In the last few Cabana VR blogs I’ve been making the case for 360 as an effective marketing tool. I’ve been addressing questions like “why should I choose to create a 360 video instead of a traditional 2D video?” (short answer – the immersive and viewer-controlled nature of 360 leads to more engagement, which in turn leads to brand name retention).
However, just because an ad is in 360 doesn’t necessarily make it a good promo. Sure, it might look cool, but does your message fit the medium?
360 video is quite a different format than flat video in a number of ways. When crafting your message, you’ll want to capitalize on these strengths of 360:
- It’s active, not passive. The viewer is in control, and makes the choice to look around in all directions…or not. You have to give them a compelling reason to do so.
- It lends itself to first-person storytelling. Viewers become part of the scene around them. Use this to your advantage!
- It triggers a physiological response. This is especially true when wearing a VR headset. We shot a yoga video, and when my daughter watched it on our VR headset she spontaneously went into the “warrior” position because she believed that everyone around her was doing it and she didn’t want to be a slacker!
360 video is still an emerging form of filmmaking. Remember, not every story concept lends itself to this format. However, every brand CAN use 360 effectively. You just have to think creatively. When brainstorming possibilities for a 360 ad, ask yourself questions like:
- How can you put the potential customer in the center of the action?
Honda’s incredible 360-degree video on YouTube in which the viewer rides along in the passenger seat of a race car is a perfect example.
- What kinds of scenes would make you want to look in all directions, not just front and center?
Like the Excedrin migraine ad mentioned in a previous blog, you want to give the viewer a reason to look around. Perhaps you’d want to put a camera in the middle of a 3-ring circus, or at a busy dinner party. If you’re marketing a dating website, what would it look like to have people flirting with “you” from all directions?
- Can you showcase an interactive experience?
When we created a 360 video to help a gym market their group exercise program, we put the camera in the middle of a circuit training course, and had the instructor walk around the circle, giving advice and encouragement. Being in the literal center of the action makes you want to join in and pump some iron.
- How can your 360 video trigger an emotional response for the viewer?
Consumers make purchasing decisions based on emotion. Adding an emotional element to the immersive nature of 360 will doubly influence viewers into remembering your product or service. For example, if you’re a company that sells camping gear, showing a hiker triumphantly summiting a mountain with breathtaking panoramic views all around would be a highly effective use of 360.