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Repurposing VR Assets into 360 Ad Units Helps Campaign Soar
By Robecta Ma, Vice President of Marketing & Digital Sales, Cathay Pacific Airways
Last year, in partnership with AR/VR platform provider OmniVirt, we embarked on our first foray into virtual reality to help people envision our premium airport and inflight experiences from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Through this unique 360° experiential platform, we are able take our rich and interactive VR assets and make them available to more people across multiple platforms—particularly on mobile.
We replicated the original VR experience by creating 360° ad units that let viewers explore business class check-in, our signature airport lounge at SFO, and our award-winning business class cabin. As with the original content, viewers could click on hotspots to dive deeper into the Cathay Pacific experience, from lie-flat beds in business class to private showers in our arrivals lounge. A “Book Now” button is omnipresent throughout.
Our 360° ad units were the centerpiece of the integrated campaign to promote Cathay Pacific as the leading airline for travel to Hong Kong and Asia.
Through our 360° experiential platform, we can take our rich, interactive VR assets and make them available to more people across multiple platforms— particularly on mobile
How did we do this? This was our best performing digital brand campaign to date. Not only did we heighten brand awareness, but the campaign also drove strong lower-funnel performance—and the 360° expandable units outperformed our previous banner ads (and the industry average, too) with a .33 percent CTR. On publisher sites such as Conde Nast Traveler, viewers spent an average of 20.8 seconds engaging with the ads, with the 300x600 unit driving an even higher average of 27 seconds per viewer.
We also executed a 3rd-party brand research study about the campaign that showed how we drove strong lift in many key metrics, most notably unaided awareness (+27 percent) and favorability (+25 percent). Campaign exposure significantly increased respondents’ preference for Cathay Pacific as an airline (+12 percent)—particularly among women and those in higher income brackets.
Having hit on a successful mix of immersive content and widespread delivery that reaches frequent flyers and would-be travelers alike, we’ll continue expanding our campaign, anchored by the 360° units. Our results to date have helped us refine our strategy and more precisely define our target audience while sparking creative thinking about how to use this immersive technology to showcase our world-class travel experience.
The airline industry was built and continues to thrive on innovation and giant leaps of technology. At Cathay Pacific, we’re excited to draw upon our proud legacy and tell our story in exciting new ways. We look forward to making the world a better place, and to welcoming more delighted fliers onboard!