Published date: Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Press: The Drum - Disney Thinks VR Is Here To Stay

During the Star Wars celebration last month, Lucasfilm and Disney announced their latest project – a virtual reality film written by David Goyer, whose previous credits include The Dark Knight, Blade, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, alongside VR specialists ILMxLAB. This made headlines as the first film commissioned, produced and written with the express intention of being consumed in a VR context. Though an incredibly experimental process, the appointment of one of the greatest movie writers of the last decade shows that Disney means business, presenting VR as a viable, tangible and commercially justifiable option for entertainment. Though an exciting prospect for audiences, the film’s announcement is also an incredibly pivotal moment for marketers – if VR is indeed here to stay, what does it mean for relationships between creatives and consumers? Audiences can now be immersed in an entirely new art form, and modern advertising must adapt to stay ahead of the game.

The trend for VR and 360 Degree video has been gaining momentum in the advertising world with considerable pace over the last year. With its much more immersive and interactive user experience, 360o has given creative agencies a new ease of life, albeit alongside a new set of challenges. To have a major film studio now adopting similar techniques adds an extra weight and validity to these endeavours, proving that VR is not just a gimmick but a popular way of engaging audiences.

Goyer has gone on record saying that his story about Darth Vader will ‘make you cry’. This is something that 360-degree video excels at – thrusting users into completely absorbing environments, circumstances and contexts that create emotional reactions and visceral connections between the user and the experience. Video is already a proven way of breaking through to audiences of different ages and demographics, and succeeds best when it depicts ideas, narratives or visual images that provide an empathetic and exciting link with consumers. VR is the next step of a running trend.

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