Breaking the Virtual Mould: Going where no agency has gone before

Breaking the Virtual Mould: Going where no agency has gone before

The virtual road for agencies is increasingly well trodden. We’ve seen all kinds of world first experiences; from track days on the moon, to underwater virtual dining experiences . So, when it comes to standing out from the agency crowd and creating something truly unique, stepping somewhere off the virtually beaten track, it’s a daunting feat.

With this in mind, we thought we’d devote some creative time to dreaming up new ways experiential VR could be harnessed by brands. A series of hypothetical VR experiences to suit the daydreamers and innovators of the agency world – who want their experience to be outstandingly different, in among the mainstream. Warning: the following haven’t been attempted before. Proceed with curiosity.

Lost in the sound: Psychological VR 1

We all kind of know how we’re meant to feel when we’re experiencing VR. Whether it’s from the cues built into the experience which tell us we should feel happy for the lead character, or the speeding sports car ride which tricks us into thinking we’re experiencing adrenaline, experiential VR is great at creating a feeling.

 “Make them feel something they couldn’t anywhere else.”

But what brands aren’t doing much of, is using the virtual environment and sounds to create more of a sensory and psychological experience. If you want your audience to feel overwhelmed, make the buildings grow out of perspective. If you want them to feel cut off from the world they’re immersed in, dim the sound down and fade the surroundings slightly. Make them feel something they couldn’t anywhere else.

VR & product launches

Product launches are the perfect place for experiential VR. If you were advertising a brand-new pair of headphones, rather than simply asking your audience to listen, craft something which shows exactly how it feels to experience sound. As your audience put the headphones on, a standard, city landscape in the virtual headset transforms into a beautiful, colourful world. The picture gets brighter, the world more animated, the binaural audio fills the space. This is what it feels like to experience sound.

Bringing the physical into the virtual: VR experience 2

While VR feels more real with each new-fangled headset which makes its way onto the market and software advances at an ever-increasing rate, there’s still one barrier to the experience; it still isn’t real. You can’t touch or feel VR. Sure, you can see it, but there’s still a part of your brain telling you the rugged rock face in front of you is simply just compressed behind a screen. Well, what if you could add a simple, physical object into the equation, to help bring it more into the real world?

 “What if you could take the technology and develop it into more of a tailored shape for your brand?”

Now, we know what you’re thinking. A couple of agencies have already done similar things. One even developed a fake rock face you could actually touch. But what hasn’t been done, is creating custom move controllers. Those bright, rectangular VR sticks you see people holding during VR experiences, all look more or less the same. What if you could take the technology and develop it into more of a tailored shape for your brand?

VR & Drink brands

Summer’s on the way and you want to give your market a new way to experience your drink. Why not craft a VR experience with a difference? Rather than using a standard move controller, put the technology into one which looks and feels like a cocktail glass. As your viewer is passed the cup, a pair of hands holds the cup in a gorgeous, summery, garden getaway. Animations suddenly tumble out of the cup and into the space – with quirky illustrations, funny, sunny animals and beautiful patterns. Finish the experience with the sip of the cocktail and you’ve instantly created a meaningful, experiential moment.

Access all areas: VR experience 3

VR experiences shot from the POV of athletes, rockstars, real people, even fictional people, are all pretty popular right now. And what’s even hotter, is VR live streaming. Making a moment exclusive helps your audience feel like they’ll be missing out on something if they’re not part of the crowd. Take gigs, for example. The fun of the event is being there in the moment. If you can’t be there, live streaming it in VR is the next best thing.

 “How do you make it live longer online?”

But in this, there lies a bit of a problem. How do you make it live longer online? If you create an exclusive moment and your audience do happen to miss it, what happens to that experience you’ve just captured? A few agencies have run super successful live VR experiences, like iris’ ‘Royal Blood’ gig streamed live for Samsung. What agencies aren’t doing yet, is offering an access all areas POV to extend the experience, aside from making the experience available online after the event.

VR & Live Events

For your brand’s latest live streaming gig experience, make it exclusively available online for a limited amount of time. Offer your viewers the chance to be part of the crowd and get access to the gig of their dreams. But, once the event’s over, give them access all areas. As the audience leave, they could be given branded cardboard headsets to carry on the experience. Or social media fans can click on an “Access All Areas” button at the end of the experience to carry on the party. You’ll then get access to a POV from the sound check, backstage in the green room, after hours rockstar party and even join the band on their tour bus. Experience more online.

The Laws of Virtual Physics: VR experience 4

Our final hypothetical dive into the world of experiential VR is a little more abstract. We all know how the laws of reality work, but what about the laws of virtual reality? Agencies have been crafting a wide range of wonderful animations in VR and real life scenes brought to virtual life, but isn’t it time we started thinking a little more outside the very real box?

 “We all know how the laws of reality work, but what about the laws of virtual reality?”

A top tip for the sales floor, rather than simply showing a VR experience detailing what the interiors of a car look like from the passenger seat, or showing your market what it looks and feels like to drive the virtual car round a track, somewhere on or off this planet, do something no ones done before. Show them what the craftsmanship looks like, from a completely different scale – like we did with our Bowmore VR piece . The laws of physics don’t apply in this world, bend them to create something new.

VR & Automotive brands

Your latest car model is just about to launch – with the most advanced craftsmanship yet, incredibly powerful engine and beautifully designed interiors. Rather than showing your audience at regular scale, your experience shrinks your viewer down to molecular scale. In VR, you see the layers of comfort in the seats, you get up close inside the craftsmanship of the engine and marvel at the structure of the textures. As the car revs, the engine fires up and the lights fill the interior. You’ve never seen a car like this before.

Breaking the virtual mould is something we could all be doing . There’s more innovations to be made in this space and for forward thinking agencies who want to offer something completely unique to their audience – something different from the VR house down the road – the opportunities are enormous. If these are just four potential creatives for what experiential VR could be doing, imagine what other ideas are out there.

If you’re looking to craft an experiential VR experience and would like to chat through any creative thoughts you have, or would like to get in on the virtual action, drop us a line.

Pebble Studios
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