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Spectacular VR Marketing Campaigns (And How You Can Copy Them)

November 28, 2017

Virtual reality (VR) is gaining popularity among consumers and is expected to explode in the next few years. Projections show over 170 million active users by 2018, up from 90 million in 2017. Market sizes will respond to this growth, jumping from a current level of 11.4 billion to 143.3 billion in 2020.

Many companies recognize the potential of VR for marketing, especially as the technology moves out of the domain of die-hard gamers and into the everyday lives of the general public. Study these five examples of amazing VR campaigns, and discover how you can use similar tactics in your own marketing to capture a wider segment of your audience in 2018.

Virtual Vacations with Marriott
Using a combination of the Oculus Rift headset, wind jets, mist nozzles and heaters, the Marriott Hotel offered prospective travelers a multi-sensory adventure they called a “4D Tourism experience.” Delivered in a booth dubbed the Teleporter, the campaign even included scents to ensure the most realistic experience possible. Curious customers stepping inside the booth were treated to 100-second “trips” to locations like London and Hawaii. The company hopes these virtual tours will inspire people to explore new places. Similar VR experiences could become part of the travel planning industry in the future.

MSI Brings Motherboards to Life
Consumers rarely think about the components making their computers tick unless they design customized machines for tasks demanding a lot of resources. MSI brought the motherboard, the heart of a computer, to the attention of the general public with their MSI Electric City VR experience. In this clever marketing campaign, customers are invited to “ride” around the city and explore the design of MSI’s motherboard. The sci-fi atmosphere was inspired by popular video games and helped the company create a connection with a market otherwise unfamiliar with their products.

Tom’s Shares a Giving Experience
Tom’s Shoes is known for its “One for One” campaign, in which the company donates one pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Although this already resonates with many consumers, Tom’s sought to bring the concept closer to home with a VR campaign. Installations in retail outlets transported shoppers to Peru to experience what it’s like to deliver the shoes the company donates. By choosing to use VR to share the story of their charitable work, Tom’s went beyond the standard marketing format with an emotional journey customers are unlikely to forget.

Jingling All the Way with Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is known for its innovative Christmas ads, and the company recently decided to apply the same creativity to a VR campaign. Launched in Poland, this unique marketing strategy put consumers in the driver’s seat of Santa’s sleigh. The Oculus Rift headset took each individual into the skies above Poland and on a virtual roller coaster ride to feel what it might be like to be the big man in the red suit for an evening. By invoking the emotions of Christmas in an immersive VR landscape, Coca-Cola showed it understands the power of nostalgia when seeking to connect with consumers.

Bedtime Story Upgrade from Samsung
Emotions also take center stage in Samsung’s Bedtime VR Stories. To enter this virtual environment, parents wear a Samsung Gear VR headset while their kids use Google Cardboard. The two technologies combine with a voice chat platform to bring families together in an imaginative virtual landscape when they can’t be together in person. It’s a unique twist on classic bedtime stories made possible only by the expansion of VR into the mainstream and the innovation of companies like Samsung.

Embracing the Growth of VR
Predictions show businesses spending over $9 billion on VR by 2021, and the versatility exhibited in current marketing campaigns is a likely reason for such a large investment. VR can be used to create nearly any type of environment, giving you almost endless possibilities for engaging with customers. In fact, fellow personal injury attorneys James Goodnow and Marc Lamber at Lamber Goodnow are using VR to simulate the scene of an accident for members of the jury. This is the first instance of VR being used by a law firm, and actually being used to alter the course of a trial.

To make VR work in your own campaigns, consider the tactics of other companies. Those with the most successful VR strategies focus on enhancing the customer experience by immersing people in worlds directly associated with their brands. In doing so, they establish connections between their products and consumers’ lives. Updates to VR technology are laying the groundwork for a future in which your brand can transport customers to virtual showrooms, allowing them to browse, test and shop for products in realistic environments from the comfort of their own homes.

With VR gaining accessibility among everyday consumers, it will soon become an expected part of the brand experience. Start planning your VR campaigns now to ensure your business has a foot in the door as the popularity of the technology turns the virtual world from a fringe experience to a ubiquitous component of marketing and shopping.

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