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DEPARTMENT OF THE FUTURE

A CONTENT AGENCY

The Future Of VR Marketing

There is no doubt that virtual reality is taking over the world.

It’s predicted that by 2020, the economic impact of virtual reality will reach $29.5 billion, and 82 million VR headsets will be sold.

Virtual reality, or VR, is interactive software that immerses you in a digitally simulated experience.

In a business sense, VR allows consumers to get a true feel of the brand and product without actually committing to buying it. It also helps make the brand stand out from the crowd and become extremely relevant and modern.

Within the list of Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands, 75 percent created VR projects for their customers or employees. From food to cars, hotels to universities, VR seems to be the new best thing in advertising as it is interactive, interesting and generally fun.

In 2016, IKEA launched their VR kitchen experience, allowing customers to virtually explore and remodel their kitchen. Users could adjust their height to view the environment from a child or adult’s perspective, interact with the IKEA furniture and appliances and even cook the iconic IKEA meatballs.

“Though gaming is at the heart of virtual reality, it is clear that the technology’s non-gaming potential applications are massive as well,” gaming website Gamespot said.

“Being able to virtually shop for IKEA furniture is just one example”.

In a similar way, the American home improvement store Lowe’s incorporates a ‘Holoroom How To’, a VR tool that helps teach customers how to do DIY projects. Not only is it a fun activity where you virtually paint walls or tile floors, but it is a memorable experience that cleverly demonstrates how to use the store’s products.

Other interesting innovations with VR technology include Topshop, who used virtual reality to provide a catwalk experience from London Fashion Week, and later won an Event Technology award for Best Virtual Event. Audi claimed to have launched the world’s first VR system in the automotive retail industry in 2016, allowing customers to have a very realistic experience exploring the individually configured cars.

The Marriott Hotels had a similar experience called ‘The Teleporter’, where users were virtually transported to various locations around the world to showcase that the Marriott is global and will always be there for you.

There have also been simple, animated virtual reality experiences that advertise a brand successfully. In 2016, Oreo released a virtual reality film that takes viewers through a tour of its ‘Wonder Vault’ and how their Filled Cupcake Flavoured Oreos are made. Coca Cola had a VR Sleigh Ride in 2015, making the brand stand out from the crowd through modern technology while also engaging with children.

In terms of storytelling, New Zealand’s Fire and Emergency released a 360 VR video where users experienced what a real house fire is like. The video featured facts and tips about how to prevent fires, while also incorporating strong sounds and visuals of a real emergency situation.

While recruiting students, New York University sent future engineering students a cardboard VR device to experience a virtual tour of Mars. Not only did the VR showcase how NYU stands out from other schools, but the tour illustrates the skills and experiences that potential students could have at the university.

No longer is VR technology just used as a tool for gaming. Brands have managed to successfully apply virtual reality in their advertisements, revolutionising the way products are experienced.

Although VR has only recently experienced a breakthrough in the marketing industry, there is no doubt that it is effective in educating and engaging an audience in an exciting and innovative way. It is also not a coincidence that the biggest brands in the world are the main users of this modern tool.

It might just be getting its start in the industry, but don’t be surprised if VR becomes the main form of content in the next five years. Perhaps it won’t even take that long.

To find out more about how VR could work for your brand or storytelling process, get in touch

DOTF Blog: What We Talk About When We Talk About Graphics

What we now classify as a “video” is really made up of a multitude of elements – and graphics are some of the most significant elements. But what do we mean by “graphics”? When you’re reading a treatment or quote, what does “graphics” cover?

At DOTF, we use the term “graphics” to refer to any imagery created in a video that has not been created through a camera shooting motion imagery.  This includes motion graphics, animation, 3D rendering, lower thirds, end frames, keying, and special effects. Confused? Have a read through our quick glossary below.

Motion Graphics

Is it a graphic that moves? It’s a motion graphic. It’s not necessarily an animation, but it is animated (in the sense that it is moving). Mostly used to refer to a logo and text elements, such as lower thirds, titles, and end frames.

Animation

Whilst the difference between animation and motion graphics is widely discussed, argued and varies from place to place, here at DOTF we like to define animation specifically as a motion graphic that has been created specifically for the video. An animation doesn’t involve making existing still assets move – that’s motion graphic – but drawing, designing and creating something entirely new for the video.

 

Deakin University – Masters of Business Analysis (MBusAn) from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

3D Rendering

A 3D rendering is a sub-group of animation. Working in 3D is more intensive than standard animation, but can be particularly effective.

 

RMIT Building & Construction Animation from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

Lower Thirds

Present in most documentary content, a lower third is onscreen text, usually in the lower third of the screen, that gives names and other appropriate information about what’s happening on screen. They may also involve calls-to-action, URLs, location information, anything appropriate for the content being created.  They may be static or animated, depending on the style of the content. Fonts and additional assets will usually be drawn from a brand’s existing style guide for cohesion unless requested otherwise.

 

RMIT025 – Gaming – Main Video – FINAL – SUBS from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

Animated Text (also referred to as Titles)

Separate to lower thirds, animated text is fairly self-explanatory, and refers to moving text on and off screen (or even around it, if necessary) throughout the content. Frequently used to emphasise key messaging and calls to action.

 

Melbourne Fringe 2016 – Step Into The Light from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

Endframes

Again, fairly self-explanatory, these are generally the last visuals of the video, and frequently have a logo, a call-to-action or tagline and contact details for the brand. This almost always involves motion, either of the logo, the text or any other details.

 

Monash 2016 Winterfest Highlights from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

Keying (also known as Chromakeying)

This is when we get the old greenscreen out (although that’s not always necessary). Keying is used to replace one part of an image with another – for an effect that is smoother, cleaner and more natural than just layering the other image over the top.

 

City of Stonnington – Cato Square Parking from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

Special Effects

This refers to a broad range of motion graphics skills and can be used to do basically anything. Set things on “fire”, remove numberplates from cars in the background, blur faces, change street signs. These are just a few of the possibilities. Whilst some of these are used to clean up videos, most should be planned in the pre-production phase – and a good content agency will be able to advise which are necessary for your content in this early stage.

 

 

 

DOTF BLOG – Top Video Marketing Trends for 2019

For over a decade, DOTF has been saying that video content is king – and the statistics don’t lie, with over 81% of individuals purchasing a product after viewing video content, and 76% of marketers agreeing that using video has increased their sales.

 

Google also recently announced that auto-playing video previews will be a significant part of mobile searching – and that they’ve been using clever AI to read captions and transcribe audio tracks to make video searchable beyond clever captioning and tagging – making 2019 undoubtedly the year of video.  Whilst our favourite trends from 2018  are still going strong and are definitely informing our picks, here is our outlook for 2019.

 

Vertical Video

Whilst 2018 was the year of diverse aspect ratio, 2019 bows to vertical.

Sure, widescreen still offers cinematic gloss for that YouTube presence (which absolutely should not be underestimated)  and 1:1 looks great on the Insta feed. However, as IGTV,  Stories and Snapchat continue to rise (and Facebook and Instagram post are lost to the incomprehensible world of the algorithm) that lanky 9:16 ratio is where you’ll want your video to go. We’ve been creating and recommending a vertical video for the past couple of years – but in 2019 it’s essential if you want to make sure that your content is seen.

Adidas Originals Superpower Vertical Mobile Ad 2016, directed by Jan Foryś and found on YouTube

E-Learning

Selling isn’t the only path to monetary rewards with video.

Branded video content is obviously the most effective way to engage an audience, leading to increased sales and better brand awareness – however, e-learning content can save employers significant amounts of time and money.

 

Employees have to be trained – and this is often a time-consuming and expensive process. Training video modules that can be done by the individual at home, or in less time and cost than required to take a day out of your employee’s schedule, book a trainer, put on refreshments and all of the other costs and time-wastage that is associated with upskilling.  E-learning can teach more with less and offers flexible engagement in previously unseen ways.

 

Additionally, e-learning content can be combined with promotion in order to engage your audience, and associate the brands with newly acquired knowledge or skills. This has been done with best success by food brands, moving their serving suggestion recipes into the video realm  – and cosmetic brands, engaging to create tutorials of looks featuring their products – but can be applied to a broad range of brands with some creative thinking.

Live Video

Video In The Moment

DOTF prioritises authenticity when it comes to connecting brands with audiences, and the use of the live video function across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitch provide a great opportunity for a real connection with your demographicm with viewers spending more than three times the amount of time on a live video compared to a pre-recorded video.  

Why go live? The main benefits are real-time connection, humanising your brand (which is of ever-increasing importance in 2019, as consumers bring their ethics with their purchasing power), setting customer expectations and the ability for immediate insights into how your audience views your brand.  Also, it can be incredibly cost effective.

You could do a Q&A, like Sephora, take Apple’s lead and bring your global audience to you as you launch a new product, or combine live video with the e-learning trend to broadcast live classes and tutorials – a format particularly popular in the fitness and hospitality sectors.

Our top tip for going live is to work with a content agency who can help to plan your broadcast and offer contingencies and suggestions for live engagements that will bolster your brand and capture your audience. Whilst the brilliance of live video is that your brand and your audience experience simultaneity, sometimes this can go horribly wrong – just ask Lindsay Lohan.


Shoppable Content

Watch, Want, Buy.

 

Whist shoppable content has been around for a while, we imagine that 2019 is the year that it goes mainstream. Shoppable content involves stickers, notes or additional on-content features (such as YouTube has been doing for a few years now) that allows the content viewer to purchase a product featured in the content directly from the content – no additional website trawling. Watch, want, buy.

 

Instagram has joined the game, and whilst they’ve had shoppable posts for a while now, they’ve recently recently introducing product “stickers” (featuring product name, price, description and link to online commerce locations) can be included in Instagram Stories, making it easier to own the product that’s caught your eye.

 

The benefit of shoppable content is that it allows brands to move further away from traditional advertising, and concentrate on authentic engagmenet and building a relationship with their audience – attracting loyal customers and improved sales.

 

Content Length

 

The Long and the Short of It

 

Content length is definitely up for a shake-up in 2019, and whilst the 15-120 second videos will still reign supreme, it’s worth considering looking at significantly shorter videos – and significantly longer.

Whilst Vine may have died, its six-second format left an indelible mark on the video content world. However, that’s not a lot of time to work with. The best way to use that six seconds? Make the content support additional content, working as an element of a larger suite of content, or bigger holistic campaign. You can keep it simple, by ensuring that images, text and colours immediate evoke your brand – or you could go for something quick, cheeky, shocking and fun (following the Vine tradition). In fact, some of the world’s top advertising creative suggest treating the six-second video like a joke. Short. Sharp. Punchline.

 

OW001B – Video 2a – Marcus – Buzzfeed Answers – if you were a girl vignette from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

Laminex – Anna – Stop Motion from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

MasterCard 6 Seconds from Department of the Future on Vimeo.


On the other end of the spectrum, brands are investing in longer form content, using storytelling to support their brand’s ethos and perception rather than necessarily sell specific products or services. Chevrolet teamed with acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee to create a 17-minute documentary about a young female baseballer. The only overt brand presence are the cars used a mode of transport in the final scene, and rather than closing credits, the film ends on the Chevrolet logo. It’s a lovely, moving film and a big name director gives it legitimacy, and gives the audience a warm feeling about Chevrolet as a brand. Tech and telelcommunications brand took it even further, creating a 30 minute short drama, starring Olivia Munn and Joan Chen, showing technology in (admittedly, dramatized) context.

 

Here at DOTF, we’ve championed long-form branded content, creating half-hour and broadcast hour documentaries for HTC and Deakin University.

 

Deakin University – Business – TVC from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

Authenticity

The power of real people.

Influencers and brand ambassadors can be great ways to draw attention to your brand, but at DOTF we’ve always championed authenticity – using real people involved with a brand to represent that brand – and we’re pleased to see this trend emerging for 2019.

Whether it’s the behind-the-scenes crew for Bon Appetit’s test kitchen becoming influencer purely through being real people, doing their jobs, or showing an authentic experience of a student study trip through video diaries and fly-on-the-wall documentaries, as we did for Deakin University, the appeal of the real is on the rise.

Audiences from the Millennial generation and younger are notoriously brutal with brands they see as disingenuous – and this includes the involvement of celebrities and influencers with brands that don’t seem authentic. Even celebrities are happy to call out the hypocrisy, with The Good Place star Jameela Jamil’s calling out Kardashians, Cardi B and the “fit tea” trend for inauthentic representation.

 

Content Partners

Collab to create.

Following on from the authenticity discussion, we foresee that brand collabs – already a significant presence across social media with influencers and personalities – will evolve into content partnerships – brands accessing authenticity and existing audiences through video content creators – with high-quality content with authentic reach as the result.

This is another trends we’re excited about at DOTF, as this is the exact format we’ve used for content creation for over a decade, starting with our youth culture platform, Speaker TV. Whilst content partners could simply mean creating the content for a brand, or incorporating that brand directly into your existing content format, the content becomes more powerful whether both names are brought to the table equally, resulting in new, collaborative content.


Our national campaign for the HTC One was created this way, mixing HTC’s brand strategy with our brand at Speaker TV, resulting in a series of events all along the East Coast, and online content featuring the HTC brand interacting with the Speaker TV demographic in an authentic way.

 

DOTF 10th – Vignette – 2013 – HTC from Department of the Future on Vimeo.

 

What other trends do you see on the horizon? Leave us a comment below!

Day At Nida: How I Learned To Present With Confidence

It’s no secret that acting helps with building confidence. Being in front of a camera or a theatre full of people whilst pretending to be another person requires guts and an unfaltering belief that you are succeeding in suspending your audience’s disbelief. It’s no easy task, that’s for sure.

 

So, when I was invited along to attend a class on presenting with confidence at NIDA, I was expecting something dramatic- to recite Shakespeare in front of each other, or crying on cue. As you can see, I was expecting wild things. What I wasn’t expecting was simply greeting my colleagues.

 

Our instructor for the day, Sarah Grenfell ordered us into a small circle, and with a keen smile on her face told us the first task of the day –

 

“Introduce yourself to each other and include a fun fact.”

 

Confused glances were exchanged. Shuffling awkwardly towards each other as we shook one another’s hands, smiled and said our names. The absurdity of introducing yourself to someone who you’ve worked with for months, and in some cases, for years was not lost on us and soon we were trying to hide our giggling under our breaths. Phrases like “I have a party this weekend!” and “My birthday is coming up!” were floated throughout the room as we exchanged our fun facts.

 

“Now.” Sarah turned to the group. “What was something that stood out when you were introducing yourself?”

 

We looked at each other, unsure of what to say. Other than finding the activity extremely funny, there wasn’t really anything in particular that stood out.

 

“Eye contact.” She smiled. “When I was walking around introducing myself, barely any of you made any eye contact. Why’s that?” The question hung in the air. She seized on the silence to continue her point. “When we’re talking with our friends in our daily conversation, do you notice that you barely make any eye contact? You would rather look at the ground or past your them. Our attention is never focused on the subject we’re talking to. So now,” She clapped her hands and with another smile pushed us into our next activity.

 

“Let’s try this again, but this time, I want to see eye contact.”

 

That proved a harder task than I had imagined.

 

There was something extremely unsettling about staring at someone in their eyes, shaking their hand with as much earnest you can muster, and then telling them you’re planning on going to a concert over the weekend.

 

My confidence didn’t build immediately, and I felt silly and quite inadequate, unsure if I was doing the right thing at all. But that’s the beauty of NIDA’s course – it was a slow, uncertain journey that eventually leads me to claim ownership of my self-esteem. In the words of my instructor of the day: “You are an actor!” And on that day, I was learning how to play someone who was fearless.

 

For the next eight hours, we were assigned various tasks with different purposes; we were told to walk around as if we had a crown perched on top of our head, that escalated to putting on an imaginary cloak, and then a heavy torched fitted to our chests. It turned out that these seemingly odd tasks were intended to correct our posture. We were told to recite rhymes whilst pulling an exaggerated expression. It turns out, that was to improve our enunciation. We were taught how to breathe properly. I learned I have a bad case of “shallow breath” when I’m nervous- and that happens every time I’m around clients, so I always ended up sounding unconvincing, even to myself. The course helped make us aware of and overcome these small unconscious habits we all posses which make us appear unconfident.

 

We learned how to enunciate. We learned how to sit. We learned how to walk into and command a room with a single sustained glance and a nice smile. We learned how to punctuate every sentence with gusto, and how to speak with conviction.

 

Slowly but surely, I took steps towards tweaking my voice, my tone, my posture. It was the little things that did wonders, small changes that I never would’ve considered vital to how I present myself as a person.

 

I walked in expecting to spend eight hours just jumping around, learning how to read off a prompt and jotting notes about acting techniques. In the end, I ended up leaving with valuable presenting skills, interpersonal skills, and a newfound confidence. I learned how to demystify the presentation process, and create the kind of presentations that have an impact and resonance.

 

I would recommend NIDA’s Presenting With Confidence to any corporate group looking for a great team bonding experience with valuable professional outcomes.