Embracing VR to Build Brand Equity

John Hickey, Channel Marketing Manager, at Castrol took the stage at Digital Marketing World Forum (DMWF) to tell his story about how he used VR to increase brand loyalty. 

Castrol faces the same problem many brands do – brand recognition.  He kicked the session off by rattling off many of the things the brand is connected with that no one in the audience knew.  For instance, the brand is 120 years old and every VW, Volvo, Audi, Land Rover and Jaguar on the road leaves the garage with Castrol oil.  As John said, like Intel, you wouldn’t know it’s inside if there wasn’t a sticker.

So, to solve this problem, John leaned into one specific age range: 18 – 25.  The age range where people are starting to build their own brand loyalties — they’re done just inserting their parent’s brand preferences and are ready to make their own decisions.

Now, how do you engage 18 – 25 year olds? Virtual Reality.  As we know at Isobar, because virtual reality is such an immersive experience, it really has the ability to change minds and influence people.  That said, most people would have trouble thinking of a reason for an oil brand to leverage VR to reach young kids.  Which is why John and his team turned to something that this age range is interested in: gaming.

Castrol partnered with a studio to create Wrench, an engine building game that gives people an opportunity to really get “under the hood” and hands on with cars – which is of interest to many 18 – 25 year olds.  Everything in the experience was Castrol branded (using the virtual version of all of their products) but they created an experience that was so seamlessly branded that users didn’t feel like they were being “advertised to.”

From there, things really took off.  The game morphed into a training experience that allowed people to get hands on with building engines, giving additional visibility to Castrol, while also providing a utility experience.  Many places don’t have room for lots of engines for people to train on but they all have room for a few VR headsets.

This utility aspect of virtual reality is something that Isobar is incredibly invested in.  Of course, there are many exciting ways to leverage emerging technology but we see incredible opportunity in utility.  In fact, earlier this week, our chief innovation officer, Dave Meeker, spoke at Code Commerce about the real hands on opportunities for augmented reality with firefighters, contractors, call centers, etc.

All in all, brands are finding ways to leverage virtual reality (and augmented) to reach consumers and build brand loyalty.  Castrol is just one example of another niche brand, that you may not really know, that has found a way to make a real impact with VR.  

If you have any questions on how you can engage your customers with emerging tech (or whether it’s right for you at all) give us a shout!  We’d love to hear from you. 

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