Sensory marketing – how companies use AR and VR to attract customers

When talking about AR and VR scenarios, marketing seems to be a very promising field of application. Especially sensory marketing moves in our focus as it is a specific approach to attract potential customers by using senses to affect their feelings and behaviour. As globally leading pinoeer, Prof. Aradhna Krishna coined the term “sensory marketing”.  She defines it as

aradhna krishna

Aradhna Kirshna – Sensory Marketing Lab Director

“marketing that engages the consumers’ senses and affects their perception, judgment and behavior (and suggests that) from a managerial perspective, sensory marketing can be used to create subconscious triggers that characterize consumer perceptions of abstract notions of the product (e.g., its sophistication or quality).”

via Relevant Concepts – Sensory Marketing Lab.



For a better unterstanding of sensory marketing, the following examples will show you various use cases of AR/VR in the domains of marketing and advertising.

1. Mariott Hotel’s VR honeymoon


Mariett Hotel’s Teleporter view through Oculus Rift

To exemplify the combination of VR and sensory marketing, Mariott Hotel’s Teleporter has to be mentioned. Basically, the Teleporter simluates a virtual honeymoon and aims to seduce recently married couples to plan their dream vacation. By wearing the VR device Oulus Rift and a full-sized headphone, the user is “teleported” to the VR environment. This effect is further enhanced by the use of watersprayers and installed heaters that enable a multi-sensory experience.

Watch the following video to get an impression of Mariott Hotel’s Teleporter:


2. Häagen-Dazs’s AR timer

häagenHäagen-Dazs provides an AR timer for the purpose of “softening” the ice cream before use. To bridge the time gap, an AR violinist appears and plays a two-minute violine concert. Generally, the advertisment appeals directly to the emotions and senses of the consumer as the Häagen-Dazs ice cream is presented as a special delight and premium product.

By listening to the classical concert, the sense of hearing is activated and the violin sounds make the consumer feel sophisticated and culturally educated, Due to this subconscious positive association, the customer may be more willing to buy Häagen-Dazs ice cream prospectively.

Watch the full advertisment and let us know what you think about the AR app!


3. Jochen Schweizer’s AR Tour

jochen schweizer

AR treasure hunt by Jochen Schweizer

Jochen Schweizer shows how companies bring AR to the market. At the heart of the concept lies a kind of virtual treasure hunt similar to Geocaching. The general task is to free the parallel world “Avoria” from evil powers by using AR.

The participants use an iPad as a gateway to the AR reality and have to solve different types of riddles to save Avoria.

What do you think about the presented AR/VR use cases? Would you like to see more of it? We are looking forward to your comments and hope that you enjoyed the scenarios!


Who is the father of VR?

Nowadays, the VR technology is already relatively advanced. But where does this development actually come from? If we take a look back at the beginnings of VR, we have to consider pinoeers of the 1950s and 1960s.

Morton Heilig has been touted as the father of VR as he invented the first 3D movie machine called Sensorama in 1957. Patented in 1962, it should improve the 2D movie experience.


Morton Heilig’s Sensorama Machine

“It is a simulator for one to four people that provides the illusion of reality using a 3-D motion picture with smell, stereo sound, vibrations of the seat, and wind in the hair to create the illusion.

Parts of the Sensorama are two other inventions which made it possible, the Sensorama Motion Picture Projector and the Sensorama 3-D Motion Picture Camera.”

via InventorVR.



telesphereOn top of that, Morton Heilig created the first head-mounted display (HMD) called Telesphere Mask that enables “stereoscopic 3D TV, wide vision and true stereo sound”. From our present point of view, the Telesphere Mask looks much like Facebook’s Oculus Rift and could be seen as grandfather and former ancestor.

Based on the success of these innovations, Morton Heilig developed another simulator: the Experience Theater. It works in a similar way to Sensorama, but appeals to a larger target group. Developed for an entire theater full of people, the Experience Theater shows 3D motion pictures on a large semi-spherical screen.

But Morton Heilig was not the only visionary of his time. Douglas Engelbart is another outstanding personage who had a decisive impact on the development of VR . As American engineer and inventor, he created the first graphical user interface for communicating with computers and revolutionized the human computer interaction.


Douglas Engelbart – inventor of the computer mouse

“Rather than limit computers to number crunching, Engelbart envisioned them as tools for digital display. He knew from his days with radar that any digital information could be viewed on a screen. Why not, he then reasoned, connect the computer to a screen and use both to solve problems?”

via VIRTUAL REALITY – History.


Against this background, we welcome the current development. As VR sheds its ivory-tower image slowly but surely, the next-generation technology proceeds to become part of our everyday life.

Moving (virtual) mountains – just with the power of thoughts

There is one thing all virtual or augmented reality devices like Microsoft HoloLens, Oculus Rift or others have in common:
Interaction with the virtual environments or objects requires usage of other peripherals or at least your hands. Fatigue, inconvenience or frustration may be a consequence.
But with the invention of a team of students consisting ofJuan de Joya, Victor Leung and Kelly Peng in the UC Berkeley chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH this could become irrelevant in the future: They have invented a virtual reality system where the virtual world can be controlled just with the power of your thoughts. It works like the following:

The project, called Mindscape VR, utilizes the Oculus Rift and the Muse brain-sensing headset to create an immersive VR environment where users can move objects with their thoughts and interact with their surroundings by simply thinking about doing so.


To us the combination of virtual reality with electroencephalography (EEG) for interaction sounds really amazing. Even though there is not much detailed information available yet, this technology could have the potential to be the missing part for a convenient long time usage and thus the success of virtual reality devices in a large variety of application areas.

Kid using VR system

Kid using VR system – Photo from Mindscape VR team for/via ACM SIGGRAPH

The authors describe it as “gratifying and empowering experience” and give some pretty cool usage examples:

“In our first iteration of the project, we used one type of brain wave frequency to allow the user to levitate and collect pebbles in a simple fantasy world. While we disabled them at launch, we do have features where the user can call a dragon to appear, change night to day, summon fireflies and shoot fireballs depending on what type of brain frequencies the Muse is picking up.

We found that the simplicity of using one’s thoughts to do things is a pretty gratifying and empowering experience. We had a kid try it out at launch, and as he started levitating the rocks he brought up his hands as if he were a Jedi. How cool is that? It’s these kinds of seamless, easy-to-use experiences that underlie the potential of immersive VR as a medium.”

via Juan de Joya at ACM SIGGRAPH

If you are interested in trying it out for yourself the authors state that the system (first iteration) can be experienced at San Francisco Exploratorium’s Cognitive Technology Exhibit during February.

So what do you think about it? Do you like the idea of not having to actually “do” anything for a virtual reality experience or would you still prefer a traditional input device for a haptic experience? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments section.

HoloLens Reality Check

Are you tired of futuristic HoloLens visions? CNET‘s Cam Robinson provided a HoloLens Reality Check. According to, “gaming is the number one most exciting potential use of the technology”.

Check out his video here:

For those who prefer reading: Cam explains that HoloLens is about “adding things on top of existing reality” and emphasizes the follwing key features of HoloLens:

  • manipulation of digital holographic objects
  • construction of virtual objects (to be later 3D printed)
  • modelling in realtime 3D

Gaming: VR creating “feeling of presence”

On top of this, Cam compared HoloLens to its “VR cousins” (e.g. Oculus Rift/ Project Morpheus) that fulfil their intended purpose by creating “the feeling of presence”. They take you to a new virtual world and simulate the feeling of being a part of the game.

Especially Facebook has shown the great importance of next-generation technologies as Mark Zuckerberg announced the $2bn acquisition of Oculus Rift in March 2014 (according to theguardian).

Facebook, Sony, Google, Microsoft – they are all pursuing a long-term strategy to develop and improve AR and VR solutions. But what about Apple? The gossip factory is working overtime as Apple is hiring engineers and app developers with VR experience.

As long as there were no more details released, we have to be patient. Maybe we have to get ready for another pleasant surprise?

Feel free to leave your comments below and let us know what you think about the current development.

And do not forget to participate in our HoloLens survey above!

A single device, a million opportunities.

Some time has passed since Microsoft has announced its new gadget HoloLens, people had the chance to go through their daily lives with all of their visionary information in mind and thus one or another might have experienced some activities or situations where a device like Microsoft’s new gadget could appear desirable.

Microsoft HoloLens - Possibilities

Only one of a million possibilities Microsoft itself has shown in a marketing video

If you did not have had your “HoloLens moment” until now, maybe the article of columnist Jurica Dujmovic for MarketWatch may be an inspiration for you. From an economic point of view he sheds light on Hololens’ possible impact on the consumer market as well as media usage and points out where “the first augmented-reality device done right” could really be an improvement:

“HoloLens will impact multiple markets, ranging from home entertainment to mobile devices; virtually everything with a screen will likely take a cue from the technology within HoloLens. Your fridge will interface with it, showing you a see-through view of groceries, along with a visual representation of the expiration dates, and the option to “check mark” individual items and add them to your shopping list. That is, without opening the fridge.”

via Microsoft’s HoloLens actually could be a game changer

But his list of opportunities and possibilities does not stop at your fridge. He talks about:

  • Changing wall colors at your home
  • Seeing fantasy scenes when looking out of your window
  • Experiencing different real world places when looking out of your window
  • Transforming your child’s bedroom into an enchanted forest instead of a traditional good night story
  • Single- or multiplayer gaming in your living room as an alternative to classical board games
  • Integration of holograms into your car and your view of the outside
  • Surgeons that use it for complex operations (if you have a special interest in medical topics we recommend the article “Drone Surgery and HoloLens: Hello 2015”  by Zev Ginzburg, UX Research Copywriter at Codal Inc.)
  • Improving the tidiness of your office working environment
  • Creating impressive art installations on almost empty walls in almost empty halls
  • Enhancing education by visual breakdown and vivid demonstration of complex subjects

Finally the authors sums it up very accurately:

“Really, HoloLens has the potential to change the way we perceive the world around us, and to truly extend and augment reality. Depending on the final product and the limits of our imagination, we may reach, or even surpass, many elements of the imaginary “Star Trek” holodeck technology.”

via Microsoft’s HoloLens actually could be a game changer

So did you find your favorite HoloLens scenario? Or do you even see more than the author? Or do you disagree and do not see any opportunities for your life in Microsoft’s new technology? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments section.

Mixed Reality (MR)


Reality- Virtuality Continuum

Currently we are talking about AR and VR. But there is still another buzz word that encompasses both terms and has to be considered: Mixed Reality (MR).

But what exactly is MR?

According to Wikipedia, MR is described as follows:

MR refers to the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualisations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.

Not taking place only in the physical world or the virtual world, but a mix of reality and virtual reality, encompassing augmented reality and augmented virtuality

via Mixed reality – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

So much for the theory. But what does Microsoft actually mean when talking about MR?

Therefore, Alaina Yee, tech editor from IGN, provided another Hands-On Review that explains HoloLens, Mixed Reality and her experiences with the new gadget.

Especially for those who prefer videos over reading Hands-On Reviews!

More detailed: Watch Alaina Yee’s “Behind the Scenes of Windows 10 / HoloLens Event” Podcast here