The Oakley Mobile Blog

360º Video - a cynical view
Tuesday June 21, 2016

With the proliferation of 360º hardware, stitching software and new headsets entering the market, it’s no surprise that marketers are embracing the technology to look cool. But jumping on the 360º bandwagon to look cutting edge just for the sake of it is not a good move.

Be it YouTube 360º or the 360º videos that now pop up on your FaceBook feed, these are still just environments where you can only look around. And in my opinion this is giving 360º VR experiences a bad rap.

It seems to me that marketers are being hoodwinked by this new dark art. Surely we should use it to tell stories and create experiences that are enhanced by the technology. Not hindered by it?

There’s no doubt the technology turns heads, quite literally. But as the honeymoon period ends it must be time for brands to think about how they build sustainable relationships with their audience using a technology that holds so much potential.

The much viewed Michelle Obama 360º interview demonstrates how far advanced 360º post production techniques have come. But once you’ve spun around and seen the ‘behind the scenes’ crew there really is no real need to look around again.

TopGear’s recent foray with 360º shows the Stig hacking an Ariel Atom around the track. But being cynical (again), does the 360º aspect really enhance the experience? Do you really get a sense of the adrenalin and speed from the 360º video? Personally, no.

Whether you’re a fan of Top Gear or not, the drama created by traditional editing techniques such as super slow mos and sexy wide shots draw you in. Theres a reason why we’re captivated. And this is one of the things that 360º video needs to do too.

"So what’s the answer" I hear you cry?

Well, funny you should ask. And the answer is a simple one….freedom and control. Without providing the user with freedom to explore the content 360º video is still a passive window into another location.

Once you give the user the options to; choose their own path, teleport around, interact with hotspots and discover more information about their surroundings, you change the game. It’s no longer a passive experience.

The web as we know it doesn’t offer this level of interactivity. But apps do. Apps also provide perfect platforms for brands to continually serve experiences to their audiences. These branded channels are opportunities to wow, educate, sell - the list goes on. 

At a 360º meeting recently a client said “I’d rather offer mediocre to the masses rather than a rich experience to the few”. We can deliver mediocre, but is that what audiences deserve?

If you want to create 360º VR marketing experiences that captivates audiences, then please do get in touch


Written by Barry R at 17:05