Facebook’s 360° videos have been around for almost a year now, and while they haven’t exactly changed the way marketers work just yet, they remain a tool that can be used to tell a story in a way that just hasn’t previously been possible. There’s plenty of potential for great imaginative marketing using 360° videos and VR technology as that develops and grows in popularity.
Facebook itself has published a series of stunning-looking videos, including the famous surfing one shot on GoPro featuring Anthony Walsh and Matahi Drollet, which was used to promote its expansion into showing these videos on mobiles. Another one, produced by its in-house production team The Factory showcased the technology by setting it within New York’s iconic Grand Central Station, using its Surround 360 camera. It took five weeks to film and has been viewed almost 8m times so far.
The videos are of course designed to wow Facebook users and showcase its technology and entice advertisers into using it for their own campaigns. And they certainly have. Here’s some of our favourite marketing-related Facebook 360° videos:
The irreverent nature of this unusual Ryan Reynolds-starring comic book movie meant that marketers could go almost anywhere with how they advertised it, and they pretty much literally did that. It also meant that this kind of technology was well suited to the character, who appears several times in this 360° video, making it far more entertaining than you’d expect from a video of one guy in a bar and rewards multiple views, or at the very least, multiple rotations. The playful marketing for this film was a huge part of its appeal and this video alone has been viewed 11m times.
Game of Thrones
As part of the build-up to the sixth season of popular HBO TV show Game Of Thrones, the marketing team took the obvious, but genius, approach of making a 360° video that places users within the opening credits. Given that it portrays the various lands that the show takes place in, it’s a particularly immersive experience for anyone who has been obsessively watching the goings-on in Westeros, even if the nature of it is a little disorienting at times with so much movement going on. Over 13.5m people have so far watched this video, which is more than watched the official season finale in the USA and UK combined.
This one may not have been specifically marketing anything other than perhaps USA Today itself, but it’s one of the most impressive videos you’ll see of any kind. It features the US Navy Blue Angels team doing their stunts, which are mind-blowing enough to see from the ground but are rarely seen from the perspective of the pilots themselves. And even they can’t see the full 360 degrees normally. Longer than many of these videos, it’s worth every minute. 18m people have seen it so far.
The January blizzards that swamped much of America feel a world away now, but through the wonders of Facebook videos and either your phone or VR device, you can be stood right there in Times Square as the snow piles up around your feet. ABC News did the video, showing how breaking news can be captured using the latest technology to really take viewers into it, without getting frostbite, in this case. Again, this was a huge success, gaining over 18m views from people all over the world who wanted to experience the New York snow.
One of the biggest cultural events of 2015 was the release of the first new Star Wars film in years, and The Force Awakens was a huge success from a critical and commercial perspective. It was also the perfect film to try out new advertising options like 360° videos, and this one gave users the thrill of being involved in a chase scene on the planet Jakku in unique footage done especially for this platform. It’s been viewed over 7m times and certainly helped build up the anticipation for the movie itself.
New Orleans Saints
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a part of a major sporting event? The New Orleans Saints NFL team shared this awesome video of their players entering the field before a game with all the noise, razzmatazz, drama and smoke (lots of smoke) that you expect from an American event. As with the Blue Angels video above, it’s a way of giving us (the little people) the chance to experience something we’ll never experience in real life. Marketers who can use that angle to promote their products will always have the chance of creating a viral hit, like this one, which reached 3.5m people.
It’s not surprising that National Geographic has embraced this technology as creating and sharing stunning images of nature is its raison d’etre, and it has so far been responsible for many of the most beautiful Facebook 360° videos. This one takes viewers into a volcanic eruption in Russia, riding in a helicopter to Klyuchevskoy, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Photos or a simple video would be a perfectly fine way of showing us this, but the sense of ‘being there’ that this video brings is just incredible, and 7.5m people have watched it so far.
Ben Stiller’s Zoolander sequel was a long time coming and didn’t really set the world on fire, but this immersive trailer showed its potential and demonstrated that any failure at the box office couldn’t be laid at the feet of its marketing department. Set in the hustle and bustle of a photoshoot and featuring Stiller himself, it’s great fun and will keep you moving the camera around throughout to see everything that is happening. Over 8.6m people have watched it so far and it has probably made more of an impact than the actual film did.
These have been some of the best that we’ve seen, but we want to hear from you. What have been your favourite Facebook 360° videos so far? Which brands have used it really well and which ones need to try harder? Let us know in the comments section below.