October 31, 2014
Virtual Reality (VR) is closer to reaching the masses than ever. With new projects like Google Cardboard, all it takes is a simple DIY cardboard visor and a phone to make virtual reality, well, a reality. The implications and uses for the technology have ranged from engineering to education, but they all have one thing in common: experience. With experiential marketing’s constant need to keep things fresh, here are three awesome ways that VR can support experiential marketing activations.
Augmented Reality with Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality is another new technology with great experiential marketing potential. With the technology, brands can integrate messaging into a consumer’s natural environment in dynamic ways. This would make for a partial immersion instead of a full-on display, essentially seeing through the viewfinder of a camera that picks up special layers that brands can customize, pushing messages and driving behavior at specific moments. As an example, imagine a blank billboard that you pass on your way to work in the morning, but when seen with a VR device, the billboard suddenly has an ad or message on it, maybe suggesting a cup of coffee. And that’s just the beginning.
Game hardware brands such as Oculus VR tend to be the first brands people think of when they think modern virtual reality and it’s obvious why. (Although, Nintendo’s Virtual Boy still leads a long VR legacy.) As game hardware and software developers have been adding more value and functionality to their platforms with better graphics, haptic response, and motion based gameplay, Virtual Reality is the next logical step. Brands can embrace gaming in their experiential activations, compelling consumers to play each other in branded game environments, winning prizes, and ultimately having a fun experience tied to the brand.
Virtual Reality poses an exciting opportunity for brands to go past just simply broadcasting their message. Brands can leverage the power of an immersive world to tell richer, fuller stories that challenge and excite consumers’ visual sense. Today, it’s not just for content-based brands. Many brands can use the technology to put people in places they couldn’t before. Imagine an airline brand that uses the technology with an experiential marketing campaign to place people in the destination of their choice. Coconut, parka, or glow stick not included! (Well, maybe.)