Now, I’m in a huddle looking at my teammates. I move back to my position and glance around. Thousands of fans are screaming, delirious. I can feel the adrenaline jolt hitting me as my team readies for the next play. The snap is perfect, and the ball is mine as I search for my guys.
The linebackers are struggling to keep the defense away from me. One of them sneaks through. I’m in trouble. He steams toward me like a locomotive.
I finally spot my wide receiver. I somehow dodge the defensive tackle and throw a Hail Mary to him.
He avoids the scrambling defenders, and the wide receiver makes an almost impossible catch in the end zone.
Touchdown! The crowd erupts in cheers. It’s great to be in the Super Bowl.
But wait! I don’t know how to play football. I’m not supposed to. I’m Brazilian! So how did I get here? And what about the epic music playing in the background throughout the action? A Nike logo hovers in front of me, followed by a clever slogan.
That, my friend, is the future of advertising.
Whether you like it or not, this kind of immersive virtual reality experience is here to stay. And I’m not talking about video games.
When a company with deep pockets and more than a billion logged-on users buys a trendsetting start-up that has a game-changing device, aiming to make virtual reality part of the social experience, we should pay attention.
Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift and its plans for the future remind me of a geek-chic book I read two years ago, Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. Its setting is an omnipresent online service that mixes social networking, gaming, education and business experiences. Everybody spends most of their waking time in this virtual environment, working, playing, shopping, learning or simply getting in touch with each other without leaving their own homes. To navigate, you simply don your VR glasses, your haptic gloves, and then engage yourself in something that is virtually (pun intended) indistinguishable from reality. This experience becomes appealing, immersive, entertaining and inclusive.
Oh, and an eccentric billionaire owns the company. I think I see some similarities here.
It might be a sign of things to come. Or at least it’s very close to what the Social Network guy has in mind – to change not only the way we play video games, watch movies and music shows but also how we bring together all these things and many more that are yet to be visualized and then make them part of our social experience.
But if it happens – and I believe it will – how are we advertising people going to react?
We’ve always been a bunch of early adopters when it comes to incorporating the latest technology into our own lives, but we’re late adopters when it has to do with integrating it into our business.
Things have changed.
Lately, we admen and women have been experiencing a pressure to incorporate as much technology as possible into anything we do – just because.
Now, an eccentric billionaire has made a move to push Oculus Rift into the mainstream, and that might force us into a new brave new world. Advertising will have to find its voice in the virtual universes that are going to be available to everyone.
It won’t only be about sharing the couch with beer buddies while funny things happen, watching talking animals and celebrities deliver funny lines or just experiencing a brand-new car ad. It’s also about the chance to connect with the audience on a different level.
We might have forgotten lately that tech should serve the ideas, not the other way around. Technology can help us to be more humanly relevant.
Yeah, we’ll still have billboards on the streets of a virtual city and the stereo might still play a couple of radio ads while you ride in your virtual car with your friends. But it can be so much more.
I’ve climbed the big ice wall in Westeros and I’ve seen the other side. This Oculus Rift thing will take us places.
Guilherme Rangel – Executive Creative Director, gyro Dubai
Guilherme Rangel has taken on the role of executive creative director at gyro Dubai. Formerly of Horizon Draftfcb and Y&R Dubai, Rangel is the first person who has taken on the ECD role at the agency.
Rangel began his career in his native Brazil, where he worked for Fischer America and TBWABR, before heading to Dubai and Impact BBDO in 2005. He later joined Y&R, where he became creative director, before taking the ECD position at Horizon Draftfcb.