This article is part of CMO.com’s March/April series about emerging technology. Click here for more.
Virtual reality (VR) represents a huge breakthrough in digital consumer engagement. The technology’s ability to immerse people in actual experiences that take them to another place and time promises to awe, entertain, and evoke pure emotion like nothing has before.
Already a ton of innovation is coming from brands, universities, and even celebrities, who are using VR to connect with consumers and tell their stories. Below, we take a look at five cool examples.
Back in January, legendary musician Elton John held a press conference with about 100 journalists to officially announce his retirement. Attendees were given a Samsung Gear headset with instructions on how to use it. Once in the experience, reporters were treated to highlights from some of John’s most famous moments in time. For example, one portion from 1975 showed the singer on stage at Dodger Stadium, a performance that most die-hard fans won’t ever forget.
Enjoy the entire six-minute experience:
The University of Oregon
Students accepted into the University of Oregon for the 2018/2019 fall semester received a small surprise in the mail along with their letters intended to seal the deal: The college sent out cardboard VR headsets, encouraging students to take a tour of the school, with the hope they would like what they saw and want to attend.
National Geographic made a big bet on VR back in 2017. That’s when it launched the National Geographic Virtual Reality Studio, which produces VR content that places viewers alongside Nat Geo explorers, photographers, and storytellers. Examples of programming include transporting users deep inside the stories covered in “Explorer,” simulating what it takes to build a home on the Red Planet in anticipation of the global television event “Mars,” and going on assignment with photographers and filmmakers such as Brian Skerry and Renan Ozturk.
In the following VR example, National Geographic shows viewers what it would be like to fly over the cliffs of Victoria Falls in Zambia, Africa.
Holoroom How To is Lowe’s virtual reality DIY skills-training “class,” which was first tested in three stores last spring. Equipped with HTC Vive headsets, customers were shown how to tile a shower in a fully-immersive environment.
In the fall, Lowe’s Innovation Labs introduced the next iteration, Holoroom How To: Red Vest. This VR class is geared at teaching employees the necessary skills to better serve customers.
Mastercard and Swarovski
Mastercard and Swarovski’s VR app lets users shop for Atelier Swarovski home décor. Consumers place their phones into a compatible VR headset to enter the experience: an exquisite home, tastefully decorated with the brand’s various home accessories. Consumers can browse the various pieces and learn the stories behind them, read through descriptions, view pricing, and, in some cases, watch videos about their craftsmanship.
Shoppers can also purchase via Masterpass, Mastercard’s digital payment service.