets tentacles.
According to The Guardians, What does virtual reality mean for advertising in 2016? article “Advertisers need to tread carefully. Because of its immersive nature, consumers will be much less forgiving of a bad VR ad than they would of a poorly made TV commercial. “Watching badly conceived VR can make you feel sick for the rest of the day,” says Patrick Milling Smith, co-founder of Vrse.works, the VR company behind Apple’s recent VR music video for U2. Milling Smith is keen to stress that VR does not operate like any other medium. “VR is as different to film as film is to radio … It’s a different storytelling language,” he says. “There needs to be restraint in VR. You can’t just slap a logo on a piece of branding.”
Along with creative clout, VR requires forward planning due to the film-making restrictions and the lengthy post-production process. William Sargent, the co-founder of Framestore, an Oscar-winning visual effects company with its own VR studio, says: “There is an inclination at the moment to do ads last minute or make complicated ambitious ads in a matter of weeks. That doesn’t work in VR.” Sargent advises brands to only use VR where relevant. “It is just one tool at the marketer’s disposal. The question to ask is ‘Where does it fit?’ he says.”
To close, let’s take a look at some brands that are already doing it, fitting in and some really good VR/AR experiences.
Adidas, always ahead of the curve, is fully engaged in the VR/AR game. Here are just a few of the projects and campaigns that they have going on.
- Speed of Light – VR Experience The New Speed of Light film captures the footballing genius of Leo Messi like you’ve never seen before. Exploring the moves that make him the best in the world.
- Project Harden The Next Wave of Adidas Basketball
- World of Sports VR
Charlotte Tilbury and Kate Moss have teamed up with Samsung for a VR disco grunge fragrance experience for this seasons New York’s Fashion Week. You can read about the project here. If you have A VR viewer such as google cardboard, you can check out the VR experience here
U2’s & Apples VR Dreams
As the rumors run amuck that Apple will be stepping into the VR game with an amazing platform, last year they took a step into the metaverse by releasing an immersive VR experience music video for U2’s “Song for Someone”. The music video was part of a larger Apple Music partnership with U2 called “The Experience Bus,” which is basically an environment at concerts for U2 fans to come strap on Oculus headsets and pairs of Beats Solos to check out the “Song for Someone” music video and experience it alongside other fans.
Netflix’s Stranger things
Netflix’s first original VR content is a wonderful and super creeped out trip inside the Stranger Things world. Read TechCrunch’s assessment and watch the VR video here.
1 Google Data, Global, May 2016.
Cover photo: Image manipulation from Digital Trends story: Xiaomi announces the Mi VR Play, a virtual reality headset for your smartphone