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Samsung rolls out VR installation as part of sweeping holiday campaign

Samsung is dubbing The Night Before as an ?immersive look at a classic holiday moment via Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus,? and one that will be joined by similar installations at The Grove in Los Angeles and at Samsung 837, brand?s flagship digital playground in Manhattan?s Meatpacking District. The installation will add to Samsung?s significant out-of-home presence this holiday season.

?I'm sure Samsung will create pure VR content and other pure digital content for brand fans who can't physically visit the Los Angeles or New York locations, but it's very valuable for a brand like Samsung to augment pure digital tactics with in-person event-type activations like these,? said James McNally, director of digital strategy at TDT, New York. ?It's the same reason Samsung has a beautiful flagship in New York, even though it accounts for a negligible amount of phone sales?it's an attempt to align with big city cool and tell the wider world that Samsung is a brand that puts on top-tier events in Tier 1 cities. 

?This is a brand positioning tactic that with an aim far wider than just New York or Los Angeles.?

The Night Before
The installation began on Friday, December 9 and continues until the New Year. It features what Samsung is calling a ?4D sleigh experience,? augmented by the company?s Samsung Gear VR device. The date also coincides with the launch of exclusive event-specific content on Samsung VR, Samsung?s previous virtual reality content service.

The sleigh ride is just one module of a massive omnichannel holiday campaign put on by Samsung, called Gift of Galaxy, which focuses on family coming together and sharing special moments. The campaign kicked off a new spot, ?Unwrap the Feels,? which shows the range of powerful emotions and reactions when people immerse themselves in new VR worlds with Samsung Gear VR (see story). 

A variation of the ride experience will be available at select malls across the country starting December 14.

?Events like this can provide a good, ?authentic? foundation for Samsung's holiday campaign,? Mr. McNally said. ?We expect every major consumer brand to bombard us with holiday campaigns, and we know these campaigns are dreamed up on ad agency whiteboards, not Santa's workshop. 

?For a brand trying to fill consumer's heads with thoughts of holiday magic, it's very helpful to ground these campaigns with things like New York Christmas to keep things from seeming like just yet another holiday ad campaign to get us to buy more product?which, of course, this is. ?

Holiday campaign
Those interested in Samsung?s immersive holiday experience can check the installation?s hours of operation here.

Samsung has been taking an on-the-ground approach to marketing this holiday season, even if the products it is advertising haven?t been particularly well received as of yet. The company is attempting to assuage the public?s ambivalence towards data collection and warm consumers to the Internet of Things through a promotion with a local attraction in Philadelphia (see story)

?VR has massive potential for marketing in a broad sense, and it's likely that the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear will be a part of that,? Mr. McNally said. ?There are challenges on the content side?good VR content is still a challenge to produce, and figuring out how to weave in brand messaging in a sensible way is even more challenging?and on the delivery-method side.  

?Gear is one of the leaders in consumer-accessible VR hardware, so it will likely be a leader in branded VR content in the coming months or years.?