Many are already calling 2016 the “year of virtual reality,” especially with the long-awaited Oculus Rift going on sale this week. With it comes a promise of multi-sensory storytelling with rich, immersive narratives and the ability to transport you to places you never thought possible.
This year, Oculus is hoping that over a million people will experience virtual games, movies, news and content, as well as the potential for face-to-face communication. There’s even talk of VR shopping experiences— a “Minecraft for Shoppers.” Some brands have already dipped their toe in the VR pool, notably Volvo, Marriott Hotels, Game of Thrones and Amnesty International, and so have CPG brands, but these experiences have been limited. Now that people have the opportunity to experience VR firsthand with their own device, we should see true VR participation. To help you prepare for what is to come, let’s take a look back at some recent VR successes from CPG brands:
Stella Artois’s The Perfect Flight, gave tennis fans a hawk-eye view of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. The experience recreated the flight of Rufus, the resident hawk of the grounds, allowing participants to literally have a bird’s-eye view. Users wore the Oculus Rift headset while strapped to a moving board with wind machines blowing to heighten the flying sensation. This clever experience was showcased in Waterloo Station but was also available as an interactive video on their website and via Google Cardboard, offering an innovative amplification for their sponsorship.
Dos Equis installed VR headsets in bars, transporting viewers to the Most Interesting Man’s mansion for a Masquerade party. Via VR, viewers could interact with characters such as flamethrowers, a leopard, magicians and, of course, the Most Interesting Man. A 360 YouTube video made the experience accessible. This example successfully leveraged the technology to extend their ongoing brand platform in a powerful and relevant way—“Things get more interesting when you put on a mask.”
Mountain Dew has created a series of VR Dew Tours taking their fans and putting them in the center of the action. From a tour of Las Vegas, virtually riding alongside pro skateboarders Paul Rodriguez and Sean Malto, to backcountry snowboarding in Utah with Danny Davis. They even created an interactive feature called "Time Warp" that lets you customize the VR experience by hitting a button to jump back into the experience and see the action sequence all over again. Mountain Dew perfectly extended their already vibrant content strategy using VR to take it to the next level.
Finally, Kellogg used VR to bring the fun back to the cereal box by hiding a lens piece in the bottom of the box and then teaching consumers how to assemble the headset from the actual cereal box— genius! Brought to life via Nutri-Grain Bolt, the homemade VR headset then transported users to the life of an “unstoppable” action sport athlete, creating a series of #LiveUnstoppable content - wing suit flying, mountain biking and long boarding. And in usual cereal box style, you had to buy different packs to experience the different adventures.
For brands in 2016, the potential Virtual Reality boom offers an opportunity to evolve branded content by placing someone into a story to get them closer to your brand than ever before. It’s going to be an adventure and challenge to be the first to do it and do it well, but I can’t wait to see what they create.