Branded VR Stands Out: Webby Awards Takeaways
Branded virtual reality has a powerful impact on advertising. People see VR and 360-degree video as more engaging, and they see the brands who use them as more innovative, according to YuMe’s 2017 study. How can your company use branded VR to its fullest? Find inspiration from the 2017 Webby Awards Nominees in Cinematic or Pre-Rendered VR (Branded).
Make Users Feel Invested
VR holds one’s undivided attention; it filters out external stimuli while immersing the user in an environment. Use this attention to make people feel invested in your product or service.
Greenpeace’s A Journey to the Arctic, which won the Webby Award, walks viewers through the landscapes of the Arctic. They stand face-to-face with a polar bear, or explore inside an icy glacier. Unfortunately, this captivating environment is in danger, and Greenpeace needs your help to save it. By immersing users in the Arctic’s beauty, A Journey to the Arctic creates an emotional connection with Greenpeace’s mission.
VR lets users see a product in their daily lives. In Ikea’s Virtual Reality Showroom, customers mix and match different furniture types and colors in a single room. The brand believes in “democratic design,” or letting anyone shape a room’s image. By testing their own furniture combinations, customers can see how Ikea furniture fits into their lives–and they don’t even have to leave the store.
Rihanna played a game of cat-and-mouse with her fans using VR. To promote her 2016 album Anti, she and Samsung collaborated to create ANTIdiaRy, a virtual reality world only available on Samsung phones. Users unlock different rooms by solving clues and puzzles, and each room offers hints about Anti. Samsung even invited ambitious fans to their office for a top-secret mission. Branded VR doesn’t have to be a one-time experience; companies can draw users into a narrative through multiple VR worlds.
Feeling invested in a product leads to future action, whether it’s buying a set of furniture or returning to a puzzle for more clues.
Blur The Line Between Reality And Fantasy
VR takes users to places where they could not go normally: an African safari, a deserted island, a cage surrounded by sharks. This includes the fictional world.
The whimsical KAWS: A VR Experience weaves effortlessly through reality and fantasy. It starts with artist KAWS in his studio, then directly places users into his colorful, cartoon-like art. VR makes both environments feel equally real and engaging. KAWS created this project to commemorate M&M’s 75th anniversary. By combining art and technology, it embodies the colorful, playful M&M’s brand.
Honda’s Music From Every Angle offers a twist on music videos. In the ad, musician Moses Sumney sings different harmonies and merges them together through live playback; he also uses the 2016 Honda Civic as percussion. With each music line he records, a different copy of him appears. The result is multiple Sumneys singing and walking through the room together. The video integrates the Honda Civic into the musical experience; VR adds a visual dimension to this experience.
Offer Alternatives To Fancy Equipment
While many of these Webby nominees use VR headsets, they also have lower-cost viewing options. “Music From Every Angle” can be viewed on Google Cardboard, which only costs $15. ANTIdiaRy foregoes headsets altogether; users move their Samsung phones like a camera (instead of zooming in on the touch screen) to explore the different rooms.
Almost all of these experiences are also available as 360-degree videos online. People can watch them on their laptops or phones, which leads to both more viewers and more repeated views. To find out more about the difference between VR and 360-degree video, check out our blog post.
VR can immerse users in any world. Use this to your company’s advantage: Create a world where customers engage with your product. As these Webby Awards nominees show, branded VR can drive future action, transcend the limits of reality, and reach multiple customers through mobile and laptop platforms. An Ikea living room, the Arctic, and Rihanna’s childhood bedroom are only a swipe or click away thanks to branded VR.