News / Science & Technology

    Is Virtual Reality the New Reality for Advertisers?

    Is Virtual Reality the New Reality for Advertisers?i
    March 18, 2016 6:15 PM
    Advertising is practically inescapable these days … pervading our daily lives, our mobile devices and now even our virtual worlds. As reporter Tina Trinh explains, a growing number of marketers care less about whether the reality is physical or computer-generated, as long as they have your attention.


    Tina Trinh

    Advertising is practically inescapable these days, pervading our daily lives, mobile devices and now even virtual reality. 

    With the growing number of virtual reality headsets and apps coming to market, opportunities to experience VR are more readily available, but so too is the potential to experience more advertising.  Brands like Oreo, Mountain Dew, Jim Beam, Lufthansa and Marriott have already jumped on the virtual reality bandwagon, creating one-off experiences to engage consumers.  For these companies, whether the reality is physical or computer-generated is less important than capturing your attention.

    “Augmented reality and virtual reality are expected to hit $150 billion in revenue by 2020... that number is going to catch the eye of marketers,” said Katie Richards, staff writer at Adweek.

    For brands, that means creating experiences that work alongside their own products, like last year’s collaboration between outerwear company Merrell and creative studio Framestore, to create a virtual reality mountain hike for the launch of Merrell’s Capra hiking boots.  Viewers were given the chance to virtually traverse the Dolomite Mountains of Italy.

    “It really puts you in the space of what it’s like to wear the shoes and be in one of these really crazy environments,” noted Richards.

    German airline Lufthansa also took viewers to new heights with its VR app, immersing them in a first-class business cabin, complete with flight attendants and champagne service.  The experience was created in collaboration with 3spin, a design and technology company specializing in 360-degree virtual reality filmmaking.

    German airline Lufthansa partnered with 3spin to create an in-cabin virtual reality experience Credit: 3spin

    “Up until now, the most powerful medium on the planet or most immersive medium was a giant screen cinema or IMAX type of theater.  Virtual reality’s more immersive than that,” said NextVR co-founder DJ Roller. NextVR partners with brands like Fox Sports to transform live events into virtual reality.

    “For an advertiser to be able to connect with their audiences in VR is a very powerful, and in some ways emotional sometimes, response you get,” Roller added.

    With a captive audience built in, Roller sees advertising as a natural extension of the technology, “We’re able to erase and replace things very easily.”

    That means a virtual reality viewer in Asia could see a more relevant ad during a Coldplay concert (one of the live events NextVR streamed in VR) than say, a U.S. viewer.

    While it’s not clear how effective these VR campaigns are, one thing is for sure: they still cost money.

    “It is quite expensive for the marketer and for the agency to create this experience,” noted Richards.  “The other challenge is making sure that what you’re doing stays true to your brand, and you’re not just experimenting with virtual reality to do it,” she added.

    But for the digital natives that make up today’s youth, virtual reality might be as normal as chicken McNuggets.  In Sweden, participating McDonald’s restaurants have begun serving Happy Meals in boxes that convert to basic virtual reality viewers.

    McDonald’s locations in Sweden are testing Happy Meal boxes that transform into virtual reality viewers. Credit: McDonald’s Sverige

    For digitally-savvy brands, virtual reality is one more way to reach the highly-coveted millennial demographic. 

    “Millennials are willing to spend a lot of money on experiences,” said Richards, “Virtual reality is a way for a marketer to give a millennial an experience that they might not have otherwise.” 

    An out-of-this-world experience that marketers hope will result in real world spending.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora