From Landscapes to Viewscapes

Advertising and Content Creation in a Virtual Reality World

Will VR make the fight for advertising space more intense or more dispersed? Image courtesy: 9183 Images

Virtual Reality (VR) has taken immersive entertainment to the next level. From advertising pitches, product marketing, and gaming, the world is just getting its first taste of VR.

The technology is still in its early stages and it is a good time to identify what this platform means for advertisers and content creators.

Films and video games have historically been the most immersive and effective storytelling mediums for decades. With digital 3D, the level of immersion has increased significantly. Virtual Reality takes this one step further in what the industry terms ‘presence’.

For instance, Jump, Google’s professional VR video solution is capable of recording entire experiences of places, including corners and angles. Google’s official blog lists some of the ways technologies like these can be useful:

  • Best seats at a theatre or front rows at a concert;
  • Visiting the most beautiful places in the world;
  • Creating a time machine of sorts or museum information centres incorporating VR. These can narrate key historical events for future generations, allowing users to experience what it ‘felt’ like to ‘actually be there’.

All this from the comfort of your homes.

VR marks a disruptive change for content creators and marketers for the consumers of VR content are not just ‘viewers’ but ‘active participants’.

The industry does seem cognisant of this evolution. BMW created a 360-degree car race, The School of Rock musical created a VR music video and AT&T created a VR car crash to hammer down the message of phone safety while driving. Over the last year, 360-degree videos have increased manifolds.

Jessica Brillhart, Google’s VR filmmaker, points out how the story is now everywhere rather than on a screen. Essentially, content creators will now have to populate entire worlds than narrate a story frame-by-frame. With active participation, the messages imparted via VR will be far more impactful than traditional storytelling mediums.

This could mean a significant increase in demand for screenwriting. The frames on a 360-degree screen would require greater detail, depth, and information, which would eventually rest on the shoulders of good screenwriters.

As experts indicate, the medium of VR cannot host just a couple of ‘highly immersive’ moments and fill the rest with fluff, but will have to overcome the challenge of keeping participants hooked until the end. The fusion of literature and visual entertainment will increase significantly.

Tailor-making experiences per user feedback, while still a distant aspiration, is a plausible scenario.

The ubiquity of smartphones and laptops signifies that the reach of the VR medium will be very high. Online shopping portals already use artificial intelligence to provide personalised recommendations to every user and with VR, this is going to be a different game altogether.

With a deeper connection to the world, marketers will not just have to compete for hoardings, banners, and advertising space, but will have to tailor-make compelling experiences for participants to take decisions.

Objects like Google Glass, VR Headsets will become the platforms upon which advertisers will have to make their pitches. Advertisers will be compelled to immerse participants in such a way that they are transported to a ‘place’ or can ‘feel’ a potential item of purchase.

Transitioning from landscapes to viewscapes

With VR, advertising will no longer just be a ‘landscape’ on which to capitalise or dominate, but a ‘viewscape’ on which the possibilities for advertising will vary per individual.

Virtual reality is no longer the stuff of science fiction. It still suffers from the issue of bulky headsets which will need to be addressed soon.

But there is no denying the fact that VR will be the stepping stone upon which our interaction with the virtual and real world will transform, paving the way to augmented reality.