Look through your social feed and you’ll undoubtedly come across some form of virtual reality (VR) or 360 video. Some key themes that have been emerging from these videos include Formula 1, extreme sports and walk around tours of cities.
Technology will always impact what we do in marketing and we’re always looking for the next big thing in order to stay ahead of the game and produce appropriate communications for our clients and their audiences.
VR in the automotive industry
The automotive industry is a great place for the growth of VR and marques are increasingly using this technology in their marketing strategies and even, more recently, in their design and build stages. You can now watch a test drive of the car you may want to purchase as if you were viewing it in real life, or click and drag around the interior of the car from the comfort of your own home. The potential for VR and 360 video in the realms of the customer car buying process is enormous and what is possible in this area is evolving with the technology itself.
Motorsport has also taken a step into the realms of VR. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see what it’s like to be in a Formula 1 car at Silverstone or be inside a rally car while tearing around corners. And as with many things, what motorsport does and experiments with eventually filters down to become commonplace in the mass automotive market.
So – here are some examples of manufacturers using VR to showcase models. Jaguar Land Rover used VR to showcase the Discovery Sport, which provided a new way of looking at a car in a showroom, providing a truly immersive experience. Volvo has also offered users the chance to download an app and experience a VR view of a new car in the form of a virtual test drive and a look around the cockpit of the vehicle.
In 360’s corner, Luscombe, the Suzuki and Mitsubishi dealer, was the first to utilise 360 to illustrate the interior of cars in its showroom.
From virtual reality to augmented reality, the innovative use of digital to drive engagement with an automotive audience is proven to deliver ROI, as shown with the above examples and in our own work. For example, we used augmented reality app, Blippar, to create an immersive experience to great success at an automotive trade event for our client Auto Trader.
The concept drew a lot of attention and the client has gone on to use the work at subsequent events as a result.
Gaming is another huge industry which this technology has almost appeared to have been built for. In the latter part of this year, Sony will be introducing its PlayStation VR system, where all you need to do is plug in the headset and put it on in order to feel as though you’re part of the game. Driving and first-person shooter games will really highlight the capabilities of this technology and, again, illustrate just what we can do with it in other areas.
What we’re likely to start seeing is a number of games that lend themselves to VR being re-released as VR versions. Star Wars: Battlefront is one such example and we anticipate seeing many others follow suit.
VR and 360 video in broader marketing
For marketing the possibilities can be endless. When executed well, VR and 360 video can provide a great platform for getting the audience involved. Some great examples of this include Samsung’s Experiential VR stunt involving England Rugby fans being given the chance to have a go at a VR training session. Experiential marketing will benefit massively from VR and Samsung has shown how to execute it well.
Are there any obstacles for VR? Many are concerned that it might go the way of 3D TV, where users are still having to wear something on their face, which can be a big turn off. However, there wasn’t that much 3D content when 3D TVs were first launched, whereas VR videos are being released daily, keeping the interest and excitement going, and the platform is far more inclusive and accessible. Should you not want to purchase a headset, you can still use your smartphone and look at a 360 video.