Augmented and virtual reality is technology that is becoming far more important to the societal landscape than just gaming. It’s found its way into the marketing arena as a heavyweight implementation tool as well. I’ve written extensively on how Pokemon GO provided small businesses with opportunities to leverage the augmented reality game for their marketing. But this is just the start of a massive influx of virtual and augmented reality into our every day lives.
In fact, if you’re a marketing professional, it’s time to take notice because the future is now for the use of virtual and augmented reality as a marketing tool. Just consider the following five excellent examples that have already been put into space.
Clearly this is a case where you need to consider your target audience. Volvo introduced a virtual reality test drive for their XC90 SUV. The experience took the user down a breathtaking country backroad with the feeling of being in the leather-preened driver seat of the highly-rated, luxury sports utility vehicle.
Would this experience work the same way for a stripped-down Ford Fiesta with cloth seating and 120 hp high revving little engine that could, sort of? Probably not, but for Volvo it makes perfect sense. Not everyone is sure the perceived luxury and performance of their brand is really worth the dollar value. It’s a big obstacle for marketers of luxury products to overcome. Therefore, VR and augmented reality can be used as a great way to overcome this preliminary objection.
Just imagine what car manufacturers of even higher levels of luxury could do. Picture yourself perched in the cockpit of a fire red Ferrari or a devilishly attractive Lamborghini, complete with suicide doors and a slightly greater than 120 hp engine, racing down a European motorway at full throttle.
From the high life of luxury automobiles to making the ordinary of fast food into something extraordinary, the VR world of marketing is already working its way through all industries. McDonalds has introduced a Happy Meal box in Sweden that is repurposed as a Google Cardboard VR headset.
When Swedish children are done noshing on their cheeseburger, fries, and apple slices, they can strap on the box and play a skiing game called Slope Stars. So much for getting a cheap, plastic Disney character wrapped in a clear plastic bag, eh?
Not Too Sexy for My VR:
As early as 2014, VR was making a big impression in the marketing realm of the fashion world when London Fashion Week offered users a front-row view of the runway with a 360 degree panoramic video stream. In many ways, this was a groundbreaker for virtual reality technology.
It was a brilliant use for the Oculus Rift headset that showed many industry spectators a good application for how the technology can be used for more than just gaming.
Extreme Hiking without the Hiking:
Ever wonder what it would be like to experience the awe-inspiring views and majestic beauty of traversing a dangerous mountainside without that whole threat of death via tragic free-fall thing? Well, that’s exactly what hiking boot manufacturer Merrell did when they created Trailscape, which was a VR marketing campaign that actually allowed users to walk around with their Oculus Rift headset on and gain an even deeper feel of virtual reality.
It’s this type of memorable experience that will provide a punch for marketing professionals to utilize going forward that can influence buyers and sway consumer behavior toward their message most effectively.
Beam Me Up … Marriott:
Advertising vacation getaways seems an ideal fit for using VR technology in marketing. After all, what better way to advertise a vacation destination like Hawaii or London than by allowing your clients to get a little taste of those locales without ever having to show up at the airport?
Marriott Hotels went a little beyond the traditional 360 degree video stream by putting users in telephone booth-like teleportation devices complete with heaters and wind jets for the real feel of a beach destination and more.
Although the preceding list of campaigns is impressive and revolutionary for the current industry standards, marketers have still only scratched the surface of what virtual and augmented reality can accomplish. Just think of some of the areas it can be applied to: space exploration, world history, live music, animation, and more. Now is the future. Now is the time to stay ahead of the curve and start designing your VR or augmented reality marketing campaign. Just be careful not to bump into a Pikachu while you’re at it.