In today’s marketing environment, storytelling is at the centre of everything we do. A marketing campaign is about people, their daily struggles and how a product or service benefits their lives.

Storytelling is not a new concept, it has been around as long as the human race has. Yet the way these stories are told has evolved, from Viking sagas to Hollywood Blockbusters and now the medium of virtual reality.

Immersive Experience can lead to great story telling. When storytelling, the audience wants to be part of the experience. Take BT’s story of Adam and Jane: Millions of avid viewers voted and then tuned into an advert to see a fictional couple get married. Believe it or not, people actually wanted to the watch the advert because they had been involved with the story. Imagine if the viewer was actually part of the action, the characters interacted with them and they were part of the scene. All this is possible with virtual reality.
Building real presence of fictional characters. In 2014, Nicholas Pittom, recreated The Bus Stop Scene from beloved anime classic My Neighbour Totoro. Totoro has always been a loveable character, but the nearest he came to being real was a plush toy, using Virtual Reality, Totoro is suddenly real. Within the VR experience, you can even pick up an umbrella, hand it to Totoro, and watch as he recreates the most iconic scene from the film.

However, like any new medium, virtual reality has several new challenges to overcome.

Whilst it is possible, cuts are not suggested during a VR experience as they can get very intense and give you a headache, however without the use of cuts, developers and directors are having to find new and creative ways of controlling the pace of the action.

This includes techniques such as gaze cues, this means having something move across the screen that subtly encourages the viewer to look a different way. The use of gaze cues allows the viewer to control the pace of their experience subconsciously.

There are some fantastic opportunities in the world of Virtual Reality, both for consumer and commercial use. For experiential marketing this can include giving the user a taste of the full experience. Centre Parks for example gave commuters the chance to experience flying through the trees on a zip line whilst really they were simply waiting for a train!

In the games industry, most virtual reality games will follow an episodic structure. This allows users to the opportunity to come back to reality after each session and give themselves a break from the immersion.

Film & TV are saturated markets, with broadcasters demanding massive amounts of money to air to ever decreasing audience. VR on the other hand is growing at an immense rate, with many industry leaders coining 2015, the dawn of VR.

If you have been hearing about virtual reality, but have waiting for the time to come to get involved, the time is now. The talent is out there and developers are eager to work on exciting projects.

I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure. Virtual Reality will be a game changer.

A massive thank you to Nicholas Pittom at Fire Panda for inspiring this article.

The title image for this page was borrowed from: http://wordfromthewell.com/. They have a written a really good piece on VR & storytelling too. Well worth a look! http://wordfromthewell.com/2012/05/06/virtual-reality-goggles-part-2-the-power-of-storytelling/

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