A growing consumer market has led Asia-Pacific to be a dynamic region in terms of providing virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. The most recent example is that of Etihad Airways, whose latest advertising campaign includes a 360-degree virtual reality film, titled Reimagine.
Another recent instance of a mass scale virtual reality activity in India is that of Tata Tiago’s advertisement in a national daily. The activity was conducted in April this year, where the newspaper carried a DIY virtual reality headset in select editions. The initiative, part of Tiago’s #Fantastico campaign, gave consumers a chance to sample the brand’s virtual reality content, albeit at a very basic level. Deloitte Global’s A Billion Dollar Niche TMT Predictions 2016 study looks at 2016 as a time when companies will experiment with virtual reality for sales and marketing purposes.
Shane O’Hare, SVP, marketing, Etihad Airways, sees the film as the brand’s ‘first big step’ towards creating remarkable ways for people to have a sensory experience. “Globally, the virtual reality market is expected to rise to $150 billion by 2020 with multiple levels of functionality across sectors like games, content, films, etc, and some yet to be discovered,” he adds. For the future, O’Hare sees India as one of the key markets for virtual reality.
Arnav Ghosh, managing director, Blippar India, says that while India is on its way towards effectively utilising augmented reality and virtual reality, there is much to be desired with respect to scalability. The ROI and costs could be far less in augmented reality and virtual reality with a lot more engagement and dwell time, maintains Ghosh.
“Augmented reality is already driving the fourth platform shift after mobile/social and e-commerce. The ability to engage with consumers and distribute relevant contextual content will be the key drivers for both, but the challenge remains on scale and reach,” he said.
Another example is of Renault India, which went the virtual showroom way to launch Renault KWID last year. The Renault virtual showroom was conceptualised to let consumers experience the Renault KWID from the comfort of their homes through a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Consumers had to enlist to attend a virtual session to understand the product. At the end of the session, the consumer could also ask questions and get them answered in real time.
Sumit Sawhney, country CEO and managing director, Renault India Operations, is positive about the scope of such executions in India. He says, “With the exponential growth of smartphones and internet use, India is a potential market for such initiatives. With a sound strategy and accurate targeting, these virtual experiences can do wonders for brands in India as well.”
In BrandWagon this Tuesday: Of Brands And The Virtual World