In the 2002 dystopian fantasy movie, Minority Report, entertainment seekers head to a club called the VR Room. Donning headsets and electronic bodysuits, these fictional characters escape their humdrum lives through virtual reality. Fast forward to the real world in 2017, where some of the same virtual escapism awaits – not in a nightclub, but from the comfort of your own home. In case you missed it, Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have arrived. And they are well on their way to reshaping the world – in ways far beyond escapist entertainment.
Virtual Reality immerses the user in a virtual world.
Augmented Reality overlays digital information onto the physical world.
In a comprehensive study about VR and AR, Goldman Sachs reported:
“There is no shortage of examples of how VR and AR can reshape existing ways of doing things – from buying a new home, interacting with a doctor, or watching a football game. As the technology advances, price points decline, and an entire new marketplace of applications (both business and consumer) hit the market, we believe VR/AR has the potential to spawn a multi-billion-dollar industry, and possibly be as game changing as the advent of the PC.”
Here are a few fields already using VR or AR technology:
- Gaming – The first AR technology to strike a chord with the public was in the field of gaming, with the hand-held Augmented Reality game, Pokémon Go, which was released on July 6, 2016. A location-based app which has been downloaded 15 million times, and boasts 21 million daily active users, the platform made AR accessible to anyone with access to a Smartphone. Still at the forefront of gaming interactivity, Pokémon Go developers have recently announced plans to integrate with Apple’s advanced augmented reality tool, ARKit, which will use “fast, stable motion tracking,” as well as scale estimation and ambient lighting estimation for a more immersive version of AR.
- Retail – Home improvement, apparel and auto industries were among the first to join the fray. So far, six Lowe’s Home Improvement stores offer virtual tours so buyers can walk around completed remodeling designs before pulling the trigger on home improvement purchases. And shoemaker, Merrell, created a VR experience called TrailScape to support the launch of a new hiking boot, the Capra. Users virtually traverse a dangerous mountain hike along a stage set which was mapped to the virtual experience to create a new level of immersion. The motion capture allows adventurers to explore the mountainside, with tactile elements such as rope walkways and shaking wooden planks, making it one of the most immersive VR experience to date.
- K-12 Education –Some public schools have embraced VR and AR. One educational technology firm is taking advantage of Google Cardboard, the ultra-low cost VR headset solution that relies on ordinary smartphones to provide a still-serviceable VR experience. NearPod is being used by public school districts around the country, with K-12 students at participating schools enjoying virtual field trips all around the world.
- Higher Education – A university looking to set itself apart enticed tech-savvy students to attend their university at a recruiting fair. University reps gave away branded VR headsets with a QR code, which took the students on a virtual campus tour. Students who took the tour were “qualified leads.”
- Sports – VR is also being used at large college football programs to woo recruits:
“From taking a knee in the locker room to running out on the field amid screaming fans, virtual reality transforms them into a current student. Not only do these VR experiences create a strong and memorable emotional connection, but they can also help profile a school’s facilities, amenities, and campus life.”
Using VR and AR in Marketing
The overriding difference between VR and AR is that VR uses an opaque headset (which users cannot see through) to completely immerse the user in a virtual world whereas AR uses a clear headset so the users can see the real world and overlay information and imagery onto it. Both emergent game changers, AR and VR campaigns are being used to push everything from International First Class air travel to cheese. And little wonder, as VR can position any brand in a modern and relevant light.
In a blog post on Bioscience Technology, Cynthia Fox explains that our brains are wired to be influenced by VR experiences. So, such experiences are not successful simply because of the novelty or interactivity of the tech, but because VR appeals to three parts of the brain responsible for perceptions and reaction:
- Neocortex (higher-level thinking)
- Limbic system (emotion, behavior, motivation)
- Reptilian brain (primitive instincts). Although content remains king if you want folks to engage, no content-delivery system besides Virtual Reality appeals to all three of these categories at the same time.
Should business owners make use of AR and VR in their marketing campaigns?
Sarah Hill, CEO of StoryUP, which was an early pioneer in virtual reality for brands: “VR (will likely) disrupt nearly every industry (especially education, travel, journalism, health care, architecture, and…marketing,” adding, “The internet is fast-becoming a place you step inside.”
Greenlight Insights: “62% of consumers say they would feel more engaged with a brand that sponsors a VR experience and 71% of consumers think a brand is forward-thinking if it uses virtual reality.”
Forbes Global 2000: 30% of consumer-facing companies will experiment with augmented and virtual reality this year.
How AR or VR can impact a marketing campaign:
- Demonstrate product attributes, features and functionality.
- Immerse users in a branded entertainment experience, which can impact brand loyalty.
- Help consumers make informed choices so they’ll be happier with purchases.
- Add an immersive, exhilarating dimension to traditional print and video story-telling.
- Show how a brand can fit into an aspirational lifestyle.
VR Case Studies
Tom’s Shoes: Virtual Trip to Distribute Shoes
Mercedes: Video Test Drive
McDonald’s: Virtual Skiing
Not Just Big Business
How to Use VR & AR in Your Marketing Campaign
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking that AR and VR campaigns are only for big brands with unlimited advertising dollars and wealthy customers. On the consumer side, people who are not yet prepared to invest big bucks into a headset but want to enjoy VR tech, can purchase a Google Cardboard VR box, which is compatible with Apple and Android phones, for about $4.
- Place a AR calendar on a prospects or client’s desk. With the AR feature of this calendar your prospect is more likely to keep this interactive piece on their desk, increasing your branding value.
- On the entrepreneurial side, Virtual Reality production remains out of reach for most business owners. Current estimated costs for development range from $5,000 for a simple game to $300,000 for a 3D film. However, branded VR boxes are a great way to align your company with cutting-edge tech. Brand-able headsets range in price from $2.19 up and are available through On Target Promotions.
About On Target Promotions
Virtual reality got you hooked? Just give us a call. We will be happy to Come up with ideas to tie in VR and AR with your Marketing. OnTarget Promotions is a national promotional products agency based in Riverside, California. We help clients use promotional products along with other media to design and secure quality promotional programs that meet their goals and exceed their expectations. Since we believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, everything we do is designed with our customer in mind. Your focus is our goal. Call (951) 682-8427 or email us to start your project today.