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Thunder forth into the future

I have been doing a lot of thinking since I first had the opportunity to immerse myself into the world of VR courtesy of Google Cardboard. I sat on a swivel chair in a dark office in London, spinning back and forth as aliens descended over a desert landscape. I was suddenly interrupted by a tap on the shoulder that jerked me back to reality "phone for you" I was almost upset that someone had pulled me out of this alternate dimension. How could somebody actually want me to attend to something in real-life when I was actually far away in a foreign land defending my space-craft?
I took the call but was still having one or two flashbacks. Concentrating on the real-life situation wasn’t that easy. In fact, “real-life” seemed rather boring.

There have been a few visual technologies that have come and gone over the years like Blu-Ray, I’m still confused by that one, and the boomerang that is 3D TV. I remember going to a tech conference in Berlin that rested on the fact that 3D TV was the next big thing. I could be a bit of a tech laggard but I still don’t own one and have only ever seen one person that does.

With these technologies and experiences I have developed an acute scepticism around new technology that makes big claims about changing the world as we know it. That is until I stumbled upon a little cardboard box of magic that costs around $10, that’s if you can’t get one for free in a promotional push. I was truly mesmerised and realised that I was captivated.

Even when I was lying on the floor trying to steer my ship through the alien onslaught I didn’t think even once to get up and remove the headset – this was important and I had to finish the quest – Forget Real-Life this was my mission, my calling!

Once my quest was done (I crashed onto the desert floor) the clash between this infant tech’s potential and real-life issues became very apparent. If the pot on the stove started to boil and I was mid-way through my challenge, would I have thought about the pot for a second – the quick answer is no. If I was in a bank queue waiting, would I put the headset on and take myself to Patagonia instead, the quick answer is yes - this needed investigating.

We at Carat decided to invest in a model up from the Cardboard box version on offer from Google. We invested in the Samsung experience and let our colleagues have a test run. The results were hilarious with one of our strategists spinning round and shouting as a Corgi ran past her in a Hawaiian shirt!

Click here to see how the Carat team immersed themselves in the world of VR.

The game was on! We had to harness the potential of this parallel universe for our clients. Could we turn a trip on public transport into a moment when a rugby fan could potentially tackle New Zealand’s mighty Richie McCaw. Could we enable a moment for a Couch-Potato to potentially land an Airbus A380 at OR Tambo? The answer was yes to all of them with a small disclaimer regarding Health and Safety of course.

The briefs are now in the system and these have the potential to redefine the consumer journey as we know it. Connection moments that we have never seen before.

I’m looking forward to testing them out and incorporating these ideas into integrated ecosystems, ensuring this technology will not stand alone but instead enhance a brand experience beyond current digital parameters. Click, Pause and Play.

17 Aug 2016 10:31


About Graham Deneys

Graham Deneys is the Strategy Director at Carat in Cape Town.