Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology which is constantly developing, from pre-recorded holograms to the creation of entire virtual worlds which use computer technology to create simulated three dimensional images. The head and eye motions of the user simultaneously adjust the perspective images in front of them. An effective VR experience should cause the user to become oblivious to their actual surroundings and become completely immersed in their virtual environment.
Commonly, this technology has been used for gaming, however as the technology develops, the data produced can be used to create 3D models of new products and for communication and interaction purposes. These can be used in a range of academic research from engineering to business and the arts. One ground-breaking application of the tech worth talking about is how the UK armed forces are using virtual reality and simulated bodies to train soldiers on how to carry out medical procedures on a moving helicopter.
Our main interest in the subject however, lies in the involvement of virtual reality in experiential marketing. The car industry in particular has attracted our attention by really pushing the limits of the technology in its current form. Audi have been experimenting by virtually taking the Audi R8 to the moon, adding x-ray effects allowing the consumer to explore inside the body panels to decide if it’s a right fit for them. Lamborghini also utilised VR to allow consumers to experience a test drive by taking them on a virtual spin of the Italian Amalfi Coast.
More recently, some unlikely industries such as telecommunications and the food and beverage sector are trying their hand at virtual reality experiences. T-Mobile have placed fans in the centre of the Home Run Derby to experience their favourite player like never before whilst Absolut vodka are showing consumers a reimagined future of nightlife with Absolut.
During our recent VELUX campaign, VR was used to give suppliers and installers an insight into the features and benefits of the white-painted roof window by transporting them into a 360° journey from the forest where the wood is sourced, right through to the building, testing and installation of their innovative new roof window design, in the Denmark factory.
But why are these unlikely industries getting involved? Virtual reality experiences like such are designed to provide an experience of the brand, create a perception which predominately influences the market of today. VR can be used to tell the brand’s story – not just demonstrate new products and features but to really convey values and how a product can affect the consumer directly.