GroupM’s New Virtual Reality Partnership Opens Up Whole New World: APAC CEO Josh Black

GroupM’s New Virtual Reality Partnership Opens Up Whole New World: APAC CEO Josh Black

Stepping into the virtual reality market, media investment group, GroupM, has announced its new partnership with augmented reality company Happy Finish.

CEO of GroupM Asia Pacifc, Josh Black, said there’s been lots of interesting developments with the virtual reality technology for brands to utilise and it’s beneficial for clients and brands as traditional advertising doesn’t get the same sort of education and utility virtual reality can.

“Virtual Reality adds a whole new dimension in the one thing that has always worked for brands and always will – stories told well,” said Black.

“Virtual Reality, when done properly, will immerse consumers in a whole new world of branded storytelling that advertisers have struggled to often do well repetitively with 2D video technology.”

The partnership is throughout the Asia Pacific region, and Happy Finish’s offices in China and India will help develop creative solutions for GroupM clients across APAC.

When asked whether it would be classified as branded content, Black said it could be either traditional advertising or branded content. “The industry has a fairly clear and agreed definition of what advertising is but I think when it comes to content, very few people actually agree on what branded content is or isn’t,” he said.

“Virtual reality could be either depending on how it is executed and how engaging or interrupting it is OR how much of a lean forward or lean back experience it creates. It would all come down to execution and intent.”

The work Happy Finish will bring for GroupM clients will create an immersive experience “that lets people sit in their living room but actually think that they are in the exact location where the footage was shot”, such as being a spectator in a sporting stadium or test drive a car.

“Brands that use the principles of adding value, adding utility to a consumers experience or educating them, will be the winners,” said Black.

Commenting on the agreement, Stuart Waplington (pictured above), group chairman of Happy Finish, said: “Recent developments in Virtual and Augmented Reality technology have laid the foundations for the next digital revolution. This technology has the power to change every area of our lives, digital experiences will merge with the physical world and virtual experiences will affect us on a deep emotional level.

“GroupM are global leaders and are very forward thinking with a disruptive mindset that makes them the perfect partner for Happy Finish as this technology moves into the mainstream. Our emphasis is on using this technology to deliver measurable results for GroupM clients.”

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