Virtual Reality TV: What We Really Need In A 360-Degree Marketing World

Virtual reality is finally here for consumer,  as the first Oculus Rift units are shipping.For marketers, it may just mean another new medium to explore, with big expectations and long-term obstacles.

Oculus Rift, the highly touted VR technology headset, intends to change our perception of how we experience more video stuff -- full-surround, 360-degree video. Initially, you can see this being a major extension for video gamers.

Beyond this, the VR world wants to be a new TV world -- something which could energize, as well as drain, creatives in coming up with marketing messages.

There are some consumer issues already. Many initial users feel paranoid or claustrophobic about wearing this all-encompassing close-in headset. Some might consider it an intrusion of personal space, as if marketers could break into their dreams with a sponsored message.

Even with our smartphones and tablets, we have some physical space in viewing and interacting with marketing messages. Who wants to be trapped inside a world with someone trying to sell us auto insurance or a movie?



Some believe native marketing, branded entertainment, or content marketing are obvious innovations for advertising with VR.

Still others reckon VR can help consumers truly experience a products or service before buying it. Well, that’s a plus. But how can I experience that new leather couch without being able to sit in it?

Perhaps marketers need to start at the beginning, giving us what we are exactly familiar, and dare I say, feel comfortable with: a TV commercial.

For those who are experiencing it for the first time, a regular-looking TV commercial in VR, in perhaps 360-degrees mode, might be akin to taking the hand of a veteran guide as you head into that dark forest.

You can also imagine those big clunky VR headsets will naturally get smaller in years to come, making them more accessible. Maybe by then marketing creatives will see the better -- or at least the bigger -- surrounding picture.

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