NEW YORK -- Toyota Motor Corp. is testing a new type of advertising by running the first commercial designed to be viewed within USA Today's new virtual reality program.
The ad for Toyota's 2017 Camry will debut today when it sponsors the first episode of "VRtually There," said the show's creator, Gannett Inc.'s USA Today. The show, announced in March, can be seen on USA Today apps and YouTube with a VR headset such as Google Cardboard.
Each episode will last about five to seven minutes and mostly feature inspirational and adventure stories, Niko Chauls, director of applied technologies for the USA Today Network, said in an interview.
Lisa McQueen, media manager for Toyota Motor Sales Inc., said in a statement: “The network's approach to bold storytelling and use of new mediums aligns with our brand and our creative approach for the new 2017 Toyota Camry.”
Virtual reality, the panoramic technology with roots in gaming, is still in its infancy and has yet to go mainstream. Content makers such as Gannett and advertisers are trying to figure out how to make money with virtual reality content and advertising.
“VR has an amazing opportunity to transport people to experience something that you just can’t do in regular 2-D video or in graphics and text. Obviously this has a lot of appeal to automakers because you can get people behind the wheel or experiences related to it without ever leaving the comforts of your home,” Kelly Andresen, head of Get Creative, the network’s creative studio, told Automotive News.
“It’s a great way to experience an actual model, a brand, a story and get them introduced to an automaker and helping them move that interested party down the marketing funnel.”