The marketing world never ceases to amaze us, and the latest trend in marketing innovation is quite spectacular that everybody is talking about it! That’s right! Virtual reality and augmented reality are now being used by big brands to talk about their latest products or to give you an experience of some of their premium products! From driving fancy cars to walking on the moon to experiencing the super luxurious insides of a Japanese airlines business suite, AR and VR technology is bamboozling customers.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality or AR is a technology that layers virtual elements onto a physical environment, allowing for dynamic manipulation of data. Virtual reality or VR however transports the user into a simulated world by the use of VR headsets or mobile VR goggles. These technologies have existed for quite some time and aren’t just a trend that is picking up, but it is widely used in industries like gaming, retail, real estate, research and now big brands are using to tell their own personal stories about their services.
AR and VR in marketing
The entertainment industry may have been the first industry to have capitalized on AR for example the famous worldwide phenomenon Pokémon Go, which spawned pocket monsters and layered them over the camera footage of a phone. VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are incredibly popular with flight-sim enthusiasts. And while these headsets were extremely expensive, Google Cardboard has made the entire VR experience affordable by allowing consumers to slide their smartphones into the box and use it as a VR headset.
Let’s not forget the super cool and exclusive Google Glass, a wearable AR device that everybody in the tech world was excited by! When Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other tech giants are investing in these innovative technologies, even small businesses can benefit from all this research and development.
Creating a great AR or VR experience for your brand could be something you’re planning to do but at the same time it’s important to understand the kind of engagement you would get out of this kind of marketing tech:
- Multi-sensory engagement
Using the sense of touch, audio, even smell to engage with customers. The idea is to promote the product in a multi-layered way.
- Intellectual engagement
Stimulating customers with useful information and creating a meaningful experience around learning about the products and the solutions it offers.
- Emotional connections
Connecting with customers on an emotional level is a great way to get people to buy your products instead of say convincing them to buy via logical reasons.
There have been some amazing VR and AR campaigns which have combined the above three strategies and we thought it would be a good idea to discuss each of them!
Samsung’s VR Campaign - A Moon for All Mankind
The experience of walking on the moon was reserved for only 12 men, but Samsung in collaboration with NASA created an immersive 4D lunar gravity VR experience to make this possible for everyone. Users would step into a blue flight suit and harness whilst wearing a Gear VR Headset. What follows is the most immersive and realistic moon walking experience that Samsung’s design team and NASA’s Active Response Gravity Offload system (ARGOS) team worked on. Users would feel the accurate sensation of the partial gravity on the moon. This is an unbelievable marketing campaign that Samsung has developed to promote the Samsung Gear VR product line.
IKEA’s Augmented Reality Application
What happens when the furniture giant creates a 3D catalogue of all its furniture products and then decides to allow its customers to play with it in AR? A mind-blowing marketing campaign that is also extremely useful when you’re buying furniture for your house! This cool application will analyze and understand the dimensions of your floors, ceiling and allow you to drop different kinds of furniture and interior decor elements into your home to get an idea of how it will actually look. This solves the question: “Will that sofa fit in my living room?”
Not only is this an example of AR done right, but it also is a great example of e-commerce working perfectly.
All Nippon Airways - ‘The Room’ VR Tour
How do you advertise an exclusive business class cabin of an airline? ANA or All Nippon Airways decided to join the VR trend in the aviation industry by creating a VR tour of their 777-3000ER cabins. Now you’re probably thinking, what’s so great about a VR tour of a bunch of rooms. The ANA virtual reality tour of their cabins is the largest business class seating environment in the world, and it’s basically a tutorial for how to get around the plane and its various functions. And this is no ordinary business class cabin. With automatic doors, holodecks, and many different functions like ordering food, changing light conditions and watching inflight movies. Not only is this an innovative marketing campaign but it’s also perfect for the demographic of customers that will want to experience this is in real life. Business class is a luxury that most people can’t afford, so checking out the ‘The Room VR tour’ is a good way to get a glimpse of what you’re missing out on!
The VOLVO XC90 Volvo Reality Test Drive
Test driving a car through a virtual reality application on your mobile phone is a great way to experience it if there isn’t a dealership nearby. Volvo’s VR app puts you in the driving seat of the XC90 and takes you on an idyllic ride through the country. It’s a nice VR experience and was a great digital marketing campaign for the car manufacturer that has struggled perhaps to appear modern and relevant compared to their competitors. They may have set the foundation for future of test-driving apps, giving Volvo a first mover advantage in the VR marketing industry. What’s also really cool, is that anyone can experience this test drive with a Google cardboard and mobile phone.
Augmented and virtual reality marketing are trends that will have a place in the future of digital marketing and ad campaigns. This trend will allow companies and users to interact in a way that wasn’t possible before due to technological limitations. But since mobile phones are so accessible these days and are powerful enough to give us great AR and VR experiences, it will be a matter of time when these campaigns will be a lot more common and refined. Hopefully it will be an opt-in kind of marketing campaign unlike the one seen in the sci-fi movie Minority Report!