- Lionsgate and Unity Technologies have teamed up to create a virtual reality (VR) ad to promote the release of "Jigsaw," the latest movie in the long-running "Saw" franchise, per a press release.
- Lionsgate unveiled the ad with an Escape Room installation during New York Comic-Con, which ran Oct. 5-8, and will roll the content out online this month ahead of the film's release on Halloween. The VR experience includes real props from the movie rendered in VR, a voice-over from actor Tobin Bell and shrines to the eight films in the Saw franchise.
- The Jigsaw Virtual Room will also be distributed through the Samsung Internet for VR app and Spiraloid's "Nanite Fulcrum" digital graphic novel. Comic book readers on GearVR or Oculus Rift can virtually enter a Jigsaw comic book panel within the app.
VR continues to evolve beyond a strict gaming approach to offer a variety of ways for consumers and brands to participate in immersive experiences, even as the space continues to show somewhat sluggish growth.
Both Unity and Lionsgate touted the storytelling possibilities of VR in the press release, describing the Jigsaw Virtual Room as "just the beginning" as a proof-of-concept for broad-reaching, deeply immersive ads that can appear in formats like VR, augmented reality, 360-degree mobile video and playable ads. Such experiences let brands more deeply tell a story with compelling and memorable interactions, according to Julie Shumaker, VP of advertiser solutions at Unity.
The VR ad combines the storytelling power of immersive content with an interactive experience, a potentially effective move as interactive video ads boost viewing time among users by 47%, according to a recent study from Magna, a media strategy group of ad giant IPG Media Lab. Even if users don't engage with the interactive ad itself, the option to do so makes it 32% more memorable than static ads, per the study, driving 9x higher impact on purchase intent.
Given the hardware requirements along with massive processing power needed for a fully-immersive VR experience, it makes sense that movie theaters and film production studios are becoming some of the early adopters and distributors of VR content. In September, AMC Entertainment announced a partnership with Dreamscape Immersive to open six VR centers in the U.S. and U.K. over the next 18 months at standalone installations and repurposed movie theaters.