Since the Oculus Rift hit the market in March, virtual reality has been taking the world of consumer and brand events by storm.
Users simply slip on a headset to be transported anywhere in the world – or out of it!
The possibilities for marketers and event organisers are limitless and we have already seen some amazing creativity demonstrated. Here are 5 of our favourite VR experiences seen at events and experiential activations so far…
1. Greenpeace at Glastonbury
Over 3,000 festival-goers at this year’s Glastonbury battled through the mud to dive the Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough at the Greenpeace field.
The immersive 20-minute virtual reality experience was created by Alchemy VR and enables participants to jump on board Triton, a state-of-the-art submersible.
Viewers encounter fish, corals and sharks and learn all about them as Britain’s best-loved naturalist narrates along the way. The film was commissioned by Greenpeace to help raise awareness of the plight of the Great Barrier Reef, which is under threat from mining and climate change.
The full experience can now be enjoyed at the Natural History Museum, London.
2. Havana Club’s ‘Casa Havana’
Rum brand Havana Club unveiled a pop-up in London’s Soho, recreating a traditional Cuban bar. The two-day ‘Casa Havana’ activation included a secret VR experience located in a storeroom.
Created by Found Studio, the experience introduced viewers to Casa Havana’s owner, Señor Perez, and took them on a journey from the exact same storeroom they were sitting in (recreated digitally), right across the globe to Cuba.
As they explored Señor Perez’s Cuban home, the story of the bar, the history of the rum and ingredients for his famous ‘Silver Pineapple’ cocktail was revealed, culminating in the reveal of the drink itself when the viewer was returned back to the real world.
The experience incorporated real world set design and special effects like a fan being switched on to make it fully sensory. Watch the video here.
3. Samsung at Lollapalooza
Samsung chose Lollapalooza, an annual music festival in Chicago, to showcase its Gear VR headset and Gear 360 camera, which enables users to film in 360-degrees.
Festival-goers could participate in virtual reality surfing in Tahiti, skateboarding in Malibu, sail through the sky in a hot air balloon trip, or hop on-board a virtual roller coaster.
They were also able to ‘upgrade’ their tickets and gain front row access thanks to live VR streams of festival performances on the Samsung stage.
Meanwhile, for fans in New York who couldn’t make it to Lollapalooza, Samsung hosted an immersive experience featuring live streams of performances, exclusive VR content focusing on the 25-year history of the festival and a special performance from Years & Years.
4. Alcatel at Summer in the City
Smartphone manufacturer Alcatel used a customised taxi to drive interest at Summer in the City, the UK’s largest YouTube convention at ExCeL London.
To promote the launch of its IDOL 4 handset, Alcatel created a virtual reality taxi experience where event-goers could step inside, sit down and take a tour of some of the most iconic landmarks in the world.
At the same time, the experience was designed to showcase the key features of the handset. These include a ‘Boom Key’ that lets users ‘take things up a gear’ with the ability to instantly take and share pictures, live stream video, or boost the volume when listening to music.
The BOOM taxi activation was part of its #BoomMeUp social campaign, and those attending the experience were invited to take a selfie in the taxi, and share it for the chance to win a handset.
5. Innis & Gunn’s ‘Immersive & Gunn’ experience
Scottish craft beer maker Innes & Gunn decided to give its customers actual beer goggles, in the shape of VR headsets that would transport them to Scottish landscapes.
The brewery worked with cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Jacob Jolij to develop two short films (complete with sound effects) to complement its best-selling varieties of beer and enhance the taste perception.
Innis & Gunn’s Lager variety is illustrated by the craggy cliffs and rolling sands of the coast of Dunbar and Galloway, while the Original whisky cask-aged beer is heightened by a film of dense pine forests, rolling barley fields and still lochs.
Customers who ordered either of the beers at selected pubs in Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and London were served their pint, alongside a VR headset and a beer mat explaining what to do.
Innis & Gunn is also selling the cardboard VR viewers for £5 via its website and has released the films on Youtube for customers to download onto their phones and view while enjoying the beers at home.