Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are getting A LOT of press here in 2015. Just from our point of view over here at INPHANTRY (and having done VR + AR projects in the past) the market is really heating up for activations and product launches that want or need this new technology. And with good reason! There’s loads of cool stuff that you can do with it, but, should you and your company go for it just because it’s a buzzword? Maybe…maybe not.
Let’s dive into a few things here…being an experiential advertising agency with the creative vibes and know how to do anything and everything digital, there’s a few points we’d like to get across in merging new technology to potential events and activations…
1) Just because the technology exists, doesn’t mean it’s the perfect route to go for your brand’s audience. It’s like starting at the back part of a complex equation…it just won’t make sense, and deciding which technology to implement isn’t the biggest question to answer. The tech aspect of experiential events is simply the icing on the cake – at least from an INPHANTRY standpoint.
2) Know your audience…this is a big one. What do they like? What have your competitors done to try to steal away your audience? How have you kept your audience engaged through the years? New and emerging experiences won’t always equate perfectly with your brands loyal fan base, sometimes it’s better to stay true to your identity. For example: Should Gerber be implementing new VR technology for their customers and buyers? Eh, probably wouldn’t make sense, but exploring the all the ideas and potential routes will ultimately lead you to the best (and most genuine) one.
3) To think outside the box, you’ve got to be outside the box. Your team needs to be outside the box and at the forefront of creative thinking. David Ogilvy once said, “Creative is as creative does” and here at INPHANTRY we couldn’t agree more. Being a small agency, we’ve got to take chances and encourage creativity whenever and wherever we can. Whether it’s a field trip to go paint balling, taking time off as need be, keeping the fridge stocked full of adult beverages, or taking a few minutes to de-stress and play ping-pong or some PS4 during work hours, it all matters. That’s part of our process and it works out quite well. Develop, test and implement yours to keep those creative juices flowing…get outside and unplug often.
4) Understand that everyone (including your competitors) all want to do the newest, best thing with the latest technology out there. Humans by nature are creative. And with that comes a whole industry who are trying to sell the latest and greatest ideas. The best way to stay genuine, to stay wholesome is to follow an old adage from Dr. Seuss. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Your brand audience will resonate most strongly with a consistent message, with various levels of creative disruption within your ads.
Now, let’s get back to this whole VR + AR debate. While I’m not a developer or expert on it by any means, I’ve come to read quite a bit about all this new emerging technology. Between Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, Avegant Glyph, Google Cardboard and even first generation items like Xbox Kinect, the future is shaping up to be, well…augmented. And everyone from brands, to creatives are looking to use it.
Luckily, here at INPHANTRY, we’ve already done several AR projects and are definitely looking to do more, but it can be pretty expensive to do so. We’ve already seen a few huge AR/VR activations by Hill Holliday and Merrell Shoes and even Mountain Dew implementing a new VR advertising approach, which makes us all itching to get back on the bandwagon and produce some rad stuff for future clients. (Interested clients or partners email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In terms of the unfolding future of advertising, hat we do here at INPHANTRY is quite special. Our ability to really focus on staying ahead of the curve with emerging technologies is how we can best implement them into uses for existing and potential clients. Despite our ‘boutique’ size, it doesn’t really take a whole lot of time to keep up with emerging trends…there are hundreds of companies currently out there creating, developing, fundraising and discussing the future of technology and how we can continue creating amazing things in today’s world. I already wrote about ‘Myo’ in our previous blog, but I wanted to get a bit more hands on and talk about some of the new VR and AR tech I’ve been reading about.
Quick segway here, ever since Nintendo first dreamed up VR tech with Power glove and Virtual Boy in the early and mid 1990’s, companies have been clamoring to get it right, but not all have. Even Oculus Rift’s CEO recently admitted, “Oculus Rift probably isn’t going to sell billions of units – and that’s ok.” So, by all trends, this is still an emerging technology that’s been experimented with for over 20 years now.
Over the last two decades, including the launch of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, consumers and tech-junkies alike have been waiting for a plethora of augmented reality concepts including Google Glass 2 Enterprise Edition, as well a vast number of other competitors in the wearable tech industry…but regardless of whether or not you’re planning on using a full headset as a future heads up system, you’ve got to look past the clunkiness and more into the practicality of the potential uses. Forget about the two decades of innovation that ultimately resulted in minimal changes for a VR headset…
Take for instance, Land Rover in late 2014 used a Virtual Reality application to launch their new Discovery Sport. How exactly did they do it? Well, just watch the video…instead of launching another car in the flesh, Land Rover used a virtual reality mobile app to unleash their newly designed off-road vehicle. Users could event open the car doors and see a very detailed interior. But this isn’t the only application. Oculus Rift (owned by Facebook) as well as Samsung Gear VR are aiming to use virtual reality for clients like GE, who are looking to give executives a first person view inside their new plant facilities located in different regions around the world as well as under the sea.
While these are just a few of the AR/VR examples we’ve seen, they are understandably not cheap or fast to create and make. Yet, big companies are going for it because this is where the industry is going. Customers, fans and avid enthusiasts of a brand or company want to be ‘shown’ something as opposed to being told. Kate Maddox of SHIFT Communications actually published a post on adage.com called, “B-to-B Marketers Explore New Horizons with Virtual Reality,” and it’s got a fantastic perspective on just how the PR/Advertising/Marketing industry is all changing with the inclusion of more augmented reality projects.
The only question is, “Should your company include virtual reality into it’s marketing approach?” Certainly wouldn’t be a bad way to spend a few hundred grand…
With that being said, we personally can’t wait for crazy FPS games to come out in the public arena. It will certainly make things a lot more interesting.
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