Any time a new technology suddenly hits the mainstream, you can find a bevy of marketers suddenly asking each other “How can we use this to sell things?”
It’s happened in the past with the internet, augmented reality, geolocation, proximity technology, interactive installations, music recognition services, every new iteration of social media, and now—virtual reality.
Virtual reality is by no means a new technology (Lawnmower Man first ignited the public fascination with it in 1992 and Nintendo's Virtual Boy console launched in 1995), but with the upcoming release of the Oculus Rift and Playstation VR, the wider public will soon be getting their first taste of incredibly immersive personal experiences.
With publishers like the New York Times recognizing the validity of this interactive form, it’s time to prepare yourselves for an onslaught of advertisers looking to wedge their way closer to your eyeballs than they’ve ever been before.
Look for many missteps in the coming months as advertisers experiment with overstepping their boundaries in this arena. Some clients may benefit from some initial wow factors with their VR launches, but consumers will be quick to reject experiences that are big on style but lacking in substance. In the end, the experiences that are truly memorable, emotive, and can transcend the hype of the technology will be the ones that resonate with consumers.