Is virtual reality marketing around the corner?

By Louis Eksteen


It seems as if not a week goes by without a billion dollar, seemingly groundbreaking purchase by Facebook. Instagram at $1b seemed a steep price to pay for a company not making any money itself. Then, recently, came the $19b pay cheque for WhatsApp, without the company earning any money itself.

Now Zuck has bought virtual reality company Oculus for $2b, without the company having produced a purchasable product yet.

But as outrageous as the latest Facebook purchase may sound, I’m calling an uplift in virtual reality marketing. Who knows how long it will take, but I agree with Zuckerberg that virtual reality (and therefore virtual reality marketing), can become commonplace in as little as five to ten years’ time.

Not so long ago many pooh-poohed the retro feel of 3D. But with Gravity’s awesome effects, if you did not see this movie in spectacular 3D, you really missed out.

By the way, Oculus is not alone in the new wave of virtual reality options. Sony recently announced its Project Morpheus PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset that will display images in full HD.

But what about virtual reality marketing? The “VR” technology got such a bad rap when it first appeared in the mainstream when Jaron Lanier coined the term in 1987, that it lost popularity before marketers got interested. But not any more.

The current most common way in which virtual reality marketing is done, is through augmented reality technology. Facebook probably also sees the marketing potential of virtual reality mainly in augmented reality at this time.

But maybe the first use of virtual reality marketing will only go as far as consumer research, as this video from Tesco shows (worth a look).

Facebook’s bold, unexpected step into a world of virtual reality will almost certainly include all manner of marketing opportunities in future. Ready, headsets on, let’s go!