Virtual Reality: Potentially Creepy or Just Plain Cool?

“Potential for Creepiness”…

I found it funny that this statement was used in a Mashable article, but I agree – there is much potential for creepiness if Facebook were to successfully turn moment-sharing into experience-sharing through virtual reality…all while noting our every move. However, we don’t appear to have anything to worry about for a while as long as the cost remains so high.

Small and mid-sized companies can let larger corporations take the costly reins in spearheading the ad industry’s presence in virtual reality until costs are to a point where consumers can experience VR in their own home. “Everyone who does something [in VR] now, for the next five years, is going to be inventing something.” (Aaron Clinger) Larger companies are more likely able to afford the high costs of VR right now, in turn for being coined as one of the first to adapt their marketing to “create high levels of user motivations and info that is instantly actionable.” (Wierzbicki & Margolf)

Mark Zuckerberg’s recent purchase of Oculus could essentially allow Facebook to become the next Google AdWords. The use of social media profile information gathered from VR users will provide marketers with a closer look into the demographics and recent interests of their audience, with the ability to personalize the message to the user.

coke_larger

Topshop, Coke, and Nissan, to name a few, have all created the ultimate user experience by allowing their customers an opportunity to see something they would not normally have the chance to see. Topshop’s customers were able to “sit” next to A-listers and experience Topshop’s London Fashion Week at Turbine Hall, while Coke allowed customers the chance to experience what it would be like to stand on the playing field at the World Cup. In these instances, the “potential for creepiness” in VR is suddenly replaced with the potential for excitement and positive associations with the brand.

Brand-sponsored opportunities like these solidify the statement that “…experiencing is believing.” But, believing in what? The sponsoring brand, or the experience they provide? In their case, hopefully both.

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