This year there was, for the first time, a 360/VR films award category at Cannes. It was conclusive proof – if any were needed – of the growing importance of virtual reality to our industry.
VR is incredibly exciting technology – it is immersive, exciting and memorable. Anyone who has experienced that first buzz of trying out the technology knows that. It takes you to an entirely new environment, where you can feel your stomach in your mouth on the Big Dipper, or experience the spine-tingling thrill of swimming with sharks.
But the thrill soon fades, and consumers need more to keep them excited. As with all technology it is not on its own enough – it needs the spark of creativity, if it is to provoke strong emotions, be memorable, and most importantly deliver the brand message.
There are already some great examples of brands doing this well. Samsung won seven prestigious awards with its “The Ostrich” commercial. If you haven’t seen it, it is about an ostrich that learns to fly after wearing a VR Headset with a flight simulator. It makes you believe in the impossible.
Eurostar will allow passengers to find a lost pirate treasure while travelling to Paris this summer. I’m definitely buying a ticket!
Even traditional media is taking advantage of the new technology to engage readers. The New York Times won Entertainment Grand Prix thanks to its VR project “The Displaced” which shows the refugee crisis through the eyes of children - a campaign with a great message that provoked a mix of emotions.
These campaigns show the potential of VR, and we look forward to seeing, and experiencing more. Above all though brands, and their agencies must remember that while VR creates the opportunity, it is creativity that adds the meaning.
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