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Making virtual, reality

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Insight 

For years, gamers have been enjoying increasingly immersive console experiences thanks to innovations in gaming technology, but VR provided the opportunity for them to actually ‘live the games’ they were so passionate about.  

While it knew some gamers would be eager to invest in any new technology which promised enhanced gaming experiences, the inherent cynicism surrounding VR was a barrier MediaCom needed to overcome. The agency quickly identified the importance of trial, but early consumer testing revealed that although reactions were overwhelmingly positive, people struggled to articulate exactly how the experience actually felt: ‘ Like a visit to the moon, it’s impossible to describe VR to someone who’s never been there’ – PSVR trialist, 2016. 

It therefore needed an approach which would deliver both trial at scale as well as high levels of post-trial buzz, enabling PlayStation to take back the conversation around VR from the competition, namely the Facebook owned Oculus Rift which had received high levels of mainstream PR coverage, and the HTC Vive, widely regarded to be the top tier virtual reality experience. 

Strategy 

Unlike the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift with higher price points and set up requirements, PSVR is both affordable and simple to install. MediaCom developed a trial strategy which reflected this by ensuring VR experiences were readily available to its most relevant prospects. With a high cost per trial it targeted areas with the highest concentrations of VR intenders and mined its CRM database to identify those most likely to convert.  

The agency harnessed PlayStation’s rich 1st party data to invite people with a high propensity to engage with PSVR based on their hardware and software preferences, as well as high profile influencers, to experience exhilarating VR experiences at VIP trial events & amplified buzz through social content. This content was cost-effectively distributed by trialists themselves as well as through PlayStation’s owned channels, social, CRM and, where required, programmatic media, targeted and personalised with 1st party data to maximise effectiveness. 

At all trial opportunities the agency captured data from participants to ensure it could continue a dialogue with them afterwards. 

Execution 

At all events it recorded trialists’ reactions, creating social video clips which could be immediately shared. This was supported by 360-degree video content which showcased the immersive gameplay. In Germany, the agency created personalised ‘PSVR & You’ clips in real time with built-in social sharing buttons. In Denmark, the famous radio presenter Sara Frost invited celebrities into her house to try PSVR, posting videos of their reactions to YouTube. By designing the content with shareability, it generated substantially higher levels of exposure than paid budgets would allow. 

PlayStation's 1st party data enabled MediaCom to identify and target the audience with unprecedented accuracy: ‘Heavy gamers who are early PlayStation adopters (defined as having bought PS4 in the first 12 months following launch)’. 

It also reached this audience across 3rd party spaces through custom audiences in Facebook and Google. Over time the agency optimised its approach by ‘negatively targeting’ those who had completed a trial. Once all headsets had sold out, it broadened this audience to include all gamers, using PSVR to communicate a wider message of brand innovation. 

Once it had identified the right audiences it was able to select the best locations for trial based upon where the greatest concentrations of them lived. As well as advertising through paid display the agency recruited influencers to promote trials to local communities and used mobile display to geo-target prospects. 

By tracking who had consumed the content and how they’d interacted, the agency was able to sequence subsequent assets into a compelling story around VR. 

Results 

Results for this campaign remain confidential at the client's request. 

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