Last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published a story that wondered if branded virtual reality content was the next great frontier in marketing. The article cites a few examples from the Cannes Film Festival where “VR was a popular talking point among ad agency executives, tech companies such as Samsung…and online services such as YouTube” as well as some recent deals (like AOL’s gaudy acquisition of the VR production company Ryot) that seem to point in the direction of this being the case. Not just because of those deals and examples but because branded content for virtual reality can help marketers achieve that elusive holy grail: engagement.

Brand Content Virtual Reality = Engagement

The formula, of course, isn’t that simple. And as with any medium of messaging, the message itself must be well crafted and executed. But there are several advantages unique to virtual reality that makes VR a great tool for engagement. Such as:

  • Immersion: Not only does VR provide a means to transport users into a fully-rendered, 360-degree environment but also, due to the immersive aspect of wearing a headset, the content itself doesn’t need to compete with outside distractions (as is common with television, internet and other media).
  • Impact: By extension of that immersion–and that ability, without distraction, to persuade users into feeling like they are somewhere else–virtual reality can provide higher-impact experiences with more emotional resonance.
  • Novelty: As headsets are just now starting to be obtained by consumers, virtual reality is at a nascent stage. There is limited content at this time and–because the experience is so new for almost everywhere–there is a joyful novelty to experiencing the content.

Although virtual reality is still only at this early stage, there are already a handful of brands that have created content to leverage the potential of this new medium. Below are 10 excellent examples of branded content for virtual reality (360 Degree Videos):

1. McDonalds/Angry Birds

In anticipation of The Angry Birds Movie, Rovio teamed up with McDonalds to create a 360-degree experience that combines VR animation (of the game’s characters) with real-life patrons (in a McDonalds restaurant).

2. Oreo

To the delight of cookie-lovers everywhere, Oreo planted a flag in the world of VR advertising by creating a 360° video that welcomes viewers inside the “Oreo Wonder Vault” to explain the magical origins of their cupcake-flavored OREO cookies.


To highlight the company’s mission, TOMS created a short, inspirational virtual reality film that connects a TOMS customer with a Colombian child who benefitted from that purchase.


XFINITY promises to bring viewers closer to NASCAR than ever before. How close? Well, they made this 360-degree video to show us…

5. Red Bull

Red Bull created this 360-degree video to invite viewers along for an on-brand expedition into an active volcano.

6. Mercedes-Benz

Have you ever dreamt about driving a luxury car through a beautiful area of the country? Now you can, with this 360° video that lets users experience what it’s like to drive down the California coastline in a Mercedes-Benz SL 500.

7. Clash of Clans

For years, Clash of Clans has enabled players to “stand atop an Archer tower as giants, dragons, balloons, hog riders and barbarians descend upon your village.” But now, with this 360-degree video, players can experience a raid in an immersive, virtual reality environment.

8. Thought Café

Thought Café–a motion graphic studio that promotes self-education and critical awareness through animated shorts–created a 360 degree virtual tour of the Solar System, led by everyone’s favorite (bad) astronomer: Phil Plait.

9. Caminandes

The Google VR Team worked with the Blender Institute to convert the opening sequence of their latest Llama cartoon into a beautiful 360 degree VR experience.

10. U.S. Soccer

To give fans the ultimate experience, U.S. Soccer created this 360-video that transports fans into the locker room and on the field.