Cannes Lions | Article
Virtual Reality Comes Of Age

Last year Virtual Reality (VR) was much discussed at Cannes Lions. This year, it truly arrived. Seven sessions included VR in their title and many more referenced the new technology. Samsung, recognised as the 2016 Creative Marketer of the Year, focused their Cannes activation almost entirely on VR – offering a roller coaster experience in the Palais and a secret one with theatre company Deep Water that left those lucky enough to experience it reeling as their brains struggled to figure out what was real and what wasn’t.

Kevin Kelly, Founder of Wired, boldly predicted: “We are moving with VR into an internet of experiences where there are things that are felt, emotional, shared. Experiences are going to be the new currency. You’re going to buy experiences, download them and share them. VR will become the most social of all the social media.” Meanwhile, Deloitte reported VR is on track to have its first billion-dollar year. Here are some of the highlights from Cannes Lions 2016…

1) The New Medium

“We are very lucky because very rarely in a lifetime do we actually experience the invention of a new medium” – Marc Mathieu – Chief Marketing Officer – Samsung Electronics America

2) Creatives Engaging

“I am fascinated by Virtual Reality. When I was making ‘Birdman’ and ‘The Revenant’ I wanted them to be very sensorial experiences. And in that sense, I think VR will put the audience in a very extreme, experiential way. I think it’s a fascinating thing that is about to launch. We will have to explore the grammar of how it works; the idea of 360 degrees – giving the audience the power to choose what they look at and when. Normally, I am choosing that one frame and editing out 95% of it. That multi-challenge that we have is now super exciting” – Alejandro González Iñárritu – Academy Award-winning Director, Writer and Producer

3) VR In Healthcare

The innovative ‘Migraine Experience‘ for GSK Consumer Health used VR to simulate the difficult visual symptoms that often signal the beginning of migraines.

4) There’s A New Language Being Created By VR

5) VR Can Save Publishing (And Win Lions)

The New York Times’ ‘NYT VR’ project won both the Mobile and Entertainment Grands Prix, proving perhaps how traditional media outlets are waking up to the journalistic possibilities of VR to create immersive experiences for their customers. Entertainment Lions Jury President Jae Goodman went so far as to claim VR “catapulted the Gray Lady 100 years forward”.

6) Gaming Is Driving VR’s Adoption

“We are going to be creating 500,000 opportunities for people to sample PlayStation VR this year. We are bringing a high-quality experience at an accessible price and are probably going to be the biggest seller of VR in 2016” – Dr Richard Marks – Director – PlayStation Magic Labs

7) As VR Grows, Creativity Will Matter More Than Ever

“We’ve got to remember that technology enables opportunity, but it’s creativity that enables value. We say to clients [they] must not under invest in that, that’s what’s really important; that’s what will lead to success” – Sir John Hegarty – Founder, Creative – Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty

8) VR Will Truly Come Of Age For Gen Y

“For our kids VR will be a Tardis they can time travel in. For us at the moment it‘s just pure escapism” – Sarah Wood – co-Founder and co-CEO – Unruly

This multi-Gold winning campaign shows how VR can inspire the next generation.

9) The Industry Is Desperate To Extend VR’s Reach

“Our challenge is about extending the VR experience to as many people as possible. To date it’s still been about a silo-ed experience, perhaps at an event. It can be packaged up for reach online, but we’re excited about headsets being in living rooms. And getting round the silo-ed nature of VR” – Karen Boswell – Interactive Lead – adam&eveDDB

10) Google Remains At The Cutting Edge When It Comes To VR

Google Cardboard was the Mobile Grand Prix winner at Cannes Lions 2015. The company returned to Cannes Lions 2016 to showcase their Full Tilt software, with 38-year Walt Disney veteran animator Glen Keane drawing the Little Mermaid in VR live on stage in a matter of minutes.

Originally Appeared on Cannes Stories.

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