As good as VR is, as powerful it is as a communications tool, as immersive and emotive it is you just can’t beat the real thing. But what if you combine the virtual with the real?
I’ve come across a couple of brilliant examples of brands using VR technology with a creative ‘actual reality’ twist leading to unique ways to engage with an audience, catch them by surprise and create truly memorable experiences – guerrilla marketing at it’s best!
The first is by Jaguar at the end of 2015– their aim was to show how VR would pale in comparison to the real thing – the real thing being a thrilling test drive of their flagship sports car, the Jaguar F-type. At the Big Bad Toys expo in New Zealand people were invited to put on a VR headset and take the F-type for a virtual test drive, but as soon as the headset was on they were unknowingly driven around a real racetrack by a professional driver at high speed. The passengers were blown away once they were shown the video of their actual experience and realised what had really happened. The brand really triumphed over the technology in this case.
The second example is similarly creative in the application of VR avoiding reliance on the novelty of the technology to add value and instead leading with a creative execution alongside a ‘real’ experience that sings the brand. In this case Georgian creative agency Leavingstone used the streets of Tbilisi to catch an unsuspecting public off guard in March 2016. Inviting passers-by to try on a VR headset to experience a taste of Ireland, featuring the beer Old Irish. In a similar way, once the VR goggles are off a new reality unfolds in an ‘Irish’ pub that is bold and creative and lives the brand in a hugely impactful and memorable way (although as an Irish person I’m glad it’s not an accurate reflection of Ireland!)
While both of these examples are VR pranks, they are also great examples of brands combining the virtual with the real in creative ways that live the brand in question in a powerful experiential way.
While VR has many amazing applications that are extremely powerful in their own right, these examples show how adding a bit of 'real' to VR can create an authentic and more importantly memorable brand experience.
VR alone does not have the dynamism necessary to deliver authentic brand experiences. To create authentic marketing communications, brands need to look to the real world to engage their audiences, not a virtual one.