Mini USA’s Nadler Tells How Virtual Reality Campaign Boosted Brand Favorability

VR isn't 'mass' yet, says Nadler at the IAB Mobile Marketplace, but as an 'empathy engine,' the technology stands to be the most powerful communications tool for brands.

Virtual reality isn’t much of a “reality” for brand advertising, but Mini USA’s Lee Nadler told the audience at the IAB Mobile Marketplace conference how the immersive visuals were able to lift brand favorability by 11 percent after generating 4.2 million views.

Mini’s VR effort, which was named one of Ad Age’s “best branded partnerships of 2015,” was also able to deliver 315 percent of the projected site visits to its campaign page.

“We all know it’s not easy to deliver 4 million views and visits to a branded site,” Nadler told the conference audience on Monday.

Mini USA's Lee Nadler, Marketing Communications & Launch Manager
Mini USA’s Lee Nadler, Marketing Communications & Launch Manager

While the connection between VR technology and visits to a dealership appear tenuous at this point, that’s likely to change quickly, Nadler indicated in his on stage remarks.

The goals for the VR campaign were straightforward:

  • Increase the perceived “inventiveness” of the Mini brand
  • Drive potential car buyers to the Mini Connected microsite and VR page
  • Encourage the audience to watch Mini Connected videos
  • Show a direct impact on the brand’s desired audience of those in the “aspirational creative class”

In an overview of how he has personally experienced VR with Mini’s publisher partners, Fast Company and the, Nadler said the reports those entities have created were emotionally moving to him. Even more than TV or standard film, being surrounded by the 360 sights and sounds of a helicopter bringing food to a refugee camp was an experience that will influence all kinds of storytelling, Nadler said.

“The experience I had was powerful, as the use of VR brings all your senses to light,” Nadler said. “VR is one of the most powerful empathy engines. VR opens a lot of interesting possibilities. In a world of distraction, VR is the one medium that demands — and delivers — total focus.”

However, if the audience at the IAB event can be judged as being further ahead of most consumers in adopting new technology, the full effect of VR may be a few years off when it comes to actually getting regular consumers to the car makers’ showrooms. Asked for a show of hands of “marketers who have used VR to tell brand stories,” Nadler then asked the IAB Mobile Marketplace attendees how many own a Mini.

“It looks like we have more Mini drivers here than brands that have used VR in their advertising,” Nadler said.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.