At the 2019 Digital Entertainment World Expo on February 5th, Tony Parisi, Head of AR/VR Ad Innovation at Unity, presented insights into the landscape for brands and what it means to advertise in VR and AR.
“Unity is no longer just in the gaming business,” said Parisi. With multiple screens fighting for user attention, advertisements need to be multi-platform, and have the ability to enhance an experience in a range of industries from automotive to real estate and filmmaking.
As head-mounted displays (HMDs) are seeing a slower than expected adoption rate in the consumer marketplace, smartphones offer an interim solution for AR, and they’re already in our pockets. In 2019, 1B AR capable smartphones already exist in the market, and by 2020, this number is estimated to increase to 3B, said Parisi. If brands want to reach consumers, this is the way to do it. The catch: younger generations now want an experience, in addition to innovative content. This is where high definition VAR* comes into play.
Today, we see only the beginning of the physical and digital worlds melding, but smart glasses and 5G will change this as AR content becomes more readily available. “Immersive storytelling is the future of brand marketing,” said Parisi. However, until immersive hardware is widely used by consumers, Unity will have to come up with innovative solutions to integrate ads in multiple formats across mediums, and grades of impact:
- Live event content activation (as most effective)
- VR/MR experiences
- AR apps
- AR ad
- Mobile video
While simple solutions reach the most eyes, the reason why over 60% of VR content is made with Unity is because they are looking to develop the most powerful storytelling tool on the market. At the end of the day, it’s these advertisements designed with a platform capable of immersive and experiential narrative that are the most influential.
Forged as a gaming engine, Unity understands the acute sense of immersion that can be offered by an enhanced storytelling experience. Using the platform, developers can now move around a scene, interact with it, and render it in real time. It’s changing the way content is created, and how stories are told. “You can have a journey of your own not created by the filmmaker,” said Parisi.
The future of ads will include story worlds that participants can interact with. Ads will bring a brand’s identity into the real world. In the AR/VR Ad Age, a simple check and slogan will no longer pass the bar. Brands will have to build their identity as narrative platforms evolve. “Every new medium comes with new ways to reach people and new ways to interact,” said Parisi. Brands that want to survive in the Immersive Age will have to pay close attention to these tools that will design the future.
By Anne McKinnon
*VAR- Virtual and Augmented Reality