Is Virtual Reality Good For My Business?

Is Virtual Reality Good For My Business?

Posted on May 24, 2016 by

What is Virtual Reality?

Answering the technical version of “what is virtual reality” is actually really simple. Virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst it is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions. Cool right?

Virtual reality is either the emperor’s new clothes or the most exciting area of media today.

Whatever your own belief, brands are getting to grips with VR, making use of emerging agency expertise in this area.

We explore brands testing out Virtual Reality, from automotive, food and drink, and retail.


McDonald’s has already used VR in a consumer-facing role, allowing its Happy Meal boxes to be transformed into cardboard headsets.

But now the burger giant is using VR as a powerful campaign medium – part of an experiential roadshow touring the UK and addressing challenges in farming and the food and drink sector (as part of the wider, Farm Forward campaign).

As well as being an exercise in PR, educating customers about McDonald’s’ farming practices in an effort to improve brand perception, the roadshow is also a tool to recruit more people into the industry.

To that end, the VR experience will showcase restaurants, factories and farms, allowing customers to walk around and get a feel for McDonald’s commitment to animal welfare, food quality and the environment.

Just in case you think this is starting to feel a bit boring for a big brand like McDonald’s, there is an accompanying media campaign and the VR experience will include games, such as tractor driving.

Conor McVeigh, director of a supply chain at McDonald’s UK, told Marketing Week that VR could be used to “scale up” transparency efforts and that VR is at a “tipping point” as realistic content can now be developed.

A strange publicity shot (here’s an actual image of the roadshow from the Sunday Post)

mcdonald's Virtual Reality


When a car company does VR, it’s a cool experience indeed. But buying a car is a much more involved process, so VR could really enhance the customer journey within the auto industry.

Volvo  gave potential customers a chance to virtually test drive its XC90 SUV in November 2014, experiencing the car from a driver’s perspective. The experience was optimised for Google Cardboard, but the brand made sure that it was more widely available, as well.

Like Happy Goggles, VolvoReality could be watched as a video on a regular smartphone – which it was; the teaser has 200,00 plus views on YouTube.


Don’t want to move? Why not watch Saks’ new 360-degree video.

It’s not the most impressive example but none the less, being slightly reminiscent of a dull second life, however, the experience is predominately a PR exercise. It supports Saks’ Secret Garden – a range of stunning window displays advertising beauty brands.

Virtual Reality is at the stage where any experimentation, even with short 360-degree video is bound to get attention, and indeed, the video below has been viewed many times in the weeks since release.


When you think of “cool,” JCPenney is most likely not the first (or second or third…) brand that comes to mind. But the retailer fought that image during the holidays by setting up Virtual Reality experiences at four malls around the country.

They promoted its VR offerings with geotargeted Facebook ads, hoping to draw more families and young people to the store. Once there, they put on an Oculus headset and went to the North Pole, where they were able to interact with reindeer, elves and snowmen. I want a go…

They did have a more sales style compared to others, participants were given coupons and gift cards upon returning from the North Pole.

What do you think of virtual reality? Are you looking at buying into it? Let us know your comments…

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