M&E Connections

Virtual Reality: Week In Review

By Jeff Hyatt

It’s been another interesting week in the world of Virtual Reality, highlighted by two big companies integrating VR into their marketing strategies to hopefully spark an interest in kids and teens.

McDonald’s Sweden is launching a promotion that invites kids to turn Happy Meal boxes into virtual-reality viewers. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, unveiled a new design for its retail packaging in which the cardboard can be folded into virtual reality glasses designed to be used with a smartphone.

The parents might have something to say about all this, and, of course, plenty of legalities could be involved in VR campaigns that target children

The future of music?. Samsung hosted a gig where the audience wore VR goggles and watched a band playing at a totally different location. The VR gig featured a band called “Years and Years”, who specialise in a gentle form of electro which is unlikely to scandalise even the most sensitive of parents. Instead of visiting the concert in person, guests strapped on helmets and watched it from afar. They were able to choose the angles and move around the room, even taking up a position on stage with the performers.

VR & Design. Virtual reality was blended with sports and marketing on Monday as the United States Soccer Federation announced a redesign of its red, white and blue crest via an immersive experience – one that involves Google Cardboard, a virtual reality promotional video and a United States Soccer Federation scarf.

William H. Macy. Yes, that was TV/Film star William H. Macy Sunday night during the Oscar telecast featured in a Samsung ad to sell its customised virtual reality headset for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

Mark Zuckerberg & VR. The Facebook boss has been a virtual reality booster—but now says it will take a decade or more to catch on with consumers.

In the meantime, Facebook recently announced it formed a “Social VR” team to build technology that creates new ways for people to have social experiences in virtual reality and to engage with Facebook’s network in virtual settings. The team will build for Oculus devices as well as other technology that’s available today, while also trying to anticipate the platforms of the future.

VR Marketing. Just as 3D was the next big thing some years ago, VR has re-emerged as a game changer when it comes to moviemaking, game development…and marketing. As a marketer, you may be asking yourself how you can successfully use VR in your business.

Virtual Reality Minecraft. Minecraft was all but destined for a liaison with virtual reality. So is it any surprise Microsoft is showing off the Windows 10 version of the popular sandbox builder for the Oculus Rift?

Buying a VR Headset?. Today’s VR options are affordable, impressive, fun, and phone-powered. Here’s what to keep in mind if you plan on taking the VR plunge, from the price of admission to the capabilities of each headset to what you should do with them.

VR Hype. It’s still a niche proposal, but the brands don’t want it to stay that way.

VR Hype II: Mortal Kombat co-creator and NetherRealm Studios founder Ed Boon is still having “a hard time with it taking off.”

On the flip-side, freelance game writer Rhianna Pratchett thinks VR has “so much potential for great storytelling, so much potential everywhere.” Pratchett added: “Being able to put players into a relaxing environment, there are health benefits in that alone. Take away narrative and just transport me to a beach, or a jungle, or the countryside if you live in the city, or the city if you live in the countryside. That’s really exciting.”

Exciting times, indeed.