Virtual Reality: The Next Big Thing in Marketing?

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Whether or not you’ll admit it, when you walked into Best Buy for printer ink and instead found yourself with a virtual reality (VR) headset, you were completely blown away by the experience. It was an experience that wouldn’t have been half as exciting had you actually been there, but there’s something about VR that makes everything incredible. With such power, how could this “toy” not be picked up by marketers as the next big thing?

Woman_Using_a_Samsung_VR_Headset_at_SXSW_2015_(2015-03-15_14.10.24_by_Nan_Palmero)

Be an Innovator

Virtual reality is still new to consumers, but that hasn’t stopped some innovative marketing teams from leveraging this new technology to their benefit. How are brands like Mercedes, The New York Times and, our personal favorite, Game of Thrones, utilizing VR? By giving customers an unforgettable experience.

  • The New York Times: the famous publication distributed Google Cardboard glasses to home subscribers so they could experience NYT’s VR film about space. The film allowed viewers to experience Pluto as if they were there. Another VR film sent viewers to the World Trade Center Spire to climb. Talk about breathing new life into the news industry!
  • Game of Thrones: we know, #GoT doesn’t really need any press for their fans to return for the next season, but this is what makes the brand (HBO) such pioneers. Instead of mailing out VR sets, they set up an entire VR experience at several of their exhibitions. This allowed participants to experience climbing the Wall at Castle Black. Yeah, we’d go for that!

If you want to sit among the ranks of HBO and The New York Times, you better start formulating your VR strategy.

The Next Level of Advertising

Marketing’s big sister, advertising, is getting in on the action as well. No one likes viewing ads, but VR’s unique experience makes adverting much easier. How?

  • Viewers are immersed in the experience: A viewer wants the entire experience, so they’re not going to take off their headset just to avoid an advertisement, according to Touchstone Research. This allows advertisers to create short ads that a viewer has to watch or end their VR session. The beauty of this is that people would rather watch the ad than end their experience halfway.
  • Ads are the experience: No, you didn’t misread that. VR enables brands to create an ad that is the entire experience. Imagine test driving a car and making pit stops along the way. Not only are you driving, let’s say a Tesla, but your pit stops have the Tesla logo on them. When you change your tire, it’s at a Tesla service center. Viewers are fine with the subtler ads because the ad is the experience. Best part? It doesn’t interrupt your experience with pop-up or banner ads.

While it’s still relatively new to both consumers and marketers alike, virtual reality is the next big thing and it’s never too early to stand out as an innovative brand. There is still much to be learned, but for the brands that are mastering this new channel of advertising, the rewards are already piling in.

Marc Simons, cofounder of Giant Spoon, summed it up perfectly during his Forbes interview: “We’ve identified virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality as a new frontier for our clients. This is the reality. When these devices start reaching a massive audience, we need to start preparing for it.”

Prepared, that we are. We work with clients that have recognized the power of virtual reality and have helped amplify their marketing efforts around this new technology. Thinking about dipping your toe in the VR world? Allow Black Bear Design to create stunning logos that will enhance your VR ads experience!

Featured image via Nan Palmero

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