Virtual Reality: Advertising’s New Way of Storytelling

What if you could take on an adrenaline-filled adventure without any of the risk… play alongside your favorite pro athletes… be front row at the next Beyoncé concert… all from the comfort of your living room? With virtual reality technology, these experiences, and many more are made possible. For advertisers, what once seemed a medium too far into the future to explore is quickly becoming a very real part of today’s digital world—what story will you tell?

If Seeing Is Believing, How Far Can First-Hand Interactions Get You?

An evolving technology presenting endless new opportunities for advertising and marketing teams, virtual reality has the potential to truly turn the ad world on its head. VR technology takes consumers for a ride, a jump, a walk and nearly anywhere else in the world, to do nearly anything. It can reach audiences with experiences they are already seeking, allowing advertisers to deliver that emotion and engagement with a branded message.

Leveraging Tomorrow’s Technologies Today

From major sporting events to promoting major films and television shows, the advertising industry has already proven the success of this new technology.

Mountain Dew created a VR skate experience by capturing a 360-degree scene with six GoPro cameras. Consumers just had to put on a pair of goggles to become fully immersed, dropped into a whole other environment. This opened up the world of skating to a whole array of people who had never tried it before, while also providing a way for Dew Tour fans to get the once in a lifetime opportunity to skate through iconic places with their favorite professional athletes.

Coca-Cola’s World Cup experience also made participants feel like they were a part of the game. Starting in a make shift locker room, guests put on goggles which gave them the ability to walk onto the field and play along side some of their favorite players, without getting out of their seat.

Recently, Create Advertising Group announced the creation of its own virtual reality division with an installment promoting Robert Zemeckis’ new feature film The Walk. The experience asked movie fans “Can You Walk the Walk,” placing them on the wire spanning the two towers of the World Trade Center, 1,300 feet above New York City. Each of these uses gave the audience an experience that could never be possible otherwise.

The Future of Virtual Reality

Gartner Group projects over 25 million virtual or more limited augmented-reality combined headsets will be in the hands and over the eyes of consumers globally by 2018. Companies like Samsung, Google and even Facebook have begun to unveil their VR experience headsets and Sony is currently working on bringing VR technology to a potential 10 million households with its gaming headset, Project Morpheus. With these numbers, it’s only a matter of time before the call for advertisers is undoubtedly sounded and this new medium begins to be more broadly explored.

Although this technology may be our future, as advertisers, we cannot rely solely on its innate “wow factor.” Challenging ourselves to hone in on a brand’s authentic story is still our number one priority, and one we must achieve through a great execution, strategy and concept. Only then can we map our ideas into these facets of emerging technology and once again revolutionize the way advertising campaigns are consumed by their intended audiences.