Known for its comedic and often strange TV commercials, Jack in the Box has begun testing the waters for virtual reality marketing. To create hype around its new Brewhouse Bacon Burger, the restaurant released two video teasers in which mascot, Jack “goes undercover” with glasses and a mustache. The same day, a “VR Experience” was released, which doubles as a 360-degree video with no headset required.
Sitting at a bar, viewers can look around and explore the environment without leaving their barstool. A man demands a drink, while some girls begin to flirt. Eventually, the bartender brings a dark ale, which can only be stared at. Jack comes out of the back room, gingerly holding the Brewhouse Bacon Burger, which he presents without a word. The mustachioed, bespectacled Jack gives the signal to keep it a secret, then quietly takes his leave. The scene fades out, leaving the food in spotlight.
The VR experience was created not so much for the public, but for members of the media, according to Richard Cran, vice president of marketing and communications for Jack in the Box. The video’s purpose is to get media as close as possible to Jack and the new menu item.
“The press got the thread presented in a way that was very personal and one-on-one,” Cran told The Wall Street Journal, “And VR enabled that. Our consumers broadly will get that through television and streaming video and digital television.”
Although the extent of virtual reality or 360-degree video marketing for the brand has yet to be unveiled, Cran reportedly hinted at plans to cash in on the Pokémon GO gaming craze. Fast food chains like McDonald’s have been testing virtual and augmented reality as well, offering Swedish consumers VR headsets made out of Happy Meal boxes and AR codes to promote the Angry Birds movie.
More brands are looking into virtual reality marketing, and for good reason. According to estimates from research firm Forrester, approximately 52 million units of virtual reality will be in enterprise and consumer use in the US by 2020.
Now, if only each unit would be complemented with a brew and a burger.