After the big bang surrounding the launch of Google Glass, its little brother Google Cardboard was sent out into the world with little more than a whisper. However, in contrast to the muted reception of its older sibling, the Cardboard VR headset has been greeted with the kind of enthusiasm usually only reserved for red-carpet celebrities.
That applause was echoed at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year where it won the Grand Prix in mobile: a category at the centre of attention as the core of future through-the-line marketing. This is all the more interesting because Google Cardboard is not actually a mobile campaign. It is an enabler: but one without which many of the other category winners could not have achieved their own success.
Google Glass went for the upper end of the market and doesn’t ‘exclusive’ usually mean ‘excluded’? Never a good thing for a creative agency or a business aiming for wide appeal.
It is the affordability of Cardboard, with its unpretentious yet stylish good looks overlaying the high-tech insides, that makes designing VR apps for it so appealing. Its accessibility makes it an irresistible plaything for the masses, giving brands an unparalleled opportunity to engage consumers in an immersive experience. Add to that the ever-growing number of free apps that turn your smart-phone into anything from a taxi taking you around San Francisco to an extreme roller coaster giving you the ride of your life. We think that designing new VR experiences will be positively mainstream by the end of the year.
Creative agencies are already developing exciting content for the VR experience geared to innovative products such as Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift – the eagerly awaited product of Kickstarter due to hit the streets in Q1 2016 – with increasing investment in 360 degree filming and editing software.
What does this mean for the future?
Take a look at these 5 ground-breaking projects from some of the creative agencies and brands at the forefront of designing for VR.
1 – As far back as November of last year Volvo with its partners, agency R/GA and VFX-Studio Framestore, was the first company to use VR to launch a campaign with its Cardboard app as the centrepiece. Users can download the app from the Volvo website and experience a virtual test drive from the office chair. Now Hyundai have taken the driving experience a step further with Hyundai VR+, a VR app based on the World Rally Championship (WRC) released last week.
2 – What tennis aficionado hasn’t dreamed of a bird’s-eye view of that grassy shrine to the (other) beautiful game, Wimbledon? On the opening Monday of the championships, Stella Artois launched a Google Cardboard virtual-reality app that allowed consumers to experience Wimbledon’s courts from the perspective of its famous resident pigeon-scarer, Rufus the Hawk. Mother London created the film and creative concept, while Momentum Worldwide ran the experiential campaign, which included setting up a VR experience booth at London’s Waterloo station.
3 – Can VR really help you to sell sneakers? Well, that’s a resounding ‘Yes’ if you can get to walk a mile in Converse Chuck Taylors as worn by some of the most famous names around. The app, created with the help of creative agency Anomaly, provides a 360° panorama of celebrities and ordinary skateboarders or the guy-next-door in his or her surroundings and includes a personal narration.
4 – Earlier this year cinematic virtual reality (VR) company Jaunt worked with outdoor equipment group The North Face to create a brand new 360 degree live-action experience – The North Face: Climb. It consists of two experiences that take viewers to the Yosemite National Park in California and Moab, Utah, each focusing on two of The North Face’s athletes team: Cedar Wright and Sam Elias.
5 – A new 360 degree video published this week (July 13th) by Dubai360 is a time-lapse of Dubai Marina shot by over the course of 24 hours for an immersive VR view of the city from the top of the Princess Tower, a 1,358 foot tall residential skyscraper.
So, from racing circuits to base jumping and cityscape explorations, new apps for Google Cardboard are being launched daily.
Here in the Cohaesus office we love new playthings so we are just as excited as everyone else about becoming fully immersed in the story.
If you want to know more about our involvement in creating some of the most innovative virtual reality experiences for this bright new platform, get in touch with Matt Meckes.