Advertising Week Europe

Advertising Week Europe 2017 Official Guide

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However tempting it is to max out on the visual power of VR, the storytelling aspect should never be sacrificed. "You need good, compelling narrative to hold them there for more than two minutes," Panetta says. "The story carries them throughout the journey and keeps them engaged." While VR offers vast scope for creativity in terms of content, Panetta also has tips on format and the medium's technical aspects. THINK ABOUT SOUND VR's visual strength goes without saying, but audio counts too. This means having both a professional level of sound design and a strong, natural voice for interviews and scripts. You want your message to be an event, so everything should flow and feel organic. Anything that sounds like a lecture or presentation will disrupt the flow. AVOID OVERLOAD Don't try to cram in too much information. A simple yet powerful story with well-chosen visuals will achieve your goal. USER COMFORT IS CRUCIAL Because the viewer feels like they are actu- ally in the story rather than just watching it, steer clear of anything that would be jarring in real life. Stopping-and-starting or bumpy movements, for example, can cause motion sickness, so maintaining consistent speed and flow of movement is essential. And the user shouldn't feel like they're float- ing in an abyss. Just as a sailor emerging from fog uses the horizon to orient himself, users need a focal point in the VR landscape to "ground themselves." Getting the right viewpoint is also key: unless there's a rea- son for the viewer to be looking up or down at an object, it's best to position the action at eye level. Whether transporting users to a world they've never been to, letting them be the star in their own dramatic scene or giving them an adventure they'd only dreamt of, VR can be a truly transformational tool for marketers who know how to use it wisely. As Foley says, "You're not the same person when you take the headset off as you were when you put it on." Virtual reality enables market- ers to take their audiences on a memorable journey with an immersive power never seen before. But companies have to be savvy about using the new technology to realise its awe- some potential. VR, whether accessed via game console, mobile or PC, allows users to explore and interact with hyperrealistic 3-D environ- ments while wearing nothing more than a headset. And the technology has already made a big impact for both huge and smaller brands. Disney's "Dreams of Dali" project, for example, allows people to see the world and Salvador Dali's works in a completely new way, offering an experience that would never be physically possible. While VR may be a breathtaking new me- dium, however, marketers should use it as more than a novelty. "It's not just about being in a beautiful place or showing great pictures," says Francesca Panetta, Executive Editor of Virtual Reality at the Guardian. "People will get bored with that after a few minutes. There needs to be a reason for you [as the user] to be there." Marketers need to hone in on elements that can't be conveyed through words and regular video alone—those "you had to be there" moments. That makes VR perfect for place-based subjects, says Panetta, cit- ing a Guardian story that let readers travel through the labyrinth of Victorian sewers beneath London. Brands should consider not just the journey they want their audience to take but how they should feel once they get there, says Adam Foley, Commercial Strategy Director at the Guardian. Brainstorm ways that VR can help consumers encounter an exciting adventure or an emotional moment involv- ing a product. It's like a mini-movie, Foley says, but users shouldn't be passively watching—the medium works best with things in the story they can "feel," hear and engage with. By appealing to several senses, marketers can make a more powerful and memorable impression on consumers. "You can tell them about Switzerland, but if they can't speed down the Alps, this is a way to make them feel like they are there," says Panetta. "You're not the same person when you take the headset off as you were when you put it on." AWE 2017 219

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