Ice cream maker Haagen-Dazs has launched a virtual reality experience to educate consumers on the natural environment, necessity and plight of honey bees. More than one-third of the company's ice cream flavors rely on pollinators.
Titled, “The Extraordinary Honey Bee,” the VR experience shrinks viewers down to the size of a honey bee, letting them see the world from a bee’s perspective, learn about the bees’ alarming worldwide decline and find out how they can help conservation efforts. An estimated one-third of honey bee colonies were lost between April 2016 and March 2017.
Oakland, CA-based Haagen-Dazs is using the occasion to introduce Honey Salted Caramel Almond, a flavor dedicated to the bees. Honey is used in some of Haagen-Dazs’ most popular flavors.
The virtual experience and the new ice cream flavor are just two of many initiatives Haagen-Dazs has undertaken over the past decade to help bees. “There are three important ways we can help bees and other pollinators: bring them flowers, protect their homes and spread the word,” said brand director Elizabell Marquez. “Over the past 10 years, Haagen-Dazs has taken strides to support each.”
Haagen-Dazs is the latest consumer goods company to employ VR for consumer engagement. In South Korea, The North Face used a virtual dog-sledding experience to help sell winter coats, while McDonald’s created an HTC Vive experience that let users paint their own Happy Meal boxes.
In its California store, Toms Shoes employed VR so shoppers could experience how shoe donations were benefitting people in Central America each time a sale occurred. And Merrell hiking boots created an experience with VR where shoppers could virtually hike along a crumbling rocky path.VR has also been used by companies like Tommy Hilfiger and Dior to recreate couture looks and runway experiences.
Back in 2015, Absolut Vodka launched “Absolut Reality,” which provided live video streams to customers who could not get tickets to popular concerts. The use of drones and other enhanced video technology created a virtual encounter so realistic fans felt they could almost touch the stage. In addition to satiating disappointed fans, the streams let Absolut reach a broader audience through partnership with the music market.
In a Greenlight VR survey of 1,300 adults, 71% said they believe VR makes brands seem "forward-thinking and modern." But just 53% of respondents said they would be more likely to purchase from a brand that uses VR than from one that does not.