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Michael Hay

Published on

June 6, 2016


Brands are getting behind VR in different ways.

Following on from our past three blog posts about Virtual Reality, this post will take a look at some tangible examples of how VR has been used with brands. There are, of course, different ways that the technology is being used.

We’ve identified three main ways brands are using VR, with examples from some major brands.

1. In-store Play Along

This is one of the easiest ways to get consumers to engage with your brand in virtual reality. At a store or event where they’re already engaged with the brand, hand them a VR headset and give them an experience they can’t get elsewhere.

For example…


Topshop Catwalk

One of the first in-store VR experiences, TopShop created a front-row runway experience in its flagship London store. Hundreds of fans attended the pop-up space, which provided great visibility, and the stunt won Best Hybrid/Best Virtual Event at the 2014 Event Tech Awards. Aside from the press generated from the event, it demonstrated that VR doesn’t have to be all about geeks.

Try Before You Fly with Thomas Cook

By slipping on a Samsung headset, visitors to Thomas Cook could take a Virtual Holiday. Customers could take a helicopter flight over Manhattan, visit the pyramids in Egypt, or walk along the OCBC Skyway in Singapore.

Converts can also download an app and get their holiday experience at home, extending the life of the campaign.

Try it for yourself:

Hiking the Trailscape

Unlike some other examples on this round up, participants in Merrell’s VR experience Trailscape, were encouraged to walk around. After strapping into newly-launched hiking boots and a VR headset participants took on a dangerous mountain hike, complete with rope walkways and shaky bridges. The 2015 experience was the first commercial example of “walk around” VR.

2. Turning consumers into VR converts

How do you convince people without a headset to view your VR experience? Give them something to view it on.

Happy Goggles by McDonald’s

McDonald’s in Sweden sold a limited number of “Happy Goggles”: a Happy Meal box that can be turned into a Google Cardboard-esque VR headset. The lenses are included, but the kids (or their parents) need to bring their own smartphone to access the games.

Because Cardboard VR sets are, well, cardboard, we can expect to see them embedded in all sorts of packaging before too long.

New York Times Virtual Reality App

More than a million print subscribers found a surprise with their copy of The New York Times. The publishing giant mailed out Google Cardboard to subscribers to announce its free VR mobile app. The free app can be accessed by anyone – not just subscribers – and features immersive mini documentaries. See for yourself:


Savannah College of Art and Design Orientation Pack

New students to SCAD received a cardboard-like VR headset with their acceptance letters. The students could take a tour of the faculty before joining the program – allowing them to become oriented with the campus, and get excited about the quality of work being produced.

Find out more:


3. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

With Google Cardboard costing as little as a cup of coffee and 360 video support on YouTube and Facebook, if you have a tech-savvy and engaged audience, it’s fair to assume that a number of your users will already own a VR headset – or be willing to make the small investment if you produce high-quality content.

That’s the bet made by the following companies.

The Discovery Channel in 360

Levering its existing fans, the Discovery Channel VR features exclusive clips from its shows  in 360.

As well as being available on the app, the videos are also featured on its YouTube channel. Plus, look out for partnerships with brands such as Toyota, sponsors of the series “Let’s Go Places: Austin.”


Test Drive a Volvo

The Volvo Reality app allows potential customers to get inside the new XC90. The app is the world’s first virtual reality test-drive, allowing users to (virtually) take the wheel.


The opportunities are definitely out there to use VR to allow customers to engage with a  brand. Companies that utilise this technology now can still be seen as early adopters and it can garner press attention, whereas a year from now it might become more mainstream and almost expected.

If you would like to leverage VR for your brand then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at LEWIS.

Do get in touch