Virtual Reality is helping event marketers to reimagine the event experience.


Totally immersive, completely cutting-edge, and totally transforming the customer experience. Here we take a look at a few examples of how brands are using this incredible technology to engage audiences, attract headlines, and boost sales:

Drinks firm Red Bull created a stunning 360-degree VR experience for the Red Bull Air Race 2015 at Ascot. Viewers were invited on a virtual flight around the course, piloting an aeroplane at high speed and rotating the aircraft to dramatic effect. From the view in the cockpit, flight paths were visible in high resolution, crafted from genuine telemetry data – for complete accuracy of the experience

Marriott Hotels promises to transport you from London to Maui in 90 seconds, using an Oculus Rift headset. Its virtual travel experience lets customers don a headset and enjoy a Marriott “VR postcard”. Three different 360-degree 3D videos were shot: in Chile, Rwanda and Beijing. “A lot of people have never thought of virtual reality outside of gaming, so to put it inside a trip, what does it feel like to take a virtual trip?” says Marriott’s VP of global brand marketing, Michael Dail.

Toyota used VR headsets to offer a “distracted driving simulator” at the New York International Auto Show. Part of the Japanese carmakers’s TeenDrive 365 safety initiative, visitors were invited to “virtually” drive a vehicle at the event. There was one catch – there would be a series of distractions, designed to test a driver’s ability to stay focused on the road. See how it engaged audiences:

FOX Sports has linked up with Next VR to offer live streaming of sporting events in VR. Viewers will be able to immerse themselves in the action via the Samsung Gear VR headset, with the choice to view from multiple camera angles. The partnership has already resulted in VR broadcasting of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race, and NBA matches. Audio is set to be a key part of the service, making it truly immersive: with options to listen to commentary, cheers from the crowd, or even the “squeak” of trainers on court.

Here’s something different, and maybe an idea for brands who don’t have the budgets to build VR apps or give away expensive headsets. In March 2016, McDonald’s sold limited-edition Happy Meals in boxes that could be turned into VR headsets, just by tearing along perforated lines and adding lenses. This tactic appears to have been inspired by Google cardboard – the cost-effective way to get your hands on a fully functioning VR headset. The “happy Goggles” program was limited to 3,500 headsets in Sweden, and was supported by ad agency DDB Stockholm.

We’re still only at the very start of the VR revolution. However, it’s clear the technology offers great opportunities for engagement – whatever the size of your brand, and whatever the type of industry you’re in. If you’d like to explore how VR could work for your event, talk to us today!

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