Why the time is now for virtual reality
Virtual reality, until recent times, has been just out of grasp for the masses. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 when things took a turn – Californian tech company Oculus created a kickstarter campaign to fund development of its virtual reality headset – the Oculus Rift. This turned out to be the most successful kickstarter campaign ever, generating around $10 million, and attracting the attention of Mark Zuckerberg. In March 2014, Facebook went on to acquire Oculus for a massive $2 billion. Since then, virtual reality has been gathering momentum, with the likes of Google, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung (who partnered with Oculus), all investing millions in VR.
So, what does this mean for the corporate sphere? Well, everyone can now get in on the action – great advances in technology means inexpensive devices are now available. Many companies are now embracing VR as an innovative marketing tool, and here’s why I think you should too:
- To start with, it’s the first type of campaign which can allow the audience to be completely immersed in the content. There are no distractions (for once, people are torn from their phones), meaning you have a captive audience who will focus only on the message you are conveying.
- Marketing campaigns can easily be forgotten in our over-saturated world, but with a VR campaign, its intensity makes it memorable. Our brains are geared towards remembering events through their location, making this a very impactful medium.
- Innovative – Because this is still a relatively new technology, any brands making use of VR gain good media exposure and public interest.
Here are a few examples of brands doing it well:
Patron: Patron Tequila created a wonderful VR experience, showing their production process through the eyes of a bee. It beautifully highlights their history and is a fascinating insight into the production line.
Boursin: You probably weren’t expecting VR from a cheese company, but this explorative production went on to win awards and take on a six-city tour in the UK.
Michelle Obama: The First Lady is a politician who has embraced digital and social media from the start, so why not VR? This is an infographic explainer video, showcasing her social media success. Take note as this could be a great tool for corporates to use.
There are many different ways to deliver a VR Campaign. To create the content, you can either use video or CGI – both have their good and bad points. Video is perfect for real experiences, and can be made quickly, for many platforms. CGI is a far more expensive option for real life places and experiences, but can provide a more interactive experience, and bespoke content. Once you’ve made the content, there are different ways to share it. Desktop VRs are useful for a roadshow, but are connected to a PC so need a bit more investment for the infrastructure. You can get headsets for around £200/$300, but will also need to invest in a powerful computer. Mobile VRs combine regular smartphones so can be rolled out on a bigger scale, and are more portable. The headsets are cheaper, but your audience will need smart phones, unless you also provide them, which will bump up the cost.
There are lots of options, but one thing’s for sure – virtual reality is rolling into town at a boundless pace. With rivals to the Oculus Rift posed to be released this year, more brands are sure to be incorporating this exciting new trend into their marketing campaigns.
Caroline Opacic is a senior video producer