Growing up, my family and I loved watching the Super Bowl. This had nothing to do with football. Our reasoning was two-fold: 1.Sandwiches 2. Commercials.
On the first point: Sandwiches are the perfect food. They are an ideal category; the possibilities that can lie between bread are as infinite as stars in the sky. On the second point: Super Bowl commercials are the most creative and experimental of the year. Whether creating sex symbols or announcing new technology, these works get as much coverage as the game itself– and often leave a deeper cultural impact. Yet, as I’ve gotten older, I have been less and less wowed by traditional ads.
Enter 360 Video / VR. Suddenly, we have the ability to not only watch an advertisement — we can inhabit it. The risk-taking spirit of marketing is making a comeback, and VR is at the helm. With the big game tomorrow, here are some 360 marketing MVP’s to make you cheer.
Company: VR Playhouse
This piece is a wonderful synergy between brand and content, as well as a primer in understanding your target audience. The usage of time-lapse gives movement to the video, and the music is hip — but not off-puttingly so. The stars of the film are sepia-filtered and styled like Instagram stars. They are young, hip millennials who are looking for a little eco-friendly adventure, and you are invited along for the ride.
360 Degree View of the Patrón Hacienda
Fly through the Patrón Hacienda as a tiny agave-loving bumble bee. As you soar over farmlands and inside machinery, this 3-minute adventure highlights the beauty of the tequila-making process. Made in 2015, the mixture of CGI and 360 video was ahead of its time — however, without question it stands up to more recent experiences. There is an ease to this piece — the production values are high, and the sound is exquisitely mixed. ¡Salud!
Proof that everyone really is happier in Sweden, in 2016 McDonald’s made a run of their iconic happy meal boxes that folded into VR headsets. The project, called “Happy Goggles,” was in celebration of the Swedish “Sportlov” recreational holiday. As such, the first game was an animated skiing-racing experience called “Se upp i backen,” which translates to “Watch out on the slopes.” Although the game of dodging obstacles and catching stars is simple, it is a perfect intro to VR for the Happy Meal demographic. (Fun fact: the piece also has the unique position of being the only VR experience ever endorsed by the Swedish alpine ski team!)
Company: Verve Search
Clocking in at an robust 44 minutes, text overlays inform you of your destination as you travel along the Norwegian Flåm railway. The sights of mountains, glaciers and rivers are beautiful to behold along the steep trek — but moments of gliding through dark tunnels like a sprightly troll were a personal favorite. A popular anecdote of the early days of film was that audiences would jump out of the way as a train seemed to come at them through the screen. It would have been difficult to explain to them a future when you in fact are the train, but here we are.
Company: ReelFX VR and GSD&M
Many hotel chains are dipping a toe into the 360 space, but Hilton made a good call hiring VR-industry pros for their first experience. The optimistic narration may be typical of hotel marketing, but the different camera angles (especially some expert drone work) and activities happening in all directions make this an ad that wouldn’t be possible in any medium but VR. The Hilton hotel chain may be almost 100 years old, but VR is still new enough that watching this makes you feel like you’ve already begun your adventure.