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Women wearing virtual reality goggles Decoration

Virtual Insanity

Sean Rodman – VP, Creative Director

In the book (or movie if you prefer) Ready Player One, the protagonist, Wade, puts on a pair of virtual reality goggles and a sensory suit, steps onto an omnidirectional track pad, and he is instantly transformed into another person and transported to another world. That is the promise of VR. We’re a little way from a complete transformative experience, which is why the story is set several decades in the future, but what’s possible in the here and now with VR technology is pretty amazing stuff in its own right.

While the potential of VR has primarily been explored in the world of video gaming and, to a lesser extent, movies and television, it does have applications for marketing communications as well. Because VR can do what no other form of communication can – put a person into a fully immersive space.

So, what is this virtual reality everybody’s talking about?

In the simplest terms, virtual reality is a closed, computer-generated, three-dimensional environment. When fitted with a headset and sometimes a pair of sensory gloves, the user is able to interact with this environment in much the same way they interact with the real world. Just how enveloping can the experience be? Check out this man’s reaction to being gently “shoved” off the top of a virtual roller coaster.

Break out the cardboard.

Looks like some pretty promising technology, doesn’t it? And it is. But VR is not without its limitations. As a general rule you want to make it as easy and seamless as possible for your audience to encounter your advertising. Obviously, putting on a VR headset, or even having access to one, takes some effort. The good news is that cardboard headsets, which fit around virtually any smartphone, cost less than $2 a pop. But even if you give away headsets with your content, will your audience actually engage with that content? They will if you make it compelling enough, which leads us to our next topic.

In the heart of the action.

VR is a really exciting medium but it is just a medium, it’s not the message itself. Therefore, it’s imperative to create an experience for your audience that matters.

In the video below – best experienced with a smartphone and VR headset – we worked to put the viewer into the middle of the action at the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s Culinary Center in Wooster, Ohio. A trip to the Culinary Center is a unique experience that’s difficult to put into words, allowing visitors to observe the carving and preparation of various cuts of beef. By putting viewers virtually right into the heart of the Center and allowing them to turn their heads to experience various aspects of it, we’re able to replicate what it’s like to actually be there in a way that’s simply not possible with any other medium.

Along with augmented reality, virtual reality is a ripe creative frontier just waiting to be explored. In addition to the “wow” factor that comes with the newness of VR, it allows your target audience to experience your message in a way that’s deeply personal and immersive. In a world where people are increasingly wary of – and tired of – commercial messaging, VR presents a unique opportunity to deliver content in a way that’s both exciting and fresh.

To understand more about our VR capabilities and the opportunities they might lend to your brand, contact us:

John Logue
jlogue@hartinc.com
Director, Business Development
419.893.9600