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Story vs. Experience: How I Learned to Stop Thinking About the Plot


INFLUENCER: Virtual reality has been a revelation for story-obsessed Artur Szatkowski at Hypermedia linked by Isobar...

Story vs. Experience: How I Learned to Stop Thinking About the Plot

Stories have always been a significant part of my life. Ever since I was a kid, whether I was enjoying a book, a game or a movie, I always had one major expectation:  it needed to tell a good story (which is why I only  started reading non-fiction books in my twenties, something I now bitterly regret). Of course, this didn't mean that I wouldn't take other factors into account (for example, if the writing or acting was lousy, I would probably  cease reading or watching). But the key factor was whether I thought the story I was being told was good. This is why I would always choose Neil Gaiman over business literature, Heavy Rain over Battlefield (and many years earlier I completed Street Fighter 2 with every character to find out their backstories). 

Now I know I missed a lot of quality stuff and have a lot of catching up to do,  but at the time I was happy – there were so many good stories to be found.

Since getting into advertising, I have come across the 'marketing is storytelling' attitude many times... And frankly it never got to me. My fellow copywriters would  probably hate me for saying that, but I can't name many campaigns that would impress me with their 'plot'. Good pieces of marketing content are all about emotions, experience or humour, but I have always felt their format & purpose limitations do not allow them to build intricate, multi-layered stories within campaigns.

As I grew up, my attitude towards literature and cinema changed and I was no longer as obssessed with the plot as I used to be. However, it was the rise of VR – the medium I have been waiting for since I was nine – that became a real gamechanger. You see, I am truly crazy about virtual reality, although – to my own surprise - I do not usually care about the story behind the content.  Though it might change in the future, at the moment VR is all about EXPERIENCE. 

The feeling when I am virtually doing a test drive in New Zealand, or testing my skills in a VR windsurfing race, or looking at the world through the eyes of the animal (a truly psychedelic experience!), and discovering my (well hidden up until now!) artistic talent in Tilt Brush makes me forget that I ever needed a plot. ”One of the things that is fun about it is that there aren't rules… yet.  They're all being written,” said Gabriel Lifton-Zoline, COO of Ryot.

I believe it is right now that marketers should be thinking of leveraging VR in their campaigns. Why? Because it is (probably) a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work on a new, exciting communication channel.

Because no rules apply for it... yet. 

Because consumers are not tired with it.

Because putting a VR headset on for the first time is anything but ordinary. 

Because it is purely emotional. 

And there is no bigger value for your brand. 

McLuhan's words ''the medium is the message'' – albeit over 50 years old - are more relevant now than ever.  So go, make your first attempts with VR extraordinary!

Artur Szatkowski is a Creative Technologist Consultant at Hypermedia linked by Isobar

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Dentsu Creative UK, Fri, 04 Nov 2016 15:50:21 GMT