- Disney is promoting the Broadway musical "Aladdin" with an online virtual reality (VR) ad that gives viewers a 360-degree view of a song performed in the show. By clicking on a banner or pre-roll video ad, viewers can see an immersive view of main characters Genie and Aladdin as they sing "Friend Like Me," according to a press release shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The 360-degree view also shows digital overlays of text and graphics of facts about the show, while urging viewers to move around their mobile devices or click and drag the screen to look around. Facts about the musical include, "During the course of 'Friend like Me,' Genie travels the equivalent of 24 basketball courts in 8 minutes."
- Disney and ad agency Serino Coyne worked with Omnivirt, a VR and augmented reality (AR) ad platform, to develop the campaign. Koncept VR produced the video and OmniVirt helped distribute the ad units to reach Broadway audiences.
One of the challenges in promoting a Broadway show is giving viewers a sense of what it's like to experience a live theatrical performance through traditional TV commercials or two-dimensional banner ads. Disney and Omnivirt's recent partnership offers a more immersive view of the show "Aladdin" through mobile tech, aimed at families with kids who are likely familiar with sophisticated smartphones and video-sharing sites like YouTube. Mobile marketers need a way to engage viewers with compelling ads, especially as ad blockers, short attention spans and possible technical glitches remain as key challenges.
This promotion for "Aladdin" isn't the first time Disney has used 360-degree ads for a Broadway show. The company previously partnered with Omnivirt to create an immersive video for the "The Lion King" that appears on the show's website and YouTube channel. Disney is among the media companies using AR/VR ads to more strongly connect audiences to shows and movies. During the 2017 holiday season, Universal Pictures partnered with OmniVirt to promote the movie "Pitch Perfect 3" with AR banners targeted at fans of the movie series. Those banner ads saw 10x the number of interactions and click-through rates of 2D versions, OmniVirt CEO Brad Phaisan said in a statement. These results signal the marketing power of AR to captivate audiences for a longer period and drive engagement.
Immersive videos, including 360-degree, give users more control of what they experience when viewing an ad and learning about a brand. With last year's rollout of new AR development kits from Apple, Google and Facebook, brands are increasingly adding the tech to their marketing mix. Google identified sales and marketing as a key enterprise application for AR/VR technologies, in addition to education, design and worker training, per a report by Deloitte. Google foresees AR/VR being used to demonstrate products, to provide interaction with digital product catalogs and to let buyers familiarize themselves with products for making a purchase. Worldwide spending on AR/VR is forecast to nearly triple this year to $27 billion from $9.1 billion in 2017, the International Data Corporation reported last week.