Advertising companies and virtual reality equipment manufacturers are failing their corporate clients by not providing successful virtual reality marketing tools where demanded, according to a panel of marketing consultants at the Virtual Reality 95 show in San Jose, California last month. Simply placing virtual reality equipment at a trade show is not the attraction it […]
Advertising companies and virtual reality equipment manufacturers are failing their corporate clients by not providing successful virtual reality marketing tools where demanded, according to a panel of marketing consultants at the Virtual Reality 95 show in San Jose, California last month. Simply placing virtual reality equipment at a trade show is not the attraction it used to be and marketeers have been lax in learning the new technology and how it can be used in promotions, the panel said. And it added that manufacturers were being less than honest with their claims of what virtual reality could achieve and should be aware that poor quality equipment will harm sales. The corporate community is extremely curious about virtual reality, Larry Zarin, a senior consultant at Minnesota-based marketing firm Horizon Entertainment, told the conference, and it is a shame on the industry for failing to convert that interest into customers. There are millions and millions and millions of dollars floating around in cyberspace if we would only listen, he said. Virtual reality equipment has been used to enhance product marketing since the beginning of the 1990s, but industry sources say it has been used for its ability to attract to the technology rather than actually providing a useful product branding. There was a time when nobody cared what virtual reality was actually doing for their product, Zarin said, adding that large companies such as Coca-Cola Co, Anheuser Busch and Nabisco have been keeping an arms distance from using the technology in marketing because it is not being used creatively.
The Real McCoy
We can’t use virtual reality any more in the way we used to in 1991, he said. Horizon is currently on the road with a virtual commercial for Anheuser Busch’s Cutty Sark rum in which people are taken on a journey made by Captain William McCoy, a rum runner who famously refused to water down his cargo when it hit port, giving rise to the term The Real McCoy. Randy Sprout, a technical advisor to Horizon, said many products were completely unsuitable for the campaigning market. To a large degree most of the stuff is made up of research and development prototypes and apologies. I can’t use that stuff. I can’t be working around the country and have it breaking down all the time, he said. Independent marketing consultant Aimee Rosewall was concerned that technology should not be used just to advertise games and computers. The interactive capabilities of new technology should revolutionise how advertisers reach markets via individuals, but campaigns should be designed more around the technology. You can’t really just take campaigns and build them into this technology, she said. The virtual reality equipment business itself must improve its offerings and not oversell its equipment’s capabilities, said Sprout, who believes products were far behind their promises, and that was adversely affecting the view of the industry. Sprout said the industry should be more honest with its products. When you go into a shop, they’ll say it (a virtual reality headset) is VGA, but LCD manufacturers quote resolution in dots, not pixels. When someone tells you a resolution, divide it by three, he advised. – Morgan Holt