Reel VR: Immersive marketing lessons from the big screen

Summer blockbusters are here and studios use any means necessary to generate buzz for their films. Since movie studios use innovative tech to tell their stores on the big screen, we wondered how they bring that same storytelling to VR to build marketing momentum and create a frenzy of excitement for moviegoers.

In a previous blog post, we covered five things to keep in mind when a company incorporates VR into its marketing plans. As VR’s active user base continues to grow, and could reach 117 million by 2018, it’s natural to create content for this channel and gain exponentially more exposure. Here are a few examples of how some of this summer’s big budget movies are using VR to help fans dive into the story.

Go weightless with “The Mummy”

Audiences got a chance at SXSW to dive into the world of the upcoming Universal Pictures film “The Mummy” by going behind the scenes to see how a plane crash—with zero-gravity moments—was filmed for the movie. It was a VR experience paired with a moving chair that synced with the experience to give you the feel of floating along with Tom Cruise, who walks you through how he performed the stunt.

Birth of an alien

For the summer sci-fi thriller “Alien: Covenant,” audiences can get up close and personal with a terrifying alien Neomorph at the time of its birth. It’s an immersive experience that puts the viewer right in the middle of the intense Alien world. The studio collaborated with Regal Cinemas to place VR headset installations in select locations across the country, so viewers can check out the experience before or after seeing the movie, adding another layer to the story. This VR experience is also available for download, so fans can enjoy it from the comfort of their own home.

IMAX and VR meet for “Transformers”

Director Michael Bay is taking “Transformers” to new heights with a custom VR experience being developed in partnership with IMAX. This unique experience, in which audiences will “feel things coming over them,” according to Bay, will also be available in theater locations, but through proprietary pods developed to produce immersive, cinema-like VR experiences with IMAX visual and sound quality.

How virtual is your reality?

Since movies are all about entertainment and storytelling, and since VR is a great vehicle for immersive storytelling, it seems natural that the two would go together. You may not be a movie studio, but we are all telling stories to create a buzz for our “audience.”

With the VR user base growing, how are you leveraging this platform to tell your story? Is there a way to give your audience an immersive experience? Perhaps you have a unique opportunity to take your consumer to places they never thought they could go.