Applications of VR and AR in Marketing
Here are some of the most exciting developments in virtual reality marketing, as well as examples using augmented reality or mixed reality. Expect to see more and more as time goes on. Companies large and small are embracing the power of this new technology in creating brand awareness, as well as in selling individual products.
McDonald’s VR Happy Goggles
In an actually fairly delightful display of reuse and recycling, fast food icon McDonald’s recently turned their Happy Meal boxes into Google Goggles. Dubbed Happy Goggles and billed as “the evolution of the Happy Meal”, the familiar red and yellow box can be folded up into a custom branded mobile-based VR headset.
In many ways, this is a natural step for Ronald, Mayor McCheese, and the rest. After all, McDonald’s PlayPlace playgrounds have been a critical piece of their marketing for many years. What kid doesn’t want to come eat a juicy burger and then go run around the plastic playground? Bringing that time-honored tradition into the virtual world makes it more appealing to today’s modern children, as well as making the whole experience much safer and more sanitary.
Today’s children are technologically savvy and very demanding in their entertainment experiences, and offering a virtual experience with the Happy Meal seems very much like a modern replacement for the slide and ball pit. The goggles come bundled with a game, and it seems likely that McDonald’s will invest in more apps if this first one is a success. Just be sure to dab the fry grease off the box before slipping that brand new iPhone inside.
De Beers Augmented Reality Diamonds
At the polar opposite of McDonald’s is De Beers. The jewelry giant has had some very unique marketing campaigns over the years, and one of their most striking examples was their “My Forevermark Fitting” campaign. The marketing play was one of the first mainstream uses of augmented reality in marketing, and is still held as one of the best examples.
Targeted at women shopping for diamond necklaces, rings, earrings, and other jewelry in the Forevermark line, the campaign had shoppers print out a specially marked piece of paper. Visit the Forevermark site and hold the paper in front of a webcam, and it is magically replaced by any piece of jewelry in the line.
By simply clicking the mouse, the symbol could be transformed into a variety of pendants, earrings, and other pieces. By holding it up to their faces, hands, or wrists, shoppers could virtually try on a genuine diamond without leaving home. By leveraging a physical object, the augmented reality advertisement was highly effective. It let women see how the jewelry would look against their skin, and created a fun, shareable experience for potential buyers to enjoy.
The most amazing thing of all? This happened all the way back in 2011, well before the term “augmented reality” was even on the public’s lips. The campaign has ended, but still stands as a testament to the power and flexibility of augmented reality marketing.
Casa Coca-Cola VR Experience
At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Coca-Cola took advantage of the opportunity presented by the nearly 3.5 million people in attendance to promote their already very strong brand even further.
At the Casa Coca-Cola VR experience, participants were first guided into a physical replica of a locker room. Outfitted with custom branded Oculus Rift head-mounted displays, visitors were virtually guided out of the locker room and onto the field, where they played a game of soccer. Afterwards, a virtual salsa dance completed the experience, and participants presumably worked up a thirst for a cold can of Coke.
This is the type of lavish branded experience that is difficult to come by in the home. Much like video arcades and their ability to surpass home systems with custom seating and controller setups, Coca-Cola leveraged their ability to bring together the physical world (the locker room replica) with the virtual to create an unforgettable experience.
This wasn’t the soft drink mogul’s last foray into the world of VR marketing, either. Taking a page from McDonald’s, 12-pack boxes might soon be foldable into Google Cardboard headsets. Google’s low-budget and highly accessible entry into the low-end, mobile-based VR market has proven to be a boon for companies looking to expand their marketing reach. Building them into packaging, like a modern-day version of the word searches and mazes on the back of a cereal box, is a stroke of simple genius.