Facebook has enlisted five top celebrities to feature in new video adverts to promote the Oculus Go standalone headset, which starts at $199 and doesn’t require a PC. The theme of the campaign is ‘See It In VR’, and represents Facebook’s first major traditional advertising campaign for VR.
Wiz Khalifa Virtually Attends His Own Concert [MelodyVR]
In Wiz Khalifa’s advert, the rapper uses MelodyVR to watch a 360° video of his own concert. MelodyVR is an app for Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR which lets users virtually attend music events such as concerts via immersive 360° video. Some performances are free, but others need to be purchased.
As well as Wiz, MelodyVR has featured famous artists such as The Chainsmokers, The Pixies, Imagine Dragons, Bebe Rehxa, Post Malone, The Who, and more.
Jonah Hill & Adam Levine Virtually Watch A Live NBA Game Together [Oculus Venues]
Actor Jonah Hill & Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine’s advert sees them virtually sitting courtside together to watch an NBA game. The app they’re using is Oculus Venues, which allows users to socially watch 180° “dome” streams of concerts, comedy nights, and sports events. Adam Levine and Jonah Hill met in Junior High and have been close friends ever since, so their humorous rapport in the video may not be entirely acted.
The NBA games are provided via a partnership with VR streaming company NextVR. Interestingly, the fact that we can see their virtual eyes likely means they’re using a preview of the new ‘immersive avatars’ update coming in future to Oculus Avatars.
Oculus Venues has been the subject of some community backlash due to the fact that it requires a Facebook account to use.
Awkwafina Watches ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ From A Hammock [Hulu VR]
Awkwafina’s advert is much shorter than the others, highlighting a more basic use case of the Oculus Go – a portable home cinema. The rapper and now actress sits comfortably in a hammock chair while watching The Handmaid’s Tale via Hulu VR. If you’re a subscriber, the app lets you watch the whole Hulu library of content on a huge virtual screen from anywhere, similar to the Netflix VR app.
Unlike Netflix however, Hulu’s VR app lets you watch socially with Oculus friends, but this wasn’t shown in this advert.
Leslie Jones Watches ‘The Shape of Water’ IN A BATHTUB [Oculus Video]
Finally we come to perhaps the strangest advert we’ve seen in a long time – Leslie Jones in a bathtub watching the Oscar winning film ‘The Shape of Water’. But it gets weirder- the award winning comedian reaches out to grab, and pretends to kiss, the sea creature from the film. Yup. The app used to rent films on the Go is Oculus Video – though this service was recently removed from the higher end Oculus Rift.
Of course, the obvious safety issues of using electronics strapped to your face in a bathtub shouldn’t be ignored. While Facebook did add a ‘Please do not attempt at home’, you have to wonder if this is a flaw in the entire concept of the advert – why show someone doing something so impractical and dangerous with your product?
Celebrity Marketing Dollars
The enlisting of celebrities of this caliber to sell Oculus Go seems to indicate that Facebook wants the Go to be a mass-market product. The clear focus on media/streaming apps also once again shows the device’s target use case is not gaming – that will be the job of Oculus Quest, the higher end $399 standalone launching in Spring.
At Oculus Connect 5, CTO John Carmack stated that Go sales had already exceeded his expectations. These new videos may signify that Facebook now has even higher ambitions for the headset.