- Brewing company Molson Canadian and sports media brand Sportsnet are bringing virtual front row seats to fans for six upcoming NHL games per a joint press release.
- The games will be shot with three 360 VR cameras and fans will be able to watch the action via special virtual reality viewers available exclusively in select cases of Molson Canadian beer across Canada. The viewers require a smartphone to work.
- "We are continually pushing innovation across our Sportsnet channels to give sports fans the best and most immersive experience," said Rob Corte, Vice President of Production, Sportsnet, in the press release. "Together with Molson, we are at the forefront of another 'first' for hockey fans, and are excited to bring them this unique viewing experience."
For fans, getting set up for VR broadcasts is fairly self-contained. They just have to buy specially marked cases of Molson Canadian which contain the VR headset, a unique pin code to access the VR content and instructions on downloading the VR compatible mobile Sportsnet app. The strategy echoes a The New York Times campaign in which it sent Google Cardboard disposable VR headsets to subscribers.
Virtual reality deployment by brands is likely to remain something of a novelty in the near-term, but marketers can take some lessons from this campaign. The content itself is compelling because it is live sports, and it is putting fans into front row seats while sitting in their own homes. The rollout is interesting because Molson and Sportsnet are providing users with the entire package from VR viewer to step-by-step instructions on accessing that content. Existing VR headsets are expensive, so Molson is betting on gaining a wider audience and earning credibility as a technologically savvy brand with the effort.
Because VR technology is still so new, anything marketers can do that make it easy for consumers to engage with a virtual reality campaign should go a long way toward successful results.