Red Bull adds Virtual Reality to its marketing and the results are intoxicating
It might just be selling soda pop, but doing the Red Bull way must be one of the coolest jobs on the planet. Plus, it's a new and exciting venture for the world of VR when the brand gets to play with the latest content generation weapons and puts them in the hands of the coolest daredevils.
Some would argue that if you want to try an extreme sport like sky-diving, cliff-diving, or rally driving, to really get the blood (and adrenaline) pumping, it has to be done for real.
But sadly, many of us lack the funds (and/or the physical and mental fortitude) for such endeavors, but would still like to give it a go. Luckily, we can live vicariously through others thanks to the ever-evolving world of VR.
VR tech companies are currently battling it out to be the platform-of-choice for consumers (with products such as Facebook's Oculus, Sony's Playstation VR and Google's own Daydream), but the go-to extreme sport camera tech company, GoPro, have been quietly tinkering away to create unique VR content with the GoPro Omni.
GoPro products are synonymous with extreme sports, as are the world's leading manufacturer of high-octane energy drinks; Red Bull, whose advertising campaigns and sponsorship deals are often associated with all things 'extreme'.
The GoPro Omni is a cube-shaped camera case featuring 6 GoPro HERO4 Black cameras mounted into a multi-directional rig for 360 degree filming. Included with the camera is the necessary editing software, capable of 'stitching' captured footage together to make it fully VR compatible.
Armchair adrenaline junkies
Both companies have had a long, mutually-beneficial history when it comes to positioning themselves in the world of thrill-seeking sports, and Red Bull are now using the GoPro Omni for their own virtual reality platform.
Launched via the Red Bull Media House, the all-new Red Bull VR experience offers visitors the chance to sample what it's like to leap from helicopters and over rooftops (and even into volcanoes), as well tear it up around some of the world's best rally courses.
You can still visit the site without using a VR headset or peripheral, and still point and drag the footage on a tablet, device or desktop. But, to get the full effect, it's best in VR, obviously.
Taking the 'virtual' out of virtual reality
The Red Bull VR experience is just one of a number of channels for unlocking the potential that VR has for creating excitement, and the tech isn't exclusively being used passively.
For instance, the amusement park giants Six Flags made waves last year by introducing the world to the concept of the VR rollercoaster experience. The Superman The Ride Virtual Reality Coaster has its riders wear Samsung Gear VR mobile devices whilst ripping around the track with images of chasing Superman around Metropolis flashing before their eyes.
The idea has proved so successful for the parks that they are rolling out more VR coasters throughout 2017.
Other companies are experimenting with including mobile VR and Voice to create experiences such as those promised by the folks at the VOID in Utah. The VOID is a fully immersive VR experience that layers digital worlds over physical environments utilizing Voice, sound, heat, moisture and motion to create an entirely new kind of entertainment, and one that should see widespread popularity if proved successful.
Tech and digital pioneers are continuously exploring the boundaries of what's capable with virtual reality, and it is ideas like these that will be creating unique and exciting experiences in the years ahead.