Opposable Games: 10 innovative ways companies are using virtual reality in marketing and beyond
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10 innovative ways companies are using virtual reality in marketing and beyond

Posted 2014-09-23 17:34:26 by Dan Page

In case you aren't aware just yet, we're pretty big on virtual reality here at Opposable Games, and while it's a technology that we know lends itself brilliantly to gaming, its uses are spreading way beyond that. Here, we take a look at some innovative uses across various sectors.

1. Taking hotel-goers on virtual “holidays”

The accommodation giant Marriott Hotels has taken virtual reality to the streets in an experiential marketing exercise that lets passers-by transport themselves to a range of locations around the world inside specially constructed pods outside its establishments.

To give this experience a level of immersion that goes beyond the visual, Marriott has added wind, heat and mist to stimulate users' other senses. It's a clever mix of real-world video and CG and is apparently very effective. Experiences are shareable using the hashtag #GetTeleported

2. Bringing architectural visualisation to the next level

There are a number of architectural visualisation companies out there taking advantage of VR, if you've got access to an Oculus Rift there's a demo up on Oculus Share right now from Viewport Studios.

Arch viz is a natural fit for the technology as it allows users to step into a space that doesn't yet exist, something companies have been trying to do for a matter of years. Modern and affordable VR tech achieves this goal in a way that was previously impossible.

Using VR to show off homes or commercial properties in their final design phase to potential investors is a fantastic use of the tech and will undoubtedly become the norm in the years to come. Think a little further though, and you begin to realise the potential of VR during the design process. Stepping into a building that's still being designed allows a perspective you couldn't previously had.

3. Creating incredibly immersive movie and television tie-ins

From the very off it was pretty obvious there'd be interest in virtual reality from film and television studios but the bigger questions revolve around just how they're going to use it. So far, the commitments we've seen publicly have largely been used by studios creating promotional experiences to take to conventions but going forwards we're expecting to see something way beyond tie-ins.

Warner Brothers created an experience to promote its movie Into the Storm that places people in a tunnel as they watch a tornado rip apart a town in front of them complete with 4D wind effects to enhance the experience.

Legendary Pictures created an experience that allowed people to experience being the pilot of a 250-foot Jaeger Combat Simulator at Comic-Con 2014.

Also at Comic-Con 2014 Fox created a scary experience to promote their show Sleepy Hollow.

At 2014's supercool convention SXSW HBO allowed attendees to ride the lift up the famous wall features in its incredibly popular fantasy show Game of Thrones.

Finally, to show you it's not just fantastical fiction that can benefit from VR experiences, NBC is currently touring an experience that puts you in the shoes of a coach on its hit show The Voice. This demo is available to download on the Oculus Share site and was created in collaboration with the incredible LA studio Kite & Lightning.

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4. Showing people around virtual car showrooms

Car shows are great but if you've only got a 3D model of the vehicle you're wanting to show off, there's only so much you can do. Several car companies have employed studios to help implement their models into virtual reality showrooms, allowing people to try out their new cars before they even exist.

5. Providing relaxing meditative experiences

The Oculus Rift can provide a tranquil place to be for folks on their own, with many recounting relaxing experiences simply floating around star systems in some of the many space sims already available for the device. Beyond this though, companies such as nDreams have been creating experiences for those that wish to relax and take in a beautiful beach surrounding and even go through guided meditation.


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6. Sending people off cliffs with product tie-ins

Red Bull is a company known for its forays into unusual marketing, so it came as no surprise to us when the company was one of the first to take a bunch of Oculus Rifts on the road and let people experience a VR version of its Cliff Diving event.

7. Taking people to the catwalk

The Topshop virtual reality experience, developed in conjunction with Inition, was a simple but effective way to bring the Rift to an industry you mightn't yet have associated with VR – fashion.

8. Demonstrating internet lag

In a very clever ad campaign, energy company Umeå Energi demonstrated just how irritating lag can be by attaching an Oculus Rift to people while they attempted to play ping pong. The front of the Rift had a camera attached to it that the players could see through but, and this is where the clever bit is, the video feed was a couple of seconds behind, making play just a wee bit difficult. They sell, of course, “one of the world’s fastest broadband connections”.

9. Changing perceptions of exactly what a magazine is

Tech mag Stuff Singapore has partnered with Oculus Rift to create a virtual reality magazine, details are currently pretty thin but it's a novel idea that might well be a glimpse at how we consume editorial a few years down the line.


10. Allowing fans to “train” with the England rugby team

O2 got together with the England Rugby Team to create a “virtual reality sports experience” called Weat the Rose. It's not the kind of thing that'll get you fit any time soon (though that'll be coming once we're all using Omnis), instead being a cleverly-created fanservice video that used 9 Go-Pros to put you in the shoes of an England player as they train on the pitch.


Oculus Rift Roundtable: Commercial Applications for Virtual Reality

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