VIRTUAL REALITY AT EVENTS
If you are looking to add something unique and interesting to your next event, Virtual Reality is a great way to impress people and get them talking positively about it: 81% of people who have tried a VR experience said they would tell their friends about it and the most common words used to describe VR experiences are ‘cool’, ‘like’, ‘awesome’, ‘excited’ and ‘fun’. (1) Even among those who have not already tried VR, 91% had positive feelings about it after watching an informational video on it and 65% are interested in it. (2) Those who have tried it think it is an amazing experience and those who haven’t are generally interested in it.
Apart from using VR booths to entertain guests, they can also be utilised effectively by playing a pre-recorded 360 Video. The nature of the video can be tailored to suit your event and desired effect, but the general idea is to display relevant content that correlates with the nature of your event to boost interest, engagement and social media mentions.
Lastly, if you host regular events recording the event in 360 can be a real marketing benefit as you will gain some incredible immersive 360 video/photo content, which generally performs better than standard video/photo on most marketing metrics. (3) (4) (5) For example, one of the largest music festivals in the world, Tomorrowland, released a 360 video called “360 Degrees of Madness” which captured the 2014 Tomorrowland Experience and allows viewers a chance to see what it can be like to visit the renowned event. It has proved to be excellent marketing material for its later concerts with the video acquiring 9.5 million views and 48,000 likes.
Especially in a conference or similar corporate event it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, but virtual reality can be a great tool for generating interest and engagement in your brand. At an Event Tech Live show in London, it was noticed that the exhibitors that had interactive experience were the ones that attracted most people to their booths. (7) This is not an isolated phenomenon and overall people prefer to experience things over being told things.
When compared to traditional 2D media, 360 videos and VR experiences elicit higher rates of engagement, interaction and emotional response. (8) Deutsche Bahn has found that after they began using VR at jobfairs they saw a 5x-10x increase in the amount of interested applicants and those that did apply were higher-quality and more interested. (9)
71% feel that using VR makes a brand seem forward thinking and modern.
60% say a company using virtual reality creates a positive view of them.
53% of adults say they would buy from brands that use VR over ones that don’t.
61% of consumers would feel engaged with a brand that sponsors VR content.
At the San Diego Comic-Con, the TV studio FX Network wanted to stand out from the hundreds of media companies that cater to the 130,000 annual attendees. The sixth season of their show American Horror Story was airing in the next few months and so to create some buzz hired a company to create a virtual reality experience. Attendees were asked to lie down as a group, a sheet was placed over them and a HTC Vive headset and headphones were attached. They were taken into the perspective of a body in a morgue (cleverly linking the real world to the virtual reality experience) and then taken through a 5 minute video that delved into common phobias like vertigo, claustrophobia and clowns as well as including some cameos of characters and settings from previous seasons of the show.
The experience produced 2 million social media impressions and over 440 million earned media impressions. (11) The reaction to it was so successful that FX Network decided to make a transportable version of it to take on tour and they later won the award in virtual reality for the 9th Annual Shorty Awards which focuses on the best uses of social media.
The French Cheese brand Boursin was hoping to expand their consumers to include a wider and younger customer base. In order to do this, they created they created the VR experience called the “Boursin Sensorium”. At events, lucky participants were fitted with an Oculus Rift headset and taken through a 360 video of a virtual fridge to experience various flavouring ingredients. The combination of 360 video showcasing the various flavouring ingredients with tasting the relevant cheeses led to an incredibly powerful marketing experience. To boost the marketing potential videos of the participants engaging in the experience were sent back to them to be shared on social media.
The campaign led to an increased social reach of 5 million, with 80 000 video views on YouTube. Professionals were also impressed, as the campaign went on to win “Masters of Marketing“ Award and were runners up for “Best Augmented/Virtual Reality Technology“ Award at the Event Tech Awards.
The Tequila company Patron has developed a 360 video that follows the journey of their Tequila production from the agave fields all the way to being served at a party. Whenever Patron has events it sets up a virtual reality booth to give audiences a chance to show the production process from start to end. This is a great example of creating an engaging, educating and interesting experience for attendees. It is also beneficial in helping to increase brand confidence by showing the entire story of their tequila from start to finish.