Sure, we're all talking about VR, but which brands are already using it?

Here are three examples of early adopters, from publishing, travel and fashion.

And for more on VR, see A Marketer's Guide to Virtual Reality.

Tommy Hilfiger

The Samsung Gear VR, a headset that works with selected Samsung devices, is on sale to consumers next month.

Tommy Hilfiger is already making good use of the technology in its Fifth Avenue store in the Big Apple.

Tommy Hilfiger's Autumn fashion show, filmed in New York with a 3D camera, is presented to the viewer in an example of immersive 360 degree video.

It seems that 3D films, as opposed to explorable environments (virtual or otherwise) will be the first widely adopted use of VR by brands.

WeMakeVr, a Netherlands based VR specialist, created the film for Tommy Hilfiger. Daniel Grieder, chief executive of Tommy Hilfiger, is quoted in the New York Times:

These days, you can’t just wait for people to come into the store and try on your jackets. You have to provide entertainment.

It’s not about turnover by square foot anymore. It’s about surprise by square foot, or newness.

Although this sounds rather enigmatic it's indicative of how much tech has become a part of high fashion.

tommy VR 

The New York Times

The New York Times has been planning an assault on VR for some time it seems, with a number of 3D films being released to subscribers.

Those receiving delivery of the newspaper will also get the still-amusingly-titled Google Cardboard in the post, too, letting them adapt their smartphones to view the content.

A VR app will also be released, available for free in both app stores in November 2015, as well as 2D versions of the films on the NYT website and YouTube channel.

The first film is part of the NYT Magazine; titled “The Displaced,”, it centres on children uprooted by war. Dean Baquet, executive editor, was quoted in the NYT.

[The New York Times] has created the first critical, serious piece of journalism using virtual reality, to shed light on one of the most dire humanitarian crises of our lifetime.

Interestingly, GE and MINI are the project's sponsors and both deliver VR films as part of the experience.

This shows the multipronged attack of NYT on sponsored and native content, alongside subscriber revenue.

google cardboard

Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook at its Bluewater shopping centre concept store in sunny England is getting in on the VR act in an industry arguably best-suited to the technology.

Customers will be able to use Oculus Rift (though not yet the fully realised device, rather a developer's version) to view one of the company's Sentido resorts as well as, rather bizarrely, the in-flight experience.

thomas cook VR

Crucially, this is a use case where the customer will be able to actually explore an environment within VR, by turning their head and using a handset.

Thomas Cook is completing a sensory triumvirate by using audio and fragrance to create an immersive experience.

John Straw, Chairman of Thomas Cook's Digital Advisory Board, seems confident that VR will make an impact in travel.

The technology advancements in virtual reality over the last 18 months have made it a real contender for playing a key role in changing the way we can showcase experience-based products to our customers, especially in the high street environment. 

Ben Davis

Published 21 October, 2015 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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