Immersive Promotion

An immersive VR and AR storytelling project

Immersive Promotion aims to develop new promotional strategies, prototypes and course materials for how immersive VR and AR storytelling experiences can be better marketed to audiences.

Immersive Promotion is a 6-month StoryFutures Academy-funded project, led by Dr Matthew Freeman, that aims to develop new promotional strategies, prototypes and course materials for how immersive VR and AR storytelling experiences can be better marketed to audiences. It is a collaboration with Prof Dinah Lammiman (University College London), Alison Norrington (CEO at StoryCentral Ltd.), and Naomi Smyth (PhD Researcher at BSU).

"Whereas games and I think films have certain ways of advertising their work, VR and AR is more of an Old-West, at least in terms of advertising."

Ben Trewhella, Managing Director, Bristol VR Lab

Creators of immersive storytelling experiences are in genuine need of more insight into how to communicate with their audiences. Significant investment has been made to deliver new immersive storytelling experiences (see AHRC Creative Industry Cluster Programmes XR Stories, Bristol+Bath Creative R+D Partnership, and indeed StoryFutures). However, the only research that has considered the idea of ‘immersive promotion’ has analysed VR/AR as promotional extensions of films and TV (Janes, 2019).

What's missing here is an understanding of how we design promotion for immersive experiences in the first place, with the hybridity, immersion and embodied agency innate to VR and AR (re)communicated to audiences in/as promotion. If immersive technologies are to be fully realised in emerging commercial markets and as new cultural experiences, then bridges between VR/AR technologies, their emerging audiences, and new promotional practices and materials specific to these technologies need to be developed more rigorously.

By developing new strategies, prototypes and course materials for how immersive VR and AR storytelling experiences can be better marketed to audiences, this project will create new course materials aimed at creators and students of immersive experiences. These materials will explore the theory and practice of immersive promotion, with a focus on outlining promotional strategies for communicating the hybridity and embodied agency innate to immersive experiences. Alongside strategies that consider different kinds of immersive experiences and audiences, they will feature the promotional materials prototyped for the project, as well as a wealth of interdisciplinary scholarship and audience evaluation.

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