Even as recently as ten years ago, that the idea of virtual reality, or VR, was more of a novelty than anything else. A few games had come out that were barely functional, along with the occasional flight simulator.
Just in the past couple of years, everything has changed. Now there are over 40 million active VR users around the world, with that number expected to triple by 2020. 75% of top brands from every industry have released VR content this year.
Now that the technology is stable and easily accessible, brands and businesses are increasingly looking to VR technology and incorporating it into their marketing strategies. In fact, online marketing consultants such as Chatmeter and others will often suggest exactly that for businesses who want to expand their reach in innovative ways and tap into the next big trend in consumer technology.
Here is a look at several examples of all the different industries that are using VR to creatively market their products.
1. Entertainment – Scale the Wall from Game of Thrones
At the height of the show’s popularity, the minds behind Game of Thrones created a VR experience that allows you to climb the famous 700 ft wall of Castle Black featured prominently during the series. They did this back in 2014 before the 6th season was aired, and a video of the experience went viral and no doubt helped the already surging popularity of the show.
2. Furniture – Go to Ikea (Without Going to Ikea)
For some people, going to that giant warehouse full of prefabricated rooms is part of the fun of furniture shopping. For others, just the thought may produce anxiety, or maybe the long commute is the biggest detractor. In an attempt to make their store more accessible, Ikea developed an excellent virtual store experience, even including the ability to purchase what you see “in the store”. Now you can mispronounce all that Swedish furniture from the comfort of your home.
3. Medicine – “A Walk Through Dementia” for Alzheimer’s Research
A UK based Alzheimer’s research company developed a project called “A Walk Through Dementia” which aims to give people an intimate look at a disease that affects so many but is understood by so few. Users can experience what it’s like to go shopping, be on the road, and be at home while affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. It was developed through the combined efforts of researchers in the field and people who suffer from various forms of dementia. It is available for free through Google cardboard.
4. Charity – TOMS “A Walk in Their Shoes” Campaign
Since the company’s founding, the central idea of TOMS is that when you buy a pair of their shoes, you help a child in a developing country get the shoes they need. This charitable aspect of their company already drew many people, but the marketing team at TOMS took it one step further (no pun intended). Now with the use of VR, customers can tag along on one the company’s charity initiatives in Peru. Just like with the Alzheimer’s experience, this kind of immersion can strengthen the emotional attachment that people have to these issues.
5. Apparel – Climb a Mountain with Adidas
When Adidas launched their TERREX line of outdoor apparel and accessories, they created a pretty inspiring experience to go along with it. VR users could join professional mountain climbers Ben Rueck and Delaney Miller as they climbed mount Delicatessen. Not only did this introduce people to Adidas new line of products, but it also inspired a new generation of climbers who, without the VR experience, would never have realized they had a passion for it.
6. Awareness Campaigns – Become a Prisoner and “Step to the Line”
Many activists and entrepreneurs see VR’s potential to give people an experience that they otherwise might never know about. After all, empathy comes most often from personal experience. One example is the project created by Within and Defy Ventures, who partnered together to create a short film that documented the lives of people incarcerated in a California maximum security prison. The film is called Step to the Line, and it aims to show the commonalities of the human experience and break down the social stigmas associated with prisoners and ex-convicts by giving users the chance to see, hear, and be present for the experience of being incarcerated.
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We’ve seen a tremendous amount of disruptive change coming from the Virtual and Augmented Reality Industry. These few years are the first steps towards a prosperous future. It is surely certain that this kind of content will accelerate based on future trends.
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