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Gotta Catch ‘Em All: How Virtual Reality is Capturing Consumer Attention

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The internet is abuzz with Pokémon fever with the launch of new augmented reality app, Pokémon GO. The app – which is a piece of very clever marketing – combines elements of traditional gameplay with real world action. Launched just a couple of days ago, it already has people hooked.

Users have been running around the streets trying to capture Pokémon that are hidden at bus stops, workplaces and famous landmarks. Some of these quasi Pokémon trainers have even found the virtual creatures nestled beneath their beds and beside their desks at work.

Game players have taken to social media in their enthusiasm, loving that they’re able to find Pokémon in real-life environments, and snapping pictures of Squirtle next to their pets, or of Charmander sitting next to them at the cinema.

The hype – and the real-life nature of the gameplay – has been perfect for bringing people’s attention back to the Pokémon brand.

And it’s not just Pokémon that has people excited – virtual reality has taken the world by storm.

It’s a show of just how much immersive marketing can help a brand engage their customers, and signposts what is coming up in the tech world. So, what else have brands been doing to connect with their customers in a whole new way?

A whole new take on branding

Beyond just gameplay, VR has great applications in marketing. Businesses using virtual reality technology create deeply personal connections with their consumers and create a magnetic brand for themselves.

Most notably, global travel company Airbnb used VR in a movie cinema ad campaign that turned heads – quite literally. The ‘Live There’ campaign, which was screened in cinemas across the globe, was the first of its kind, and truly demonstrated the power of immersive marketing.

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The ad itself was a new type of 3D technology, which prompted viewers to tilt their heads up and down to see different images on the screen. When viewers tilted their heads in one direction, they saw Paris as a tourist would. Tilting their heads the other way showed the city in a whole different way, helping the viewer to imagine life as a local in the City of Lights.

In many cinemas, viewers were enthralled, and the ad technology gave them a beautiful experience that went above and beyond what they gain from a traditional ad. Here, the power of immersive advertising is clear: give someone the tools to interact with a brand and they’ll remember it forever.

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Image Source: Black Bear Solutions

Immersive learning

The Australian Defence Force has also integrated VR into its training package, giving new recruits the chance to practice their skills in a virtual environment before they take to the frontline. It’s a streamlined way to integrate technology and information and prepare recruits for real-world defence, where data forms the basis for warfare.

Away from the frontline, VR could also be used for all forms of skills-based training, giving everyone a chance to experience a new situation for themselves, while removing the risk that is often associated with learning new things.

Between catching Pokémon on the streets and experiencing Paris in near perfection, brands are leveraging the technology to their advantage. We can only guess what the future holds for virtual reality – but we know it’s going to be exciting.

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By Stefanie Kir


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