It’s an argument I’ve heard time and time again from people who have never used VR. “You look so dumb with a headset on. No one wants to wear something on their head.” Then you give them a headset and they become an instant convert.
Unfortunately, Samsung’s latest Gear VR commercial doesn’t exactly do anything to combat this fallacy—my response to which is always: the better an experience is, the dumber people will be willing to look to have it. In fact, rather than combat it, the commercial practically points it out (notice the people staring in bewilderment in the background at 1:02 and giggling at 1:20).
The key problem with the commercial is that the people it should be targeting are those onlookers in the background who have never tried virtual reality.
Imagine you have two people on the couch watching this commercial. One has tried VR and the other has not. The one that has tried VR knows exactly what the guy in the commercial wearing the headset is experiencing and will relate to him. The other person on the couch who has never tried VR is more likely to relate to the onlookers in the background who think that the man in the foreground looks like a goof as he leaves mouth agape at scenes unseen by the outsiders.
A truly effective ad would help convey the worth of donning the headset to those that have never tried it. How much more successful would it have been to have the ad’s protagonist beckon one of the onlookers to the chair, only to see them have the same jaw-dropped reaction?
Personally I think Samsung’s previous attempts at Gear VR commercials were more effective.
What the commercial does do well is subtly emphasize that the experience is all powered by the Galaxy S6 Edge. True, we see the protagonist put the phone into the headset at the beginning, but between then and the end we see a lot of attention-grabbing things (including a bear drink beer). The phone call at the end reminds both our protagonist that he’s left his device, and the viewer that said device is actually a smartphone, effectively sandwiching the rest of the ad’s content between that point.