Who’s Doing it Well? Advertising Using VR

As leading advertisers and agencies of the world pontificate about future tech and trends, only a handful have gone "all in" with concerted campaigns. Virtual Reality advertising tops the list of these aspirational mediums. Rapid consumer adoption, improvements to VR technology, as well as an escalating battle of acquisitions, keeps the goal posts shifting. Still, some advertisers are breaking real ground and winning hearts and wallets in the process. So whether you want a be a busy bee flying through a Mexican field, or a shopper walking through a department store in another continent, here's some of the pioneering advertisers who are seeing real success from early adoption of VR advertising.

Advertiser: MYER / EBAY


Project name


ebay Virtual Reality Departmental Store


Iconic Australian retailer & Australia’s largest marketplace, Myer & Ebay have joined forces to provide a glimpse into the future of shopping by creating the world’s first Virtual Reality (VR) Department Store. Throughout the VR experience, Australian customers can browse more than 12,500 Myer products. Each product can be selected and added to cart using eBay Sight Search™. As we move from keyword text, to voice search, and now sight search, advertisers are presented with more input signals to harness at that perfect moment in the consumer journey.

When you enter the virtual store, several categories of retail items are shown: women's clothing, electronics and others. Users select areas of interest, and the experience is built around the choices. As you move through, selecting or rejecting items, the store's algorithm should further adapt to what it thinks users might like. 

If you want to take a closer look at a watch or clothes, 100s of the top products are viewable in 3D, with the remaining 12,500 in 2D. Instead of having hand controllers, users select items using only sight! The company has created "eBay Sight Search," which allows items to be chosen by holding your gaze on them for a number of seconds. 

Items can be added to the basket in the same fashion, but to check out, users have to take off the headset and return to the eBay app to put through the payment. 


SO What VR Technology is required by the consumer to engage in the campaign?


Consumers have to download the eBay VR Department Store app on their smart phone, and insert their phone into the shopticals with the app open, to start their virtual shopping experience.


How effective was it?

The Virtual Reality Department Store connects to the existing eBay.com.au API, which allows Myer’s product range, pricing and stock information to be updated in real time, a first for virtual reality experiences globally.


How could it improve with FURTHER adoption of VR?

Leaving the app to checkout is a particularly awkward feature, which when improved will enable a much better experience. At the moment, you can select, add it your cart, and then you're thrown to the eBay app to check out. Maybe a triple blink means "buy"!


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Advertiser: Boursin Sensorium


Project name

Boursin Sensorium Virtual Reality Experience

Boursin VR


Sometime ago, Boursin Sensorium, a popular French cheese brand realised that while the brand was an authority in the market, its engagement rate with their audience was pretty low.

Boursin wanted to target its everyday young audience to create a kind of experience that would tell them about the ecstasy of indulging in Boursin’s cheese. So, in the year 2015, the brand collaborated with "BEcause Brand Experience" and "Hammerhead" to launch a unique marketing campaign.

The objective of this campaign was to trigger sensory engagement. For this, the brand adopted the method of the experiential road show under which it incorporated flavor sampling with virtual reality.


SO What VR Technology is required by the consumer to engage in the campaign?

With the use of Oculus Rift and CGI Animation, the consumers were taken inside a virtual fridge to help them immerse in the taste of each ingredient. Each move was enhanced by a corresponding sound effect.

Hammerhead used Unreal Engine 4 to make the virtual fridge. It also played around with the scale of objects giving them lifelike size.

The same technology was used to make the 360-degree video that was then made available to viewers who could watch the experience on any browser, smartphone, Google Cardboard or similar VR headset.


How effective was it?

The participants of the campaign were sent personalized videos of their reactions to the VR experience. These six-second clips being small were widely shared across social media with the hashtag #BoursinSensorium.

A special photo booth was set up where people clicked their pics with the virtual fridge and its contents. The result was that the brand reached around 5 million people and its video got over 80K+ video views. For its innovative idea, the campaign garnered a lot of attention and also won several awards.


How could it improve with FURTHER adoption of VR?

Although it was brand’s first attempt at incorporating Virtual Reality in its flavor sampling, the campaign did really well.

For the next time around, the brand can always use high-resolution graphics to enhance the individual’s experience because real life images are more impactful.

The aim of the brand was to set up an “experiential” road show. If we carefully observe the ad, there is a bit of disconnection between the slice’s movement and its corresponding sound. Disconnection takes away the illusion of the reality VR attempts to create. To a user who was experiencing it all in store, the disconnection is avoidable but to a viewer sitting at home, it’s quite noticeable.


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Advertiser:THE VERGE/Michelle Obama


Project name

Michelle Obama 360

Michelle Obama is the "cool” First lady. What sets her apart is her ability to connect with people both offline and online. This is one of the reasons why the Obama's are popular; they are accessible and welcoming.

While everyone knows that the First Lady is fluent with social media platforms, she wanted to expand her connection and tell people what it is that makes her successful. She collaborated with The Verge and came up with the Michelle Obama 360-degree interview campaign.

The objective of the campaign was to show how the First Lady uses social media platforms to promote her causes. 

It was one of the very first VR experiences using an Info-graphic.


SO What VR Technology is required by the consumer to engage in the campaign?


The main motive was to educate people about the important social causes the First lady had been working on and how people can engage and participate in them.

The campaign required compelling storytelling. The after effects animation helped give context to Michelle's words. As Michelle herself said, for the content to be engaging, it should be "authentic". The videos within the info-graphic substantiated every thing she was saying.


How effective was it?

Michelle's words reached millions of people - it had great media coverage, boosting reach. 

How could it improve with FURTHER adoption of VR?

This campaign is one of the best VR campaigns seen so far as it also used info-graphics for better understanding of stats. It struck a chord both in terms of presentation and content.

But what it lacked was the sensory engagement. A VR campaign stands out because of its ability to trigger instant reaction from the viewer. While Michelle Obama 360 degree interview campaign attempted to "educate" people, it did not trigger a reaction of being overwhelmed by the process.  

A possible improvement could be to also show the videos on full screen using high resolution images and sound. Similar to concert videos, Obama's powerful words would have created a sense in the viewers that they are actually present. 

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Advertiser name : Patron/FirstBorn


Project name

The Art of Patron

the art of patron


“The Art of Patron”  - The VR video is the collaborative effort between Patron and creative agency Firstborn. The Art of Patron turns the audience into a busy flying bee! The video was intended to take you on a virtual tour to Patrons Hacienda Headquarter in Mexico and sunny tequila field, all through a bee’s field of view!

It was shot using a specialized, custom-built drone which was fitted with seven Go-pros and operated by a licensed drone pilot due to the complicated nature of the shoot.

The live-action shoot captures the tour in and around the Hacienda distillery. The team designed a way for everyone to view what was being shot in real time, and preview it in an approximated VR space before moving on to the next set up. Binaural (3D) audio was also recorded throughout the shoot so that the collected sound from all directions would ensure an experience natural to human hearing.


SO What VR Technology is required by the consumer to engage in the campaign?

Use of VR headsets is required. For those at home, Firstborn created a custom interactive player that can be controlled via computer mouse or an iPad’s gyroscope.


How effective was it?

Reach was achieved for the bartenders, mixologists, servers, key influencers and buyers - the folks who are buying the end product that ultimately gets into consumers’ hands. The experience also earned over 145M impressions. 


How could it improve with FURTHER adoption of VR?

This was shot in 4k. When anyone looks at it on a 4k monitor and then runs it through Oculus it looks grainy. The video itself is higher resolution than most of the hardware can handle. Thankfully with Oculus’ recent release, the technology supports higher resolution video. 


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