Marketing meets Virtual Reality
Updated: Apr 14
Every few years, a new technology emerges that extends the capabilities of marketing.
In 1993, it was the world wide web. Before, marketing campaigns were primarily executed on TV, billboards and radio. While these vehicles did reach large quantities of people, the internet newly allowed marketers to place their advertisements in front of an international audience.
In 2006, it was the boom of smartphones and social media. Marketers gained the ability to insert themselves into people’s daily lives, reach an even wider audience, develop a loyal following and stay up to date (and sometimes even start) pop culture trends.
Recently, we’ve been seeing a remarkable amount of advertisers who are creating beautiful campaigns by leveraging Virtual Reality technology.
Toms, a shoe company famously known for donating a shoe for every one purchased, celebrated their ten year anniversary by creating an immersive VR experience. The video,“A Walk in their Shoes,” follows a Toms customer’s journey to Columbia where he meets the child that was directly impacted by his purchase. It’s a heartwarming video, but the virtual reality adds an entirely new emotional dimension to it; the user feels as if they are actually meeting the child, standing in his home, and walking through the streets of Columbia, all while being educated about the scope of Toms’ philanthropy. It definitely is a powerful campaign that evokes a sense of benevolence and self-purpose.
Ikea recently produced an app that allows users to move and place furniture in their homes to test their look and feel before they actually buy it. The app uses the phone’s camera and automatically scales the room to provide the best measurements. There’s a wide variety of sofas, coffee tables, and bookshelves that are highly realistic; not only do the furnitures’ textures show, but they are also sensitive to light so users can play around with shadows and overall placement. This is an amazingly useful app - every homeowner should definitely have it downloaded!
New York Times
In 2015, the New York Times published their first VR documentary and sent out more than a million VR headsets to their subscribers. Since then, they have published countless VR videos and a campaign series called “360 video” where they publish a VR clip every day. This campaign has transformed journalism; users don’t have to read about protests or the snowstorm in New York -- they can actually be in it! The commentary coupled with with the beautiful photography is an experience like no other.