Dare's virtual-reality experiments

Test-driving a car, exploring an exotic beach... virtual reality makes all things possible. It's a big opportunity for brands, Sean Thompson writes.

Dare's virtual-reality experiments

"We’re never going to be totally immersive as long as we’re looking at a square. You’ve got to be inside the experience." Steven Spielberg’s words on the future of cinema are timely, and issues that impact the film industry are guaranteed to have a great effect on marketing.

Imagine test-driving a BMW, lounging on a beach in Bali or sampling the ambience of a Michelin-starred restaurant without leaving your living room. What you’re doing is experiencing a futuristic way to try before you buy, which bridges the gap between awareness and purchase. A great tool, especially if you’re about to spend an arm and a leg. It sounds like some crazy science fiction, but the technology is here and we’re working with it at Dare.

Virtual reality, though hard to come by, is impressive. We are playing with the technology to make it far more sensory, and the kit is getting cheaper, lighter and more intuitive to use.

The critical thing for brands is to define a role for VR that actually gives people a reason to spend time with the brand. We all remember the rush to Second Life, where the "brand spaces" were empty and soulless. As ever, you need to start with the brand story, not the technology. For example, sharing a Coke between someone in Mumbai and someone in Maida Vale using VR could make the brand narrative even more immersive.

Where is this going to end up? Well, with the addition of cinematic sound, 3D and the full immersion of the five senses, it’s something beyond lifelike. Perhaps this is the start of a whole new way of brand storytelling? Who knows, you may never want to leave.

Sean Thompson is the chief creative officer at Dare