At this stage in the game, if you work in advertising you've probably pitched a VR idea by now. We're at an interesting time in the development of the technology - not quite there yet in terms of being widely available and adopted as consumer tech, and yet we make advances every year; advances in the quality and affordability - as you'd hope for. The greatest advance in my mind are things like the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Google Cardboard. Pop in a modern smartphone and you're good to go - sure, it's relatively basic compared to the stuff Valve, Sony and Facebook are working on, but it's there, and its' relatively easy to get your hands on without dropping $5,000 or pairing with a high-end computer.
To unveil their newest Honda Civic on March 11, 2016, at Royal Paragon Hall at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon center, DDBO partnered with AdsOptimal for a VR experience. And how exactly did it work?
AdsOptimal told us:
After receiving Google Cardboard, participants simply used their Android or iOS phones to scan the QR code on the Google Cardboard packing box. The barcode directly links consumers to Honda’s 360º virtual reality content without installing any other applications or visiting any other mobile sites.
Interesting stuff - they've considered bottlenecks in the process and tried to reduce those barriers to entry - making it as simple as possible. Particularly noteworthy that participants used their own phones as VR screens; presumably those not sporting a new Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy were still able to take part. No dice if you're rocking a Nokia 3210.
AdsOptimal explained to Adland:
We've developed a cutting-edge 360º virtual reality platform which is ultra-easy to use on mobile and is ideal for large-scale consumer marketing events. During the event, Honda provided Google Cardboard VR viewing headsets to more than 1,000 participants, allowing this community of car enthusiasts to experience Honda’s virtual reality content on the AdsOptimal platform together at the same time.
Is this the future of VR - a QR code and tech we carry in our pockets? I hope not, but it's got mass appeal, and that's what we need right now. This is a long long way from the most innovative use of VR I've seen (or pitched), but it's good to see basic questions of making VR affordable and available for those "large-scale" events.
Experience Honda Civic 360º virtual reality racing at Thailand’s Chang International Circuit motorway from your smart devices by visiting: http://www.adsoptimal.com/civic360racing/