ABOUT: Adopted Londoner from Paris, Christophe co-founded Somewhere Else after 8 years spent here between digital strategy consultancy and music events. For a proud geek fascinated by tech and storytelling of all kinds, VR came as a revelation: a new medium in its own right with a visceral and emotional impact like none before. Somewhere Else was built from that overarching philosophy: exploring new ways to tell stories to build deeper, enjoyable relationships between brands and their audiences.
How did you guys get into VR ?
– On a rainy autumn night in a Hoxton Pub, my now business partner Julien, showed me The Night Café on an Oculus DK2. Being physically present and able to walk around what felt like a world painted by Van Gogh drove me insane…Beyond the initial awe, we quickly saw VR as a solution to one of modern marketing’s most crucial problem. In the Age of Experience, we have grown somewhat ad-blind and our attention span has dwindled to that of a goldfish. Moreover, experience has replaced ownership as today’s social currency. This new generation of customers doesn't want to own products but to
experience brands. VR, short of reality, is the most experiential medium there is: a powerful way to engage people physically and emotionally.
We launched Somewhere Else as a creative agency specialised in immersive technologies, looking at building the bridge between strategy and creative execution to help brands win in the Age of Experience.
What can I as a customer expect in terms of communication and collaboration?
– It can be daunting to be a brand looking at immersive technologies today. The market is still small meaning that virtually no agencies have invested in internal immersive tech-focused teams. That means that from a strategic, creative and technological point of view, there’s a lot of head scratching behind closed doors…That´s why I believe brands need specialists who can turn strategic business needs into VR-native creative. We’ve built our proprietary adaptive framework (all beautifully laid out on our website). In short, together with you, we dig deep into your ecosystem, filter away false assumptions and forge solid insights to reach a realistic version of the challenge at play. Then we bring makers and thinkers at the same table, writing and prototyping and writing and prototyping until finally we’re ready to produce meaningful VR.
How would you describe your company culture?
– It’s an organic one, a mirror of who we are as individuals. I believe passionate and adventurous would be a good description.
What is your company’s core expertise?
– Business Strategy. Our client’s strategy. Too many VR experiences today are beautiful but strategically pointless. Worse, a lot still feel like a video or app concept shoehorned into a VR brief…I believe we speak the language of the brands and the language of VR. That’s what allows us to make beautiful and; impactful work with a solid strategic backbone– experiences that cut through noise and help brands tell their stories
Can you explain to me why I should invest in a VR marketing campaign?
– As a marketing medium, VR is uniquely powerful. Here are 4 reasons why:
– Immersion: VR captures 100% of your brain’s visual and audio input. No marketing
channel has ever been so immersive.
– Creativity: VR un-frames your brand world and lets your audience step inside it. There’s
no limit to where you can take your brand story.
– Memorability: In VR, your brain forgets the real world and accepts VR as its reality. VR
doesn’t convey information, it implants memories. Brand-related memories shared by
– Behavioral Impact: VR elicits powerful emotions, including empathy, desire and joy.
These, in turn, build behavioral changes – Marketing’s Holy Grail!
What sort of VR marketing experiences do you think we will see in the future?
– The future of VR can’t be dissociated from Mixed Reality. In 5-10 years there will be a mass- market for all-in- one MR/VR headsets that will, if not entirely replace, at least take over for some of the things we do on our laptop, phone and TV. You’ll be working, playing and communicating in MR, and you’ll jump into VR mode to have an otherworldly experience. That’s why I believe that there will be an extensive spectrum of experiences, from personalised AI-powered holographic ads populating the real word via mixed reality to gigantic multiplayer VR activations bringing in all sorts of immersion enhancing technologies such as Haptics, Smell etc. Basically all 5 senses will be stimulated.
What are the risks and pitfalls with VR marketing? Can you describe what you would advise against doing?
– Beware of the yea-sayers : 95% of VR ideas are terrible. Take the time to ask yourself the usual questions about message, audience, touch points, etc. Then and only then we might talk creative!
Pick a brand and product that you like and tell me what sort of campaign you would create, given total freedom and an unlimited budget!
– I’d love to bring Daft Punk’s universe to life as one interactive multiplayer dystopian-yet- funky experience. As most VR marketing campaigns, it should be seen more as a “brought to you by” experience than a product-centric thing. I see it being fantastic as a Netflix VR Original creation
How would you define a successful VR marketing experience?
– The same way you’d define any successful marketing campaign! Brands objectives and KPIs will for the most part remain the same.
What is it about VR that gets you excited?
– I see VR as a baby. It’s full of promises but it’s still babbling. I can’t wait for the creative language and storytelling toolbox of VR to become as refined as cinema’s or music’s. It literally gets better every month. I’m waiting for the Sgt. Peppers of VR and everything that comes after
STUDIO: Somewhere Else