McDonald’s First 360-Degree Video Features Angry Birds

What Happened
McDonald’s teamed up with Rovio, maker of the popular Angry Birds games, and Sony for a joint VR initiative to promote both the quick service restaurant chain and the newly released Angry Birds movie. Working with DDB Chicago, McDonald’s created a minute-long, 360-degree video that features Angry Birds characters flying around and interacting with customers in a virtual McDonald’s store. Previously, McDonald’s ventured into VR with an installation at SXSW earlier this year that invited people to virtually paint a Happy Meal box.

What Brands Need To Do
By leveraging the popularity of the Angry Birds franchise, McDonald’s found a clever angle to drum up interest for its first 360-degree video, which has racked up over 4.6 million views on YouTube so far. As more and more brands start to create branded VR content, consumers are bound to become desensitized to this type of content soon. Therefore, it is important to find an interesting hook for your VR and 360-degree video content that appeals to your target audience.

The Lab currently has three VR headsets—a HTC Vive and two Samsung Gear—ready for demo. Virtual reality is something that has to be experienced to be understood. So come by the Lab and get a VR demo to see just how engaging it can be, and understand why consumers would embrace VR content.


Source: AdWeek

Header image courtesy of McDonald’s YouTube video

Adobe Debuts New Tool To Put Ads And Product Placement In Virtual Reality

What Happened
Adobe is entering the world of virtual reality with new Adobe Primetime products. The company unveiled Virtual Cinema, a feature that will allow Primetime clients to develop customizable virtual environments for users to view traditional video content in. It aims to transport viewers into a cinema, a home theater, or a branded atmosphere, where product placement will also be possible.

Moreover, Adobe is adding a tool in Primetime that produces immersive videos that viewers can enjoy in 360 or 180 degrees with a Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard headset. Adobe is also enabling pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads for both 360 viewing and virtual cinema.

What Brands Need To Do
By introducing these tools, Adobe is opening the door for brand marketers to enter the virtual reality space. With the quickening pace of VR development and the increasing number of platforms supporting immersive video content, virtual reality is well-positioned to capture mainstream consumer attention soon. As the audience size for VR content continues to grow, brands need to be proactive in utilizing the new tools available to reach consumers in an engaging and immersive way.

Source: AdWeek

Honda Partners With Gannett For Its First VR Content

What Happened
Honda is teaming up with media company Gannett to create and distribute its first virtual reality video content. Designed to let viewers experience the thrill of driving a Honda-powered, Dallara race car, the VR experience will be released on May 29 on both Honda’s own digital properties, as well as some major publisher sites in Gannett’s network, including USA Today and 92 local newspaper sites. The branded experience will also be available via USA Today’s VR Stories app.

What Brands Need To Do
While it’s not the first brand to develop a branded VR experience to engage with consumers, Honda’s initiative is notable for its deep collaboration with a major publisher to distribute its content. Previously, brands experimenting with VR content have mostly reserved their work for social channels or special events activations. As mainstream consumers become familiarized with VR and 360-degree content, thanks to the rapid development in both VR software and hardware, we expect more brands to start working closely with media partners to develop and distribute VR content.


Source: DIgiday

VR Is Becoming More Interactive And Social

What Happened
Oculus rolled out social features and games to the Samsung Gear VR on Thursday, marking a great advance in VR development. Users can now create a profile and then easily search for friends by their Oculus username. Support for new multiplayer VR games such as Social Trivia and Herobound are being added to the platform as well, allowing users to play alongside each other in virtual reality. Moreover, Oculus will also be adding 360 video content from Facebook to its video section next week, allowing users to pull in the spherical videos from their News Feed to watch in Gear VR.

What Brands Need To Do
As virtual reality technologies continue to grow in capabilities, brands are also starting to experiment with some more sophisticated forms of VR content. One recent example in this regard is insurance firm Liberty Mutual, who launched its first VR campaign this week on Facebook. Created with Havas and Facebook’s Creative Shop, the brand’s VR spot is designed to promote Liberty Mutual’s 24/7 roadside assistance service through a choose-your-own-adventure style interactive experience. As Facebook makes a strong push for VR and 360-degree videos, brands would be smart to seize the opportunity and work closely with content creators to craft interactive VR experiences to intrigue and engage consumers.


Source: VentureBeat & AdWeek

Header image courtesy of Oculus Blog

Coca-Cola And McDonald’s Test Makeshift VR Viewers

What Happened
Two of the most well-known brands on the planet have coincidently started to offer makeshift virtual reality viewers made from their product packaging this week. Coca-Cola shared in a YouTube video how to make VR viewers out of its cardboard boxes in three different ways. And McDonald’s launched a promotion in Sweden where it invites kids to turn Happy Meal boxes into VR viewers. Dubbed Happy Goggles, some 3,500 of those boxes will be available at 14 McDonald’s stores over the next two weekends. The fast-food chain also created a ski-themed VR game, “Slope Stars,” for use with the goggles.

What Brands Need To Do
Still a nascent medium, virtual reality holds great potential in helping brands engage consumers with immersive experiences. But the high price and limited availability of VR headsets hinder mass adoption. Both brands took inspiration from Google’s low-cost VR viewer Cardboard and made their own branded versions via innovative packaging design. For brands seeking to stay ahead of the digital curve, these two examples make a good case for experimenting with VR devices and content to provide customers with added value.


Sources: Geek & AdWeek

Mobile World Congress 2016: Virtual Reality Becomes A Step Closer To Reality

What Happened
On the first day of the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, several brands eagerly shared news about their latest development in virtual reality.

The HTC Vive, which made its big debut at MWC last year, returns with an official $799 price tag,a preorder date of February 29th, and an early April ship date. HTC also announced that its Vive headset will integrate some phone functions on both iOS and Android to allow users to answer calls, check text messages, and view calendar reminders without removing the headset. Similarly, LG is also making its entry into the burgeoning VR market with a pair of new products: the lightweight and compact LG 360 VR headset and the LG 360 CAM for capturing spherical photos and video. LG partnered with Google for easy sharing of videos to YouTube 360 and photos can even be uploaded right to Google Street View.

Samsung also returned to Barcelona with an aggressive push for its Gear VR headsets. The company made the consumer version of Gear VR available for $99.99 in November last year, and now it is giving out the VR headset for free with the purchase of its new Galaxy 7 phone for a limited time period. Samsung also brought in Mark Zuckerberg for its press event to talk up Facebook’s partnership with Samsung to support 360-degree videos on Facebook and working to make the VR experience more social. Moreover, Samsung also unveiled the Gear 360 camera that is just smaller than a baseball and aims to make shooting and sharing 360-degree photos and videos easier.

What Brands Need To Do
In line with what we saw at CES earlier this year, the news from MWC shows that virtual reality is quickly gaining momentum as a nascent medium, as more and more companies start developing affordable, consumer-facing VR headsets, as well as the tools for capturing, creating, and sharing 360-degree content. While virtual reality technologies may still be a few years away from mass adoption, as we predicted in the 2020 section in our Outlook 2016, companies like Samsung and Facebook are laying the groundwork for that to happen. For brands, this means that it is time to start exploring what VR technologies have to offer and consider developing branded VR content to excite and engage consumers with immersive experiences.


Header image courtesy of

Fox Sports Inks 5-Year Virtual Reality Content Deal With NextVR

What Happened
More sports content will soon be available in virtual reality, thanks to a new multi-year content deal that Fox Sports struck with NextVR, a leading VR content platform. Under the 5-year deal, Fox Sports will make a range of top sporting events for which it holds broadcast rights, such as this Sunday’s Daytona 500 NASCAR event, available for immersive viewing through NextVR. Owners of Samsung Gear VR headsets can watch VR live streams for free via the NextVR app. Previously, Fox Sports has worked with NextVR to test live VR broadcasts at the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race and the U.S. Open Golf Championship event last year.

What Brands Need To Do
With the quickening pace of VR content development and the increasing number of platforms supporting VR content, virtual reality is fast becoming the next frontier for content creators and media owners to explore. As the audience size for VR content continues to grow, it is important for brands to follow the good examples set by early adopters like Marriott Hotels and JCPenney, and start developing branded VR content in order to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in immersive experiences.


Source: TechCrunch

Header image courtesy of NextVR

What Marketers Can Learn From VR Developments At Sundance

What Happened
Starting last year, the Sundance Film Festival has attracted and showcased the best and newest in virtual reality (VR) content with its New Frontier show. This year, the Utah-based festival featured over 30 VR-related content and experiences, and together they point to the way that content creators are exploring the possibilities of storytelling in virtual reality.

For example, 6×9 offers an immersive experience of solitary confinement to spark debate on prison reform, while Kiya recreates the circumstances of a 911 call, leveraging the empathy-inducing power of VR experiences to shine a light on domestic abuse. On a lighter side, Oculus Story Studio previewed Dear Angelica, a dreamy experience created in virtual reality using Quill, a VR illustration tool developed by Oculus. It is not fully interactive as VR games are, but allows viewers to examine different parts of a scene and move between scenes at their own pace, hence creating a unique experience for each individual viewer.

What Brands Need To Do
Overall, the new VR content that appeared at Sundance this year signals the continued diversification and maturing of VR content development, making it less of a tech novelty and more of a nascent medium to experiment with. Besides, virtual reality content should also get a boost from the proliferation of 360-degree cameras we saw at this year’s CES while companies like Facebook and YouTube have started making a push for spherical videos.

For brands, this should come as a harbinger for the vast potential of branded VR content. Instead of just transporting traditional video content into VR, brands should work closely with content creators to tap into the immersive and empathic power of VR to craft unique narratives to engage consumers with.


Source: The Verge

Geico To Sponsor Puppy Bowl In Virtual Reality

What Happened
You can now watch Animal Planet’s annual canine football event in virtual reality, thanks to Geico’s sponsorship. The 360-degree experience will be available through Discovery VR apps, Samsung Milk VR, and Animal Planet’s YouTube page. As part of the sponsorship, viewers will also be treated to an interactive tour of Geico Stadium, where the Puppy Bowl will be hosted.

What Brands Need To Do
As VR technology continues to garner interest and inch closer to the consumer market, brands seeking to engage consumers with immersive experiences should start experimenting with VR content today. It can be done either through sponsorship like Geico did here, or by partnering with VR content creators to develop their own branded VR content, as Marriott Hotel, Birchbox, and JCPenney have done recently.


Source: AdAge

Best Of The Lab 2015: Get Ready To Step Into Virtual Reality

Welcome to the Lab’s year-end review, looking back at some of our best and most popular posts from 2015.

In the past year, virtual reality technology has garnered great momentum in its development, and we have seen a number of brands and media owners, including Marriott Hotels, Birchbox, JCPenney, and The New York Times, experiment with VR content to entertain and connect with their audiences. Throughout 2015, the Lab team has always kept our finger on the pulse of VR development. In September, we attended the Oculus Connect 2 event to learn more about VR’s imminent future, and we organized a VR-themed Fast Forward event for our fellow agencies and industry insiders earlier this month. With VR technology poised to break into the consumer market in the next few years, is your brand getting ready to engage consumers with immersive VR experiences?

Fast Forward: What You Need To Know From Oculus Connect 2 Event
Get Ready For Consumer VR: Oculus Headset To Ship In Early 2016
InStyle Magazine To Launch A VR-Enhanced Issue