Real Is Better. Virtual and Augmented Reality To communicate Sustainability
Virtual Reality (VR) is a trend to grow in the future: the market is still small, but according to Greenlight Insights it will come to a turnover of 38 billion dollars over the next ten years. The revolution that awaits VR is mainly Out-of-home, where it will allow consumers to cross the borders of one’s own home and intersect each other directly through technology.
To mark progress in this field will be the devices. The actual development is guided by Microsoft (HoloLens), Samsung Gear (VR), HTC (Live), Facebook (Oculus Rift) and Snapchat (Spectacles). Some are exploring the possibility to use the VR also with smartphones, using simple glasses cardboard, as those distributed by Google.
How can VR help spread Sustainability consciousness?
In 2015 the project The displaced from the New York Times, who triumphed at the Cannes Lions obtaining a Gran Prix, allowed users to immerse themselves in the lives of three children, refugees without many frills, aiming everything, with an immersive experience of VR technology, obtaining a double success, both as a news investigation and as a product innovation.
In 2016 Stella Artois BuyALadyADrink project was awarded in the Category People’s / VR at the Webby Awards, using AR to raise awareness among consumers of the importance of having access to clear water. Stella Artois and Water.org created with Unit9 a 360º split-screen VR film showing someone’s life before and after they have water access, (virtually) transporting the viewers in Honduras, where having clean water is a privilege for few and accessing clean drinking water can improve people’s lives. The film was launched at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: “The film uses 360º filming to make the experience more real and to give the audience the ability to ‘look around’ while the film takes place, creating a more immersive approach to documentary filmmaking.” (Unit9 website)
The progressive “normalization” of AR or VR experiences in the communication of CSR will probably soon join the introduction of users’ information, extracted from their social profiles, or from the data archived in the – more and more spread out- wearable technologies.
To succeed, the brand must have something relevant to say: an innovation, an experience, an achievement. The AR or VR success is not only linked to the unique story you are going to tell, but also to the exclusivity and accountability of the information revealed.
Unfortunately there is also a misuse of this powerful technology, used as greenwashing videos, laying on controversial facts .
Obviously creativity+technology is a powerful tool for sustainability storytelling. But “transparency” remains an essential watchword .
The AR and VR services carry with them an important value: they communicate the ‘self confidence’ of a brand that has no need to hide and that does not fear a direct contact with its audience. Almost an obligation for contemporary marketing – at least for CSR marketing – asked to know how to combine ethical business + branding for the benefit of its audience, the Planet and People on it.
Image Credits: Dominika Gorecka Illustration for magazine ‘MUTANTE’ Coimbra, Portugal
Since you’re here…
Our mission is to monitor Advertising to make certain that companies obey ethical standards of trustworthiness and transparency while communicating their commitment to addressing the great challenges of the New Millennium. From climate emergency to social inequality through all the issues included in the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda, we monitor the consistency of their statements, if they are ‘walking the talk’. With rising misinformation and commercial ownership, independent information is more and more rare. We think citizens deserve access to accurate analyses with integrity at their heart, so we can all make critical decisions about our lives, health and enviroment – based on fact, not fiction.
Our editorial independence means our content agenda is set only to voice our opinions, supported by in-depth research, free from any political and commercial bias, never influenced by interested owners or shareholders (which we don’t have). It means we can stand up to mainstream and give a voice to those less heard. We hope this will motivate you to make a contribution in support of our open, independent journalism. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support BeIntelligent from as little as €5 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.