First, the future, as they say, is now. Or almost. Once the hi-tech headsets become available to the general public and hit reasonable price points, there may be no end of possibilities. Now, much of it is done as specific marketing campaigns touring to predetermined locations. But even that is having some impact.
McDonald’s in Sweden has been test marketing a Kid’s Meal box that can be transformed into a very basic VR viewer. It’s possible those will be brought to the U.K. and the U.S. next. Coca-Cola did a VR campaign filmed in Poland allowing children to ride along with Santa on his sleigh. Top Shop filmed their women’s fashion show – the Catwalk experience and then allowed people to participate on VR. And Volvo created a VR experience allowing people to test drive their XC90 SUV. Their objective was to getting people comfortable with the ride and how it operates. They got 175K views on YouTube.
And then there are a few that worked really well from our perspective. Marriott Hotels, often seen as a place for business travelers, wanted to let people know all the places they have hotels where visitors might enjoy a vacation. Their VR program is called the Teleporter. Framestone VR Studio and Relevant worked with Marriott to create it, and leaders at Framestone said, it’s “A Revolutionary 4D Tourism experience for Marriott Hotels, that teleports you first to a Marriott Hotel and then to a beach in Hawaii.”
It’s not limited to Hawaii either, but you stand inside a booth-type area using Oculus Rifts heaters and wind jets. So while you view the location of your choice, you feel the climate you would there, for Hawaii it might be tropical breezes, or in London, it might be cooler with spritzes of rain. The booth toured eight U.S. cities, and the experience lasted 100 seconds per session. It worked so well, Marriott is doing another one. Imagine what can be done with those once the top-notch headsets become available. Every night at the end of a long day at the office, you come home, kick back and enjoy 10 minutes or so of a new vacation highlight. Step into the future, please.
Another highly successful VR campaign by the New York Times was to share one of their major stories in a different way. The program is called Displaced. On their dime, the NY Times sent Google Cardboard and an immersive documentary available to download as a mobile app to all of their one million subscribers. It wasn’t meant to market, but to inform their readers about what happens in war-torn areas, displacing children and families from their homes. It was created by vrse.works, a VR Studio.
When pulling a VR campaign together, they need to be Impactful – creating an intensity and strong emotions; immersive – the headset and any other setup to keep the participant fully in the moment; and both unique and memorable – add smells, or climate to heighten any memories attached to a place or happening, and a unique approach or perspective helps gain media exposure as well as rave reviews from those trying the experience.