How VR is shaking up the world of marketing

VR and 360 are transforming the marketing and communication industries, increasing integration between traditional advertising, social media marketing, experiential and events. 

It’s becoming the norm to capture events and locations in 360 degree video, to allow people to experience parts of the world they can’t get to. 

However, more and more brand marketers are also recognising the impact that a 360 experience can bring to a campaign.

Once the expensive indulgence of a handful of VR-equipped studios, the introduction of hardware like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR has democratised viewing, allowing more people to experience great CGI VR and 360 content at an affordable price. 

But this is more than just a novelty. There are four key drivers to the enthusiastic adoption of VR/360.

Content: A whole new canvas

VR/360 offers an incredible new set of tools for marketing teams to play with and the excitement amongst the creative community is palpable.  The increased immersion from the visual and audio increases the potential for that all important emotional connection with a story, its events and its characters.

A new language of 360 filmmaking is being formed and the forward thinkers want to be part of that.

The traditions of filmmaking are being reworked, such as the all-important wide shot to establish place and mise en scene, with a pan out to increase the sense of scale and drama.

With VR/360 the scale goes larger, with audiences able to direct their own viewing and see a full 360 interpretation of any landscape.

The original subject matter might be dry but the execution of the 360 film doesn’t need to be.

Layers of information can be revealed - left, right, ahead, behind - for the viewer to discover as they move and engage with the content. 

As well as entertainment, this can add clarity to communication. With this exciting format available to brand managers, it’s hard not to want to try it out.

Earlier this month, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars used a 360 film, created by Imagination, to launch their latest concept, Future of Luxury.

In order to demonstrate the brand’s vision along with its advanced technology, the film delights audiences with aerial views, a close inspection of the Grand Sanctuary interior and stunning coach-built exterior of the luxurious concept 103EX

It also features an animated drive into the distance, all which can be enjoyed in a completely immersive 360 degree environment.  

Interactivity: Feeling the brand

Viewers who experience a 'full' or  'room' VR on hardware such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, can explore between locations, venturing into new spaces under their own direction. This results in them feeling like they have actually been somewhere.

The memories created during the journey will remain and the brand association will have impact. And it’s not just the audience’s heads that are moving. In Room VR, headsets and handsets allow users to interact, drawing, picking up objects, throwing balls – many brands are imagining how to allow their consumers to ‘feel’ their products from a different location, without the product having to be physically present.

Human VR interaction, whether other participants appear as avatars, 3D models or even live camera feeds, can be entertaining and transformative. Discussions and negotiations can take place between people through VR and time shared to build relationships.

Suddenly Face-time and SKYPE feels very two dimensional.

Theatre: All the world’s a stage

The interplay between reality, 16:9 film, 360 film and VR CGI environments has become really interesting.

For VR artists, the ability to immerse the audience, the sense of depth/width, the movement through space layers, the physical involvement of the audience, singularly or with other participants, creates the potential to stage an entire theatre production in the VR space, a play that the audience’s senses will believe and be moved by.

Real life action, props and staging can work alongside virtual sets and actors. VR plays with the convention of the fourth wall – walls are there to be broken through.

There any many techniques that can be used to create shock, surprise, joy and laughter using the new grammar of VR content and interactivity. And, as the technology, continues to develop participants can feel what they experience as well as see and hear it.

Individuals can join the audience for a performance that is staged in another location. Artists can create juxtaposition between the real and the virtual as part of the production. The same exciting opportunities are capturing the interest of brand managers too.

Amplification: Connecting to a wider audience

The social aspect is perhaps where the power of VR is multiplied exponentially. The ability to share, like, comment on VR/360 productions make this a paradise for marketers.

Becoming an internet sensation is the new professional ambition for filmmaking marketers and by offering an immerse, informative entertainment and then allowing individuals to share widely on your behalf, more brands are recognising that VR is the way to achieve the ultimate goal.

What do you think about the impact VR is having on the marketing industry?

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