About the StudyThe analysis, conducted by OmniVirt, looked at thirty companies that used either VR or AR in advertising in 2018 and 2019. Companies examined included production and entertainment companies, clothing companies, food and beverage producers, motor companies, retail outlets, and the US Army.
Authors didn’t separate AR and VR technology in the analysis but instead divided XR technology use cases into four groups. Those four groups were brand awareness, virtual try-ons, post-sale initiatives, and increasing foot traffic to a physical location.
Use Case: Brand Awareness
Under the banner of brand awareness, the authors included use cases of AR filters, narrative stories, and interactive VR games.
“Companies have been using VR and AR advertising as a way of increasing brand awareness and solidifying their brand reputation,” said the analysis.The authors specifically looked at the use of AR and VR by Sony, Micheal Kors, and the US Army. To promote the film Escape Room, Sony created VR escape room puzzles that users could use in their browser windows. Michael Kors allowed users to try on sunglasses using an AR filter on Facebook. Finally, the US Army uses VR to educate and recruit.
Use Case: Virtual Try-On
Virtual try-on cases are those which allow users to experience products or places through AR or VR before purchasing. While clothing companies can and do use this method, it is also where motor companies often shine.
Virtual Reality is expected to reach $34 billion by 2023 according to Markets and Markets and a combined total of $94 Billion including augmented reality by 2023.
“There are oftentimes certain sights or experiences that are impractical for every potential consumer to see and have,” said the analysis. “Companies have addressed this issue through VR and AR technology, allowing consumers to try on the brand’s products in an easy to access way.”Both Toyota and Textron Aviation, an aircraft manufacturer, used AR/VR to give potential buyers virtual access to their products in lieu of a physical test drive. Ford famously used VR en masse to introduce a new car at a recent auto show, and services like RelayCars let you research cars with AR and VR technology.
The technology’s prestige has fallen off so much among everyday Americans that when the most recent survey respondents are asked about VR’s leading brands, only 28% of them can name an industry leader without any hints or clues (17% less than in 2017) and only 37% show familiarity when brand names are suggested (23% less than in 2017)).
Use Case: Foot Traffic
Initiatives that promote foot traffic are those in-store XR experiences that attract visitors to physical locations.
“With the rise of e-commerce, physical stores and attractions have had an increasingly difficult time attracting foot traffic,” states the analysis. “Brands are increasingly using in-store immersive experiences to delight customers and attract them to brick and mortar postings.”Specifically, the analysis mentioned FootLocker’s AR Snapchat experience that made posters in stores come to life. The analysis also mentioned the use of AR and VR by sports teams, including the Arizona Rattlers and Dallas Mavericks.
Google Cardboard Was a Side Project. The Google Cardboard platform was developed by David Coz and Damien Henry. The two engineers developed the project as part of Google’s”innovation time off” program in which engineers are encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time working on projects that interest them. Thankfully, Google backed the project, and Google Cardboard is now one of the cornerstones of scalable virtual reality.
Use Case: Post-SalePost-sale initiatives include QR codes printed on the products, which, when scanned, launch various XR experiences. This method is particularly common among beverage retailers. The analysis uses Pepsi and Miller Lite as examples. Pepsi’s QR code unlocked various AR Instagram filters. On the other hand, scanning the logo on Miller Lite cans made an AR leprechaun pop out and perform tricks.
Transcending the Typical Advertising
The overall findings of the analysis are clear. AR and VR allow unique experiences in advertising that advertisers will continue to employ and consumers will continue to enjoy.
“These case studies show that this technology has been a tried and proven method of achieving and surpassing the level of traditional banner advertisement, and it will continue to do so,” the report concluded.