Virtual reality is the newest phenomenon that has taken the media world by storm. With a projected revenue of $14.6 billion by 2020, VR has brands like Toms, Lowes, Mercedes, and more benefiting from its ability to generate an immersive experience for consumers while showcasing the full extent of the brand’s mission and message. Using VR technology each brand was able to emphasize specific parts of their campaign that would not typically be accomplished otherwise. Toms VR video in particular focused on its core philosophy of helping underprivileged children by placing consumers directly in the context of their message. In addition to establishing trust, the video enables viewers to develop a clearer picture of Toms as a brand and what makes them distinct from their competitors. Since 2015 YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have incorporated the VR video format into their platforms and are already planning to generate their own products and apps to accompany it. Although Instagram has a feature which allows a user to share a photo in a manner similar to 360 viewing, it still lags behind in its VR capabilities. Facebook is also doubling down on VR with its recent acquisition of Oculus, makers of the Oculus Rift.
Costs aside, the advantages of VR are striking given it allows the opportunity for brands to interact with their consumers in a way that avoids being didactic. Instead, brands are able to create an experience that is not bounded by the usual constraints of traditional marketing media such as time, integration, and relevancy. For example, Oreo launched a fantastic VR experience where viewers are transported into a world resembling Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but instead it’s an assembly of Oreo cupcake flavored cookies floating on a river of milk against a chocolate canyon backdrop. It’s not an overt sales pitch to go out and buy Oreos but rather an experience meant to be enjoyed, discussed, and shared.
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