Bringing marketers closer to real-world issues


Thought Leadership
By Michelle Whelan, CEO, UK

At Geometry Global UK, we recently dipped our toes into sensory reality marketing by partnering with Sensiks and bringing its sensory reality pod into the agency. It’s part of our journey to explore and test new technologies to find better ways of providing education and service to our clients’ shoppers.

The multi-sensory pod synchronises audio-visual experiences with scent, temperature, air flow, tremble, taste and light for reality, live-in-the-moment.  This experience was originally created by Sensiks’ Fred Galstaun to help people suffering from autism and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

What really struck me about Galstaun’s invention is that you first really must empathise with extreme autism before you can set about creating an experience to help people suffering with the condition. You won’t be surprised that there are many other incredible examples of mixed reality experiences changing lives. And they all have one thing in common, empathy: an ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

The UK National Autistic Society, for instance, is using a VR film for its first ‘Too much Information’ campaign to encapsulate what it’s like to live with the condition. Based on real experiences in consultation with autistic people, the virtual reality film gives a flavour of how overwhelming an everyday setting like a shopping centre can be to an autistic person experiencing too much information. Every single sight, every single sound, every single stare. To date, 56 million people have been helped understand what it is like to live with autism.

In a similar vein, the campaign ‘The Migraine Experience’ shows family and friends of people who experience migraine what it’s like through using immersive VR: loss of vision, blurred surroundings, bright lights – everything but the extreme pain.

These tech-enabled immersive experiences are allowing us to step into the shoes of others and really start to understand and share their feelings. So, here’s a call out to marketers to stride into this tech in order to understand what inspires human behaviour and influence how people purchase.

Food wastage is one of the biggest problems brands and retailers face in the UK today. In January, the Guardian reported that, in 2015, we threw away £13bn worth of food or 7.3m tonnes – up from 7m tonnes in 2012. Couple this with the fact that more than 8 million people in Britain live in households struggling to put enough food on the table, with over half regularly going a whole day without eating, according to estimates of hunger in the UK – then it’s apparent that there is a genuine problem to be addressed. 
But, let’s be honest, how many of us truly understand what it feels like to live with food insecurity and hunger? So, let’s think how we could use VR tech to educate people about food, food wastage and create a real spur to dramatic change in behaviour, while making good business sense.

Managing food waste is not just the responsibility of the retailers. Most brands sold in our retail stores need to start engaging and integrating into retailer’s priorities to help co-create educative programmes too.  If brands and retailers work together to educate and empower I’m sure we can start to reduce the 4.4 million tonnes of avoidable food waste. The immersive experience door is wide open to help us learn from others and better understand the world to make this happen

Just a final thought: how much food do you think was thrown away on our last gorgeous sunny bank holiday weekend? A lot is the answer. In fact, according to a Sainsbury’s study - Britain was set to scrap £428 million worth of barbecue food this August. If those 12 million barbecue-owners had been encouraged to empathise with the hungry, it would have been a different story. It’s time to work together to make a real difference by embracing the technology that can help us.


Source: The Guardian 

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