Weird is the New Creative: VR/AR Concepts Marketers Have to Borrow
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Weird is the New Creative: VR/AR Concepts Marketers Have to Borrow

Imagination is more important than knowledge according to Albert Einstein.

In marketing and branding imagination is sometimes even more important than analytics and strategic planning. Remember the marketing manager of Blendtec who decided to advertise their blenders by destroying iPhones asking  The question "Will it blend?"

Remember how those YouTube videos went viral?



The thing is creative is often weird. Want it or not, you can’t extract the unknown, funny, and odd out of creative. And you don’t need to! There is even an award for the weirdest social media campaigns today where people who create the history of the entire world in 15 minutes get awards. In case you needed a brief overview of the entire world’s fate, it was created already. 

Back to the topic. People always needed and will always need bread and circuses.  Yet today they need weirder and more unexpected circuses. Tech circuses, weird circuses, and circuses in parallel dimensions. 

What is weird? Weird can be defined as “fantastic, supernatural, magic” - and these are the features your customers are expecting from you today. Good news for you: virtual and augmented reality technology is a never-ending source of creative and, what is more important, weird ideas.




What the heck is this immersion? It’s a complete mental involvement in some process. Video games promised us immersion when they just appeared but, admit it, only virtual reality gave us what we call “total and absolute immersion.”

Immersion basically means the disappearance of the present self and the absolute merge with the new character. You can be anyone anywhere. Synchrony in perception and feelings between you and your character is thrilling, and there are few people who would say “Nah, I don't want it” to such an overwhelming experience. Especially today, when the experiential economy is on the rise,  and customers search for new emotions, sensations, and, experiences rather than goods and services. 

That is why marketers and brand managers place a bet on VR because VR is 100% experiential and personalized. Any marketing campaign which uses virtual reality application is doomed to attract the attention of customers.

Brands use full immersion of VR to shock, surprise and inspire viewers. For example, Marriot created virtual reality honeymoons for just married couples. "Do you want to go to London right now?" -  that was the last question the couples heard before being teleported to popular travel destinations. The effect was amazing... well, just look.



When being immersed, you can’t escape feelings, you can’t get distracted from the experience. You are 100% in this experience. Isn’t that what we all looking for in our life full of distraction?



Forget all those top 11 books every CMO must read. You won’t find the latest trends in those books because technology is what shapes those trends. And technological progress is not just dynamic, it’s totally crazy - you can miss an update just being offline for 6 hours!

Devirtualization appeared on the hype virtual reality. What is it?  In short, it’s the creation of virtual experience for viewers and then its recreation of this experience in real reality. It’s a total mind game played inside your customers' heads. It’s better than quantum leaps and travel through virtual dimensions.

Some brands, such as Renault address virtual reality consulting companies to create an amazing experience for their clients. They used devirtualization to blow customers’ minds completely and make them remember this experience for ever and ever.




All brands tell stories, the best brands tell the best stories to their customers. Just read Tesla’s and Apple’s stories: they are emotional,  thought-provoking and 100% motivational.

Creating a catchy story about your brand and your product is building a semantic structure of reality for your customers.

How can a customer realize that the brand is a perfect choice if not learning about cases, values, and challenges your brand can solve? People always needed stories and will always need them: storytelling is the oldest means of the entertainment of the humanity. 

Yet, virtual reality changed everything: VR goggles destroyed the very concept of a narrator once and for all and storytelling became storyliving according to HTC Vive evangelist Cathy Hackl.  Today brands don’t only tell stories to their clients - they let customers EXPERIENCE them fully. That is how customers become active participants in these stories, the stories without a narrator.  Hard to grasp this idea? Grab a pair of goggles and experience the story of Volvo. This is a simple and a sophisticated story. It's the story about the ultimate comfort, the story about perfect roads and serene sunsets. It's the story about the pure pleasure of driving. 

That's the story we all want to hear from a car dealer. Now customers can experience this story. 


 Volvo tells this story in the most exciting way possible- by placing customers inside this story.  What story are you telling to your potential clients?



 Virtual reality is a unique tool for experiential marketing thanks to a multi-sensory input. And you can’t deny the power of experiential marketing for the promotion of the brand: when you feel the brand when you communicate the brand when you make the brand tangible, you are more likely to choose this brand.

Traditional advertising uses visual and auditory stimuli to create images in customers’  minds. Virtual reality can immerse a potential client in the environment where he/she will see, hear, smell ( yes, it’s possible), and even move (  so muscle memory will also be involved).

 Merrell, the company that sells outdoor clothing and footwear decided to make customers feel blood rushing in their veins from crossing the mountain bridge.





Silicon Valley is not trying to sell you software today, it’s selling you empathy. Some critics say that there is no killer app for VR that is why VR doesn’t see any real hype. Yet, VR is claimed to be an “empathy machine” -to me it is a perfect killer app.

VR enthusiasts say that with the help of such a transference VR can make us “more sensitive, more connected, and more human after all!” Traditional media - text, video or photos show other people’s lives only partially. VR is what helps to get inside other people’s heads ( however threatening it might sound).

 It seems that positioning VR as more than a gaming and porn tool is not just a good PR, it’s a real thing. That is why United Nations have created the whole group responsible for virtual reality. Amnesty International used virtual reality campaigns with the practical goal of fundraising. Well, if it's the only way to teleport people to the places they would never ever visit otherwise... why not?



United Nations has a whole project dedicated to VR assuming that virtual reality can be a real empathy machine. UN gives you the list of movies you can preview in VR to learn “how it is to be a Roma woman” for example. Yet the majority of companies still don’t know how to wire VR inside their operations that is why they often search for VR consulting.




Seeing is believing. This old proverb is as topical for online stores as never before. Modern buyers want to buy goods from their bedroom ( in 2017, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 2.3 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion US dollars in 2021). People love buying online yet they want to be 100% sure that these goods fit them perfectly well. Visualization in AR gives customers a unique chance to preview jewelry on them or try on makeup in AR like L'Oreal customers.  Augmented reality for retail is the solution number one for those who want to create WOW effect in customers. 


Becuase they want to see to believe in beauty once again.  If youlack beauty in your life, think about  paininfg in virtual reality.



And not only buyers! Tourists also want to see where they are heading when paying for an expensive tour to the Maldives. Will there be a swimming pool in the hotel? How does the beach look? Tom Kook, a tour operator from England decided to show their customers their future tourist destination before sending them there. Virtual reality campaign is not only impressive, it gives tangible ROI.  Here are more examples of successful VR marketing campaigns. 




 What emotions are the most memorable for clients-positive or negative?

The right answer is the strongest. Saturated emotions shape the brightest memories that hook customers. Think about it: all your clients are exposed to hundreds or thousands of ads daily.  They have adblock installed in their brain today, and it's called banner blindness. 

Only the weirdest the most provoking experiences can hook them on a deep level so that they will recreate this experience later! Virtual and augmented reality technology give people such experience creating real memory slots inside human memory. They hook clients making them want to share this experience with friends and relatives. Tell about it on their social media pages. That is how Pepsi got millions of views online:






 Modern customers who spend billions of dollars buying online ask for more, of course. They are sure they deserve more information and more proofs before they click “Add to the cart.” Augmented reality technology will give them this possibility at last. Do you have a cellphone or a tablet? TRY BEFORE YOU BUY any piece of furniture, electronics or even jewelry!

That is how try before you buy became a necessity rather than a perk for online stores. Thus, ALLO, one big electronics retailers created an actual virtual store with a cozy sophisticated environment to let their customers see home appliances before buying them.

A fridge under palms- isn't it weird? But how creative!


Brands selling online are in over their heads to impress customers with the unique opportunity to try products before spending money. 




Still doubt that people need weird things? One of the biggest tech conferences has  Sophia the Robot among speakers. Millions of adult and sober people swap faces and share photos on Instagram.  Twitter account with the facts about carrots has 217 K followers. Shall I go on?  A video game was mentioned 35 times in divorce cases in Britain. 

Weird is the new creative.  To be noticed, to make the content go viral, to generate real buzz around its name today a brand needs to be insanely creative and, let’s be honest, a bit weird.

When a brand wants to stand out from the crowd of competitors, it might try lots of old-school methods. But how can you reach a different destination going the same paths?  Virtual and augmented reality is a modern source of the most amazing and the most creative ideas in the world. After all, as Albert Einstein explained it  “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

06.07.2018, 12:13

Dang it, let's discuss !


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