WWP's GroupM is pushing into the virtual and augmented reality space, with the media group inking a deal with VR and AR player, Happy Finish.
The deal will see Happy Finish’s offices in India and China work closely with GroupM’s content teams across the Asia Pacific region to help develop creative solutions in the VR space for GroupM clients.
GroupM content CEO for Asia Pacific, Josh Black, said: “The VR space is about to explode and, as usual, GroupM will be ahead of the curve helping clients to get there first with impactful communications and marketing programs.
“Happy Finish’s award-winning creativity and innovative technology has already been harnessed for several clients of GroupM agencies, and this deal means we can scale to deliver incredible results for more of our brands."
VR and AR have been in the advertising lexicon for some time, however, it is speculated that 2016 will be the year both cement themselves in the mainstream. Facebook acquired Oculus Rift in early 2014 and now it is expected the headsets will be available to consumers at the beginning of next year. Google's VR play, Google Cardboard, allows consumer participation in VR at almost zero cost.
Several clients have dipped their toes into the VR waters with Tourism Australia's CMO Lisa Ronson recently telling AdNews the business is set to invest half of its media dollars into a shoot that is expected to produce a film as well as a virtual reality video, giving consumers “a little slice of Australia”.
“What virtual reality does is take it to a whole other level in terms of immersion to really understand what it feels like to have an experience in Australia,” Ronson said.
Samsung has also made a VR investment with its own headset, and its creative agency Leo Burnett is rolling out some great creative using the headset, one example being where Samsung and Leo's partner in order to ensure a fly-in fly-out worker doesn't miss the birth of his third child.
Stuart Waplington, group chairman of Happy Finish, said recent developments in virtual and augmented reality technology have laid the foundations for the next digital revolution.
"This technology has the power to change every area of our lives; digital experiences will merge with the physical world and virtual experiences will affect us on a deep emotional level," Waplington said.
“GroupM are global leaders and are very forward-thinking with a disruptive mindset that makes them the perfect partner for Happy Finish as this technology moves into the mainstream. Our emphasis is on using this technology to deliver measurable results for GroupM clients."
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