First there was shoppable video where customers could add an item to the cart straight off a model’s back. By integrating ‘cinematographic commerce’ into their campaigns, brands saw an increase in conversion, engagement and click-through rates, meaning the ‘touch-to-buy’ model proved to be an effective marketing tactic. Fast-forward a couple months and a new player has entered the market. Narrative_ is a creative agency that prides itself in its unique ability to tell immersive stories across a breadth of platforms. With a unique blend of strategy, innovation, product development, and cultural awareness, the firm produces enchanting brand stories that act as drivers for their partners’ activation campaigns. Such is the case with two of their recent virtual reality user journeys, “’Twas the Flight Before Christmas” and the release of the Curry Ones and Curry Twos sneaker lines.
In the former operation, Narrative_ connected with JC Penney to help drive traffic to their stores as the holiday season drew near. By replacing the typical ‘sit on Santa’s lap’ common to most malls in the United States with an immersive and gamified virtual reality journey atop a sleigh, the two companies invited shoppers to visit Santa and his friends over at the North Pole. Complete with haptic feedback to experience gusts of air and the cold of the snow as users touched down in their new environment, onlookers could get a sense of what was going on in the individual’s realm via screens surrounding the station. Of course, this was strategically set in stone so as to engage otherwise idle passersby and generate excitement around the campaign.
Within the headset, participants were given multiple options so as to offer more control as to how they wanted to experience the storyline. As such, Narrative_ was able to craft a ‘choose your own adventure’ of sorts, which created further buzz since it incentivised outsiders attempting to weigh in on the individual’s decisions to give the experience a shot for themselves.
Toward the end, all users received a gift from a digital Santa, which happened in real life too. Much to their surprise, as users extended their hands to received the present, they actually felt a box being placed into their outspread hands (by an employee). After tracking the success of the handed-out coupons, it turned out that JCP had achieved record redemption rates.
With the results of the promotion in their favor, the Narrative_ team knew they could take things a step further. What if users wanted to ‘receive presents’ from the comfort of their couch at home? What if there was no one around to gift them an item, but that item could still show up at their doorstep in due time? What if they could control this process in its entirety?
Recalling the work they did with Under Armour to usher in Stephen Curry’s first signature shoe (a press event featuring a virtual reality story of the basketball player’s coming to be), the team decided to revisit the technology used in the product launch and implement some changes for testing purposes. The result? Shoppable 360° video.
Look to the poster hanging on the wall and a clip of Curry’s rise to fame begins, from a high school all-star to the time a collegiate scout shattered his world when he told him he wasn’t big enough to play professionally, to where he is now as one of the NBA’s top players. Once the sequence ends you’re transported back to the player’s childhood bedroom, and the poster on the wall becomes available for purchase if you stare at it long enough. Several other items decorate the area in a similar fashion, reliving key moments in Stephen Curry’s life followed by the ability to add the items to a shopping cart. From there users can check out either by having information necessary for the completion of the transactions sent to their email, or continuing on to a webpage with the queued items already in the shopping cart.
We already know how experiential marketing can blend subtle branding with content creation to yield favourable consumer decisions . With this sort of technology available for all eyes, Narrative_ has cemented its name as a leader in this field, and will hopefully be doing more work to flesh out the possibilities yet to be discovered. The fully immersive integrated shopping experience is primed both in price point (using Google Cardboard) and experience for the tech-savvy millennial, which data indicates a strong preference for online shopping. With the continuous upsurge of buying power this category of shoppers presents, now is the perfect time to invest and experiment with likeminded articles.