Using VR to Reach a New Market: The Elderly

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Jake Kahana spent six months researching what seniors might really want from a VR experience.
Jake Kahana spent six months researching what seniors might really want from a VR experience.

The immersive nature of virtual reality makes it a great way to engage audiences with a brand experience. While many marketers may see it as a natural fit for tech-savvy millennials, there’s another fast-growing segment that could benefit greatly from VR: seniors.

New York-based designer and film director Jake Kahana saw a need for VR experiences for the elderly—particularly those who may be bedridden or unable to travel—and created BettVR With Age, a series of VR films for seniors that debuted earlier this week.

As Wired reports, the films are the result of over 18 months of production, testing and focus groups. Interactions with his own grandmother inspired the project, and Kahana spent six months visiting community centers, talking with seniors to find out what seniors might want from a VR experience.

Kahana—who was the creative director on the Clinton Foundation’s Emmy nominated VR film “Inside Impact: East Africa”—thought the seniors might long to see those types of exotic locales. But he discovered that what they really missed were the everyday experiences they could no longer easily access, like museums or concerts

“They love to learn,” he told Wired. “They had these limitations, physical or otherwise, but they still wanted new experiences.”

Marketers are utilizing VR to reach a variety of different demographics. For example, Audi recently used the technology to create an experiential test drive of the Q5. And last fall, American Express used VR to bring the U.S. Open to life for fans.

On the B2B side, Aqua Pharmaceuticals recently created a VR experience at trade shows to put dermatologists into the skin of their teenage patients.

“Augmented reality and virtual reality tech can move B2B prospects from their risk-averse, skeptical positions and show them what their world would look like after they have adopted your solutions,” Gavin Finn recently wrote. “When we use innovative marketing platforms to connect with prospects and customers on an emotional level, we transcend the traditional marketing and sales relationships and cultivate customers who are enthusiastic about what our solutions will do for them.”

Related Articles:

Why B2B Marketers Need AR and VR Solutions 

How Virtual Reality Will Change B2B Marketing

5 Biggest Digital Trends to Watch in 2017


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