Companies that specialize in creating in-app product ads that imitate the ambiance of the games in which they appear are becoming high art.
Now MediaSpike, a big player in this space, is “doing the same thing for virtual reality, so that the emerging platform isn’t plagued by banner ads and other intrusive advertising.”
That’s the take from Dean Takahashi writing in a recent VentureBeat post.
“The in-game virtual reality ads are part of the “native advertising” movement to make ads more welcome and less intrusive,” says Takahashi. “As the brands start to get excited about virtual reality as a game and media platform, MediaSpike wants to head off the urge to stick lame banner ads all over it. So it has adapted its in-game product placement platform to handle ads in virtual reality.”
The virtual reality world is looking very cool.
“I’ve seen the ad platform company’s virtual reality demo using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset,” notes Takahashi. “In the demo, you can see movie posters on walls in a 3D city. You can see a giant drive-in movie screen running video ads. And you can ride around in a blimp with product placements such as a can of Pepsi or a poster plastered on the side of a blimp.”
Since Oculus was snapped up by (for a big $ 2 billion) by Facebook, virtual reality is getting a real boost.
“We’re trying to undo the damage done by the banner ad industries,” explains Blake Commagere, CEO at MediaSpike. “Once VR gets consumer attention, brands will want presence there. Unchecked, it’s going to be crummy banners in this amazing 3D experience. We adapted our platform to Oculus to head off the mistakes of the past.”
Takahashi was quite taken with the demos he experienced.
“When I viewed the demo with an Oculus headset, it was very absorbing. You could maneuver through a city in a car and stop in front of a giant screen that was akin to a drive-in movie,” he says. “The video of the Despicable Me minions covered all of my field of view. Then I stepped aboard a blimp and floated around the city. The sign on the side of the blimp was an advertisement, and I could see billboards below with ads embedded in them.”
There was a bit of levity, too.
“Commagere played a joke on me by saying I should reach out to grab the can of Pepsi in front of me in the blimp cockpit,” Takahashi recalls. “I reached out, and he placed a cold can of Pepsi in my hand. It was a good joke, but it brought home the point of advertising in virtual reality.”
MediaSpike is set to release a new virtual reality/augmented reality version of its Unity SDK. It could be the best thing to happen to in-app brand advertisers.
“We want developers to be thinking about advertising as a revenue channel that makes their game better and more realistic,” Commagere said. “It’s not just a necessary evil. They don’t have to settle for banner ads. They can do something that is really cool for the user experience.”