Unilever Delves Into Virtual Reality
Unilever is coming up with a library of virtual reality content for its brands in a bid to get in line with the technology before it hits mainstream, according to its top marketer. Chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed said this to CNBC’s ‘Marketing, media, money’ show.
“Not that consumers yet have [virtual reality] but as time goes on as and when consumers have this at scale you’re going to want some of this back footage,” said Weed. “So we’re very much seeing virtual reality as a big, big opportunity. And I think brands are going to be very much there.”
In 2016, there are a number of virtual reality headsets that are being purchased by consumers for the first. Brands that range from Facebook’s Oculus Rift to Sony’s PlayStation VR are being bought in their numbers. The steep prices associated with these headsets like the Oculus Rift that sells for $599 means that the technology won’t go mainstream immediately as very few people at this time can comfortably afford it. However, this impediment is not barring companies such as Unilever from getting a head start on their rivals in this market. A lot of brands such as Thomas Cook and Virgin Atlantic have long been experimenting with virtual reality content in the UK.
In a long talk, Weed also said that social media has enabled marketing to return and regain its social purpose.
“We’re now in a phase potentially of marketing for people and that journey I think will make marketing mobile again,” said Weed. “Marketing started off by serving people [and] in the 80s it got a little bit lost with selling more stuff.”
“If you go on somewhere like vice – which is obviously very much targeted at millennial – you see Unilever brands very much present there. Why? Because we really understand the power of millennial. Our brands have stories to tell to millennials and the reason they have that is because we have brands with purpose, brands with meaning.”
Weed also mentioned that in the US and China, some “35/45 percent” of media now invest in digital. Regardless, Weed still believes in the potential of advertising on TV.
“Television is still fantastic, we love television. If you want reach and you want to get lots of people, televisions brilliant,” said Weed. “And because the change is all around mobile and social, everyone’s talking about that but television is not at all dead.”
So television is still going to be here for a very long time to come and the advent of technologies like the smartphones, internet and highly connected personal computers and let’s not forget the ever exciting technology of virtual reality cannot completely dislodge it from the consumers anytime soon. What we will have in the near future will be a concert of technological platforms that will combine all of the main media outlets and consumers based on their preference will use one more than the others and so on.