For the first time, the City of New Orleans is experimenting with virtual reality marketing by way of an immersive experience viewed through Oculus headsets or YouTube. It’s a move made in hopes to boost brand awareness and stand out in a crowded market as travel reaches pre-pandemic levels.
“We’ve got to break through the clutter of so many other messages coming across,” said Mark Romig, CMO of New Orleans and Company, formerly the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
It’s a first for the city’s marketing efforts, which has recently made a shift to become digitally focused, investing in digital video and social with some linear television programming reserved for regional campaigns, particularly around live sporting events. It’s unclear how these new technology-first efforts will impact ad spend as Romig declined to provide those figures.
Spend will increase “as a situation warrants,” Romig said. “There’s never been a fear to spend appropriately,” he added, further noting that the brand needs to “spend efficiently because we don’t have an unlimited amount of dollars.”
According to Kantar, New Orleans and Company spent $60,400 on media in 2021. Those figures do not include social as Kantar does not track those numbers. Kantar did not show reported spend for New Orleans and Company for this year.
New Orleans and Company rolled out its first foray into technology-first marketing efforts in mid-July and its set to run into 2023. The eight-minute, immersive virtual reality spot featuring dinner with locals, home tours and more was produced with its agency partner Dentsu Creative. Non-immersive spots will run on streaming services, social media, via display ads and some linear television. As of reporting time, the YouTube video has less than 400 views.
A few years ago, virtual reality ads were deemed more hype than reality, according to previous Digiday reporting. But now, with more consumer interest in digital experiences, brands like CUUP, Nestlé and Estée Lauder are experimenting with AR/VR to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences.
“We’re on the cusp of graduating beyond experimentation,” said Marc Simons, co-founder of Giant Spoon ad agency. “We’re probably 10 to 15 years away from AR/VR being mass adopted.”
As AR/VR continues to surge in popularity, more businesses will evolve to meet shopper habits. Meaning marketers will need to press the gas soon to avoid missing the virtual reality train. “There are going to be more and more opportunities for brands to be able to start to experiment,” he said. Eventually, Simons expects commerce, shopping and entertainment marketing can happen regularly.
It’s too early to tell what the return on investment is for New Orleans and Company’s first go at technology-led marketing. But Romig says there could be a bigger investment in that space in the future.
“We’re open for more,” he said.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Instagram wins over Facebook for role in brands’ holiday marketing
Brands differ on how they use each marketing channel during the holidays -- even when it comes to sibling social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, Digiday+ Research found.
How — and why — Candy Crush is in the midst of a 10th anniversary brand refresh
In the years since Activision Blizzard acquired the Swedish game studio King in 2016, employees at the gaming giant have started to internally refer to their company as “ABK” — that is, Activision Blizzard King. But the corporation’s recent financial reports indicate that “KAB” might be a more accurate abbreviation.
Independent agency Goat invests in influencer strategy for clients as it expands in the U.S.
Everyone is after influencers to up their marketing game. But the secret to success, Goat contends, is in viewing influencers as performance media and using data to deliver clients guaranteed outcomes.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Marketers bring Web3 to the FIFA World Cup with augmented reality, NFTs and virtual worlds
The month-long tournament, which begins this weekend, will be the first World Cup since it took place in Russia in 2018 long before “Web3” entered the global lexicon. Now, official and non-official sponsors are hoping to harness the hype with a range of NFTs, virtual worlds, augmented reality tools and other trendy tech.
U-Haul diversifies its social strategy to tell people it’s more than moving trucks
In recent years, U-Haul's in-house agency has been working to "better leverage social media for brand loyalty."