Our Love for VR and AR Experiences

Wednesday 23rd August 2017

  • Experiential
  • Just For Fun
  • Social

Reality Bending Experiences


At BACKUP, we’re no stranger to both virtual and augmented reality. From our close work with AR startups to our award winning experiential campaigns, we’ve pushed the boundaries of innovative experiences.

Why is this technology working from an event and experiential point of view?

First, there’s the novelty. People want to experience and try new technology – especially when there’s this much conversation around that tech.

Secondly, the experience itself challenges and inspires the individual’s perception of what’s possible with technology.

Finally, the right execution serves as an immersive way to tell a brand narrative or experience.

Reality-bending technology won’t always be “novel” or “inspiring” – but it will always remain immersive. That’s why it takes the right creative, message and technology to pull off a flawless brand engagement.


The Tech


Augmented Reality is developing at a rapid pace, from fun camera filters to new user interfaces on cameras. We’re seeing AR used practically as teaching tools in classrooms and by brands like IKEA who are building experiences to help space-plan and test furniture in your actual home.

One of the biggest developments in this field is the investment in both AR and machine-learning in Camera Apps, which are being used to intelligently identify objects in photos.

The big talk from Facebook’s F8 Summit this year was their Camera app, which is integrated into Messenger. Alongside the app’s fun filters and features comes something a bit more practical for advertisers: brand and product identification. If someone updates their “Facebook Story” or sends a friend a snapshot, Facebook could hypothetically pick out what brands are present in that photo. With this information, Facebook can better target and deliver advertisements to audiences who don’t engage with brands with more traditional methods.



At our end-of-summer warehouse party, we teamed up with MCE Events to sample some of the most fun VR experiences in circulation, including race simulator, Driveclub and the highly addictive Space Pirate Trainer.

Many of the tech we sampled (or use in the field) has clear advantages and disadvantages, so here’s how we break it down:

Phone to Headset Rigs like Samsung Gear VR or Octagon VR Luna

One of the strongest and most accessible introductions to VR. If your campaign doesn’t rely on jaw dropping graphics and immersion, this is a great option. Samsung or Octagon. These experiences are a popular way to experience mobile games or movies, and tend to work best with low-resolution experiences.

PlayStation VR – A great introductory product, but you must have a PlayStation 4 to use this. At our BACKUP party, we paired these systems PlayStation’s Logitech Racing Wheels/Pedals to experience the racing simulator: Driveclub. The result was an experience so realistic, many of us resorted to our actual driving habits and forgot we were in a game! A BACKUP favourite PlayStation VR experience is Everything, which is an emotional and whimsical perspective on the interconnectivity of the world.





OculusRift – Born from a Kickstarter before finding a home as a Facebook product, the Oculus Rift has become the most headlined VR tech in the bunch. Looking past the hype, and what do we see? A quality product and brand that sits in an authoritative spot in the VR community, but lacks a unique selling point as more and more hardware emerges to compete. That said, Oculus is a great a high-quality, reliable option with a vast library of games and experiences.

HTC Vive – Sparing no costs, this is marketed as an “all-in” opportunity for serious gamers. Even with the recent €200 price-drop, the system still retails at €700 before you add-in costs of a PC-gaming rig capable of running the software. The HTC Vive’s hardware and setup is clunky and requires significant upfront investment, and it’s very much an opportunity to build your experiential campaign around the hardware, rather than integrating the hardware into your existing project. However, it’s a fan-favourite frontrunner when it comes to immersion, gaming, UX and features. The console involves setting up external cameras to track the users motion, allowing for a huge range of new interactive opportunities. Once in the experience, the headset uses Steam’s Big Screen feature to draw from a PC Gamer’s Library, which means there will be very few 3rd party games or experiences that are not accessible within the console. It’s entirely possible to waste a day in virtual reality.



Our Take-Aways

It’s important to know what technology is emerging to become entwined in people’s lives in order to what platforms and experiences are important to build.

The wrong VR or AR experience will leave audiences exasperated, confused or unimpressed. That’s why it’s essential to pair creative ideas with the experts.