Most notable VR/AR uses in marketing

McDonald's Happy Meal VR headset

Included into their Happy Meal Box, McDonald has released their own Google Cardboard. The campaign ran in Sweden where the happy meal toy was a McDonald’s Cardboard VR Headset. After purchasing a Happy Meal, you could assemble the box by folding along the lines. The Happy Meal also came with two plastic lenses that could be popped into the front part of the headset. The instructions told you to visit Happy Goggles website on your smartphone to play a game called "se upp i backen," which translates into English to "Watch Out on the Slopes." The game is themed around the Swedish holiday known as Sportlov, a time when families take annual ski trips.

Pokemon GO

Although the Pokemon GO craze has cooled if not ended entirely, its impact on local marketing will last for years. The monetisation scheme of the app, in which users could buy lures to attract Pokemon to specific regions, was a boon for local businesses. Buying a lure to sit in one’s coffee shop or bar is the very essence of augmented reality marketing. It places a digital object in the physical space of the business, and invites players to come interact with the object... and patronise the business while there. Augmented reality company Niantic Labs, creators of the game, were quick to capitalize on the trend. In July, they announced that they would partner up with businesses to create “sponsored PokeStops”, taking money in exchange for spawning monsters at particular locations. Jamba Juice takes the trend even further, giving players 10% off a purchase if they show their game to the cashier.

IKEA catalog

IKEA operates in an industry which stands to be the most benefited by AR applications. Often, when we purchase furniture and other home accessories, either online or in brick-and-mortar shops, we struggle to envision how it would look or fit in our actual home. Despite dimensions and product estimations, the uncertainty in your buying decision is troubling for consumers and costly for retailers. IKEA launched an AR app, aided by a product catalog to solve this problem. They use augmented reality to place virtual furniture in your home. You can unlock this feature by scanning selected pages of the catalog or browsing them in the digital format on your tablet or smartphone. Then, place the catalog where you wish to place the furniture, select the appropriate product in the app and modify its color and size to see what best fits your space.

Game of Thrones

HBO has embraced VR in exciting ways to launch its new seasons of Game of Thrones. In 2014 they created a multi-sensory, traveling exhibition which featured the VR experience “Ascend the Wall” at places like SXSW and Singapore’s Ion Orchard Shopping Mall. Viewers entered an elevator that featured blasting cool air and physical rumbling, creating the feeling they were being hoisted up 700 feet to the top of the Wall at Castle Black. The graphics were created by The Framestore: the firm that did special effects for the Oscar winning film Gravity. Though the installation was exciting and viral, it could only be truly experienced by those physically present. Oculus Rift was the headset used. For the recent launch of the 2016 season of Game of Thrones, Oculus Rift owner, Facebook, provided a VR viewing experience more available to everyone through a special 360° synchronization of the show’s opening credits with Facebook. It’s another cutting edge application of VR that can immerse viewers in the world of Game of Thrones and go viral.


Test driving a car through virtual reality makes a lot of sense if you don’t have a car dealer close by. It is great to see Volvo make an app to support the launch of their XC90 SUV. It puts you in the cockpit and takes you on an idyllic ride through the country. It used to be a company that might have struggled to appear modern and relevant compared to their competitors. By adopting VR in this way they’ve made the public look at their brand in a new light. It also might become the standard by which future test driving apps are compared to, giving Volvo a first mover advantage in the virtual reality industry.