Entertainment and narratives will become more immersive and enveloping in a bid to capture consumers' imagination and attention.

As we outline in one of our 10 Trends for 2014, entertainment, narratives and brand experiences will become more immersive and altogether more enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention. Lately we’re seeing automakers turning to high-tech Immersive Experiences in a bid to catch the attention of Millennials, a generation that’s proving to be lukewarm on car ownership. 

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At the recent Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan procured the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift—a much-buzzed-about device that’s due out in 2014—to entice attendees into engaging with the brand. More than 1,500 people tried it out, going into a 3D world where their wanderings resulted in the design of a concept car. Starting with a chassis, participants could build on by deciding which areas of the landscape to explore—for instance, in a scenario featuring kayaks in a river and hot air balloons, those who moved toward the water indicated a desire for adventure, while going for the balloons showed a preference for elegance and comfort. These factors were incorporated into the final car design.

In Canada, JWT worked with Mazda to turn select Cineplex cinemas in Toronto and Vancouver into enveloping gaming experiences. During November, before the feature film, a short film showed two Mazda3 cars racing. Audience members could sync their smartphone to control their own virtual vehicle and race against other moviegoers, with an onscreen leaderboard tracking their progress. Players could win concession products.

As all kinds of brands create innovative Immersive Experiences, consumer expectations will continually increase. Experiences will need to be cutting-edge, beautifully designed, perfectly executed and wildly imaginative.