Emerging tech is causing advertising to become increasingly multi-sensory and fully immersive as it moves off screen. Michael Brown, Managing Director of MKTG discusses with Campaign Magazine.
Technophiles the world over are looking forward to a day when all forms of content are freed from its present confinement within the four edges of a screen; to be fully multi-sensory, 360-immersive, and at some point beyond the far off horizon, indistinguishable from the real world. The message will not be contained by the medium.
How far are we from such a horizon, and are we sprinting or strolling there are questions that a lot of clever people in white lab coats are posing.
VR may take us a few tantalising strides closer. Some will groan heavily at yet another mention of this particular tech, but if we move our focus away from the headsets and instead look at how the content can be deployed and enjoyed, then interesting signposts emerge.
Earlier this year I was at the launch of the Allianz-sponsored Drone Racing League. A world championship heat will be taking place in the capital as part of London Tech Week this June. Sky were also present to announce their ownership of the broadcast rights. They intend to show the proceedings from an entirely different perspective; those with a heavy dispensation towards all things geek will already know that drone racers pilot their craft through goggles linked to a Go-Pro camera mounted on the drone. This means that home viewers with a Sky package and VR headsets can get closer into the action in an immersive sense – a pilot’s eye view.
Such an approach could have big implications for all large-scale event occasions in the future.
Can’t get a ticket to the Champions League Final? Experience it at home through the headsets from multiple immersive perspectives; as a player, the referee, from the dug out, in the crowd.
Home viewing of sports is set to become a little less passive. It should also open up new channels for a broadcaster to sell to individual brands. A brand taking a behind the scenes approach may wish to sponsor the home dug-out experience for instance. Another, wishing to build on their brand ambassador program may look to extend their sponsorship rights to create an immersive viewing experience using the footage from a micro camera mounted on their player.
Such a way of viewing sport would be very intriguing technologically as you could mix live footage with VR as an exclusive to the home viewer: One could easily imagine Antonio Conte virtually tapping you on the shoulder during a live broadcast telling you to get your boots on.
Meanwhile, there are tech companies who have taken an active dislike to those clunky goggles. Globally there are circa 200 companies developing goggles-free VR to achieve a more inclusive, mass participatory approach.
Dassault Systèmes has long been a pioneer in 3D experience. At its Paris HQ, the Cubic Immersion Room offers an experience where every surface, including the floor, is a screen. The technology, known in the business as a “Cave” (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), required that users wore a headset featuring several antennae which calibrated the graphic render on the screens with every movement around the room to more accurately create the illusion of perspective. When I visited, I was able to walk, with several other colleagues, around an unfolding render of Paris, stroll up any boulevard, go into any building, take the stairs or lift and walk into any room – the experience fell just short of being able to order a croissant.