10 Best Uses Of Virtual Reality In Marketing (Updated 2017)



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Inspiration, engagement, impact – these are just some of the reasons why some of the world’s leading brands are making use of immersive VR experiences as a way to market products and services.
Here we’ve handpicked some of our favourite VR marketing campaigns. It’s a diverse list – we wanted to showcase some of the creative ways in which brands are thinking outside the box to take VR marketing to the next level.

Not seen your favourite here? We’d love to hear what makes your top list – drop us a line and let us know.

We regularly update this page, so make sure to bookmark it and come back to it for your research.

13. Jaguar – Feel Wimbledon

This is an ambitious work commissioned by Jaguar as part of their Wimbledon sponsorship. In it you get to fly over an intricate CG reconstruction of the Wimbledon site before landing in center court to a highly charged moment in time. Andy Murray provides the voice over and describes the feeling of playing in such a prestigious venue. The experience ends with you entering the body of Andy and slamming the final match point. This was toured around the country in the run up to tournament and also released as a 360 video for wider vieweing.

Why we chose it:

If you are going to go big, then this is how to do it. A very cinematic experience that allows you to experience as close as possible what its like to score in front of a center-court audience at Wimbledon. It’s what VR is designed for!

12. Reimagine – Etihad Airways

You might expect something a bit special when a hugely ambitious airline wants to promote flights on the world’s biggest passenger aircraft, the Airbus a380. So Etihad Airways pulled out all the stops to feature Academy-award- winning actress Nicole Kidman in an immersive VR film called Reimagine. In the film, Kidman takes a flight from New York to Abu Dhabi – and viewers with Google Cardboard headsets are invited to step on board. It’s all about the luxurious experience, as viewers are invited to enjoy the company of characters including an opera singer, a film director and even a falcon travelling in first class. Stay a while and you’ll even get access to the private three-room cabin known as The Residence, complete with personal butler.

Why we chose it:

With its ability to transport you somewhere entirely new, travel marketing is an obvious fit with VR technology. But Reimagine, with its A-list star, takes the synergy to a new level. The sensations of sound, light, motion and the hubbub of conversation are all beautifully evoked; special filming techniques were used to create a seamless experience. For anyone who’s ever missed out on an upgrade, here’s your chance to fly in style.

11. MSI Electric City – MSI

Gaming hardware specialists MSI wanted something rather special to launch its new motherboard, so why not create an entire new city? MSI Electric City is a VR trip into a futuristic world which is clearly influenced by sci-fi film classics such as Bladerunner and Tron. It’s got neat gaming elements and the 21st-century marketing twist is that the MSI Electric City is based on the actual motherboard design.

Why we chose it:

With an uber-cool original soundtrack and some delicious visual effects powered by Unreal Engine 4, this is a very slick VR advert. We love the sensations of speeding round the Electric City and it’s a very neat way of making a usually invisible product (the motherboard) come vividly to life. Game on, MSI.

10. Coca Cola’s Santa’s Virtual Reality Sleigh Ride

Last Christmas, Coca Cola created a virtual reality sleigh ride. Using Oculus Rift, thousand of people all over Poland were immersed in this virtual world and were Santa Claus for a day! It is like a roller coaster ride but you are Santa Claus flying over the country and into different villages.

Why we picked it:

Coca-Cola is a major brand and they’ve been experimenting with Virtual Reality for quite a while now. Coca-Cola is always striving to be new and fresh and this was a perfect opportunity for them. This sleigh ride was a great way to show their modern brand through the use of VR. It introduced people in Poland to virtual reality and help them better experience the joy of Christmas.

9. McDonald’s Happy Meal VR Headset and Ski App

Through their Happy Meal Box, McDonald has released their own Google Cardboard. They’re doing a trial run in Sweden where the happy meal toy is a McDonald’s Cardboard VR Headset. In this case, it’s helping people turn happy boxed into happy people. Slope Stars is the game that comes with the goggles. It’s tied to a Swedish recreational holiday that centres on skiing.

Why we picked it:

McDonald has an enormous reach all over the world. They are legends of marketing. This new promotional strategy helps utilise their happy meal box and repurpose it as a “Happy Goggle.” The reusability is very cool. And they’re providing extra entertainment with their app to their customers making this a great campaign.

8. Michelle Obama’s VR Video

The Whitehouse invited The Verge to do a video on Michelle Obama’s success with social media. She talks about her efforts to popularise healthy eating and exercise. The 10-minute video is a 360 video that has After Effects like animation on it to help illustrate Michelle’s point. The video is the best VR infographic explainer video I’ve ever seen. For marketers reading this right now, if you need to explain a company’s mission or a new service, you’ll definitely want to look into this video and use it as an example.

Why we picked it:

It solves the big problem marketers have with VR. Mainly, how to properly make use of the 360 space and it creates a narrative flow that anyone can follow along with. This is a huge a challenge because it is difficult to capture someone’s attention when they can look anywhere. The Verge creates these infographic pop-ups that guide your attention. And even when you’re not looking at the speaker, they’ll reproduce Michelle’s face on the other side so you can continue to follow the story while exploring the space. This video masterfully engages you on Michelle Obama’s social media story.

7. New York Times – Displaced

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 10.54.50

War has driven 30 million children from their homes. The New York Times detailed their tragic stories in an immersive documentary that was available to download for mobile app and Google Cardboard. This wasn’t a marketing campaign but the publicity of generated by distributing a million free Google Cardboards to their readers grabbed headlines. The VR studio vrse.works developed Displaced for the NYTVR app.

  • Distributed to over 1 million New York Time subscribers
  • The Highlight piece of New York Times VR app

Why we picked it

The film did an excellent job at showing the devastating effects of war and put you in the heart of the story. A worthy story and a great marketing move by the NY Times.

6. Boursin – Sensorium

Soft cheese supplier Boursin created a virtual reality experience that takes you on a journey through a fridge full of delightful treats. They hired the marketing agency BecauseXM and Hammerheadvr to deliver the project. Boursin exhibited this in various malls and events around the United Kingdom. Click here to Oculus link to try it for yourself.

  • 67,545 YouTube Views
  • Winner of Masters of Marketing Award 2015
  • 6 City Tour

Why we picked it

It’s quite extravagant for a cheese company and we like it because it sets the bar high. Their exhibit also includes wind jets so you can truly experience this adventure.

5. TopShop – Catwalk Experience

A bit older this one, but still worthy. TopShop offered members of the public a unique front-row view of their exclusive fashion runway show during London Fashion Week using a 360 panoramic video stream.  Lucky competition winners got to experience this in a special pop-up space in TopShop’s flagship London store, providing great visibility. As a bonus, the user could find additional behind the scene footage from within the experience. This experience was created by the London VR studio Inition.

Why we picked it

This is a great use of the technology, well executed and one of the very first of these types of experiences for the Oculus. Congrats to the guys at Inition.

4. Volvo – XC90 Test Drive

Test driving a car through virtual reality makes a lot of sense if you don’t have a car dealer close by. It is great to see Volvo make an app to support the launch of their XC90 SUV.  It puts you in the cockpit and takes you on an idyllic ride through the country. The verge wrote that though the experience was a little fuzzy and inaccurate they thought it was clever. This was also done by Framestore VR Studio and you can read their case study for more info here.

  • 175k views on YouTube
  • 155 Reviews on Google Play with an averaged of 3.6 stars

Why we picked it

We think this is a great move by Volvo – a company that has struggled perhaps to appear modern and relevant compared to their competitors. By adopting VR in this way they’ve made the public look at their brand in a new light. It also might become the standard by which future test driving apps are compared to giving Volvo a first mover advantage in the virtual reality industry.

3. Patron – The Art of Patron

A Tequila company might not be an obvious beneficiary of a VR marketing strategy, but Patron used the power of VR to tell a compelling story around the companies product. Using a mix of live action and computer graphics they created a 360 journey following the product lifecycle from agave field to being served at a glamorous party. The entire production took six months and was developed by creative agency Firstborn, post-production agency Legend and sound design agency Antfood. When Patron does events, they’ll bring a virtual reality set up to show audiences their process.

  • 20k Accumulated YouTube Views
  • Used Binaural (3D) Audio
  • Used a custom built Drone with a 7 GoPro

Why we picked it

This was good because it gives the user an inside look at the process of creating Patron’s Tequila. It’s both entertaining and educational.

2. Merrell – Trailscape

To support the launch of a new hiking boot, the Capra. Merrell created a VR experience called Trailscape that takes you on a dangerous mountain hike. Participants walk along a stage set that is mapped to the virtual experience to create a new level of immersion. The motion capture allowed adventurers to explore the mountainside, with tactile elements such as rope walkways and shaking wooden planks, making this one of the most immersive VR experience to date. Showcased at 2015 Sundance Film Festival, it was the brainchild of Merrell, agency Hill Holliday and Framestore VR Studio. You can read more here.

  • First commercial use of “walk around” virtual reality
  • 3,750 YouTube Views

Why we picked it

Trailscape does a good job of integrating the brand in a powerful user experience. We really like the fact you can walk around in this demo, which is relevant from the product and also is not something we see often in VR experiences currently. From the reaction of the users they had a memorable time too!

1. Marriott – The Teleporter

Imagine being able to transport yourself to a beach paradise whenever you wanted?

Framestore VR Studio and Relevant partnered with Marriott to create a unique teleportation experience for the public. Framestore VR Studio writes that it’s, “A Revolutionary 4D Tourism experience for Marriott Hotels, that teleports you first to a Marriott Hotel and then to the beach in Hawaii.” Inside a telephone booth-like structure, they used Oculus Rifts, heaters, and wind jets to take users on a trip to Hawaii and London. Whilst it’s not quite the same as actually being there, it might help you decide on your future trips. It also helped Marriott position themselves as a forward looking and relevant brand in the market. For more information, you can view the case study here.

  • Toured in 8 cities in the USA
  • 100-second sessions

Why we picked it

We liked this because it combines visuals with the other senses, going beyond what it possible by just showing a 360 video. Whilst, not a cheap campaign to produce it was successful enough for Marriott to commission a second experience. Showing VR is more than a one-off gimmick but something that can be core to a marketing strategy when used properly.

 

That’s our list! However, not every campaign made it and below we highlight other campaigns that you can learn from. 

Honourable Mentions:

Immersive VR – Apollo 11 Mission

The Apollo 11 Mission was the iconic mission in 1969 that landed Earth’s first human on the moon. Immersive VR Education decided to educate enthusiasts to re-create this event in virtual reality under the same name. The result is the best history lesson since Crash Course decide to start their amazing YouTube series. The project started on Kickstarter and has now published the final result to its backers.

Why we picked it

Ok, this isn’t really a marketing application as it was made by fans rather than NASA. But we love it so much we think this is precisely the kind of project an organisation like NASA should be embracing. Education is a big part of marketing and this gets props for the clever integration of education and awe. The use of historical audio throughout the experience sells the authenticity.

Disney – Star Wars

Disney released a 360 VR fly through experience of one of the locations in the new upcoming Star Wars movie. In it you feel like you are inside one of the speeders during an epic battle. This content was also released using Facebook’s new 360 videos feature, which although not technically a VR experience allowed them to reach a wider audience.

  • 6.6 Million Views
  • 75k Facebook likes
  • 237k shares

Why we picked it

To be fair Star Wars probably doesn’t need any help marketing itself but we picked this because it gives users a taste of the movie in a different way than a trailer can. It’s also an intelligent re-use of assets that would have already been created as part of the production of the movie.

Paul McCartney – Live Concert

Jaunt produced a 360 Video Recording of Sir Paul McCartney’s performance at Candlestick Park. You can download the app on iOS or Android to experience the event (spot the 360 camera rig in the right corner of the picture).

  • 100,000+ installs on Android
  • 1463 Reviews with an average of 4.2 stars on Android

Why we picked it

Allowing the audience to go on stage with you as a musician is a great idea. This got no end of publicity – not that Mr. McCartney needs it of course!

Your thoughts

I hope you enjoyed our list. Leave a comment saying which one was your favourite! (we read and reply to all your comments) And subscribe to our newsletters to get our exclusive posts on VR Marketing.

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