Virtual Reality Ads - VR Today Magazine
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Top 5 Best Virtual Reality Ads of All Time8 min read

These are the ads that might just usher VR into the main stream market – let’s take a look!

Nick Rasmussen

Do you remember back in the early days of VR, when virtual reality ads were nothing more but a brief compilation of in-game videos, and maybe an underlying “epic stock music” track? We sure do, and thankfully, these means of production aren’t the status quo anymore. Things have evolved, budgets have increased, and consumers are starting to wake up to the fact, that as an industry – VR is here to stay.

VR have shown to be a capable, promising new technology, and has now been adopted by high-level players such as Google, Samsung, HTC and Facebook. This may not be news to all of you, but we thought we would just get that out of the way, so those of you who are new here on the site have a better grip of what we’re about to show you.

In case you haven’t been paying close attention to the ad-side of it all, don’t worry – we’re going to get you up to speed by covering some of the latest and greatest virtual reality-themed ads.

Ranging from the metaphorical and sentimental undertones in Samsung’s latest push to promote the ever-popular GearVR, all the way to the viral launch video conjured by team over at Valve last year. We’ve packed quite the show for you today and thoroughly believe you’re going to enjoy it. Without further ado, we present to you the Top 5 Best Virtual Reality Ads of All Time:

5. Google Earth VR — Bringing The Whole Wide World to VR

Google claims today’s 5th place with Google Earth VR. The app brought something new to the game when it launched back in November 2016. With it, came the opportunity to explore the world in a new and exciting way. Want to take a stroll down Madison Square Garden? Not a problem. How about Melbourne, what does that look like? Strap on your headset of choice and find out!

This stunning ad by Google sticks with celebrating what the app itself can offer, and delivers very well in it’s exploratory and playful length of about a minute. Just imagine the kind of ideas ads like these will trigger in the minds of creative directors with a track-record of innovative thinking. We’re looking at you Ogilvy, and at your “Smarter Cities” ads. Only time will tell.

Launch Date: Nov 16, 2016
Views: 1,693,254
Like/Dislike Ratio: Very Positive (12,649 / 467)

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4. Samsung GearVR 2016: All The Feels

Up on 4th place we have Samsung. Storytelling has always been the driving factor behind the world’s best ads. Just take a look at the Superbowl MVP’s of 2017 and you’ll see just how true that is. It’s not always about the story on the screen that is of special note though. Every now and then you need to flip the camera around and look at the ones engaging with it. This is a clever trick used by photojournalists. Sometimes when out in the field, you have to turn your camera away from what’s happening, and capture the ones spectating to get your moneyshot (thank you, Michael for the tip).

This rings true for Samsung, and in this specific ad we’re being offered an emotional roller-coaster ride, as we get to see several people of a diverse demographic range experience the GearVR, and the content on offer back in 2016. The ad presents us with actual emotion, and not just another keynote-like tech video. Truly, a breath of fresh air!

Launch Date: Sep 8, 2016
Views: 4,025,690
Like/Dislike Ratio: Positive (1,153 / 213)

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3. Google Tilt Brush: Painting from a new perspective

On 3rd place of today’s list we have Google, and their significantly crafted and powerful ad for the latest version of the Google Tilt Brush. At launch, games and experiences had been the primary use of VR, and it was the first real drawing-and-arts based application to be popularized in VR. Unlike the first real promotion of the Tilt Brush, this new ad featured a vast array of colors, textures, effects and shapes. If by any chance Adobe is working on VR right now (and let’s not kid ourselves, of course they are), they will likely take inspiration in some of the features made available here. For the creatives out there: Just imagine how powerful VR will become, once 360 video-based smart objects will be made available for content creators. Truth be told, we haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg for VR as a creative platform, and it’s ads like this one that will keep us waiting on the edge of our seats.

One more thing worth paying attention to, is just how incredibly well this piece of software has been received. Out of 150+ reviews on the Steam Store, Tilt Brush has received a whopping average score of 9/10.

Launch Date: May 3, 2016
Views: 1,868,098
Like/Dislike Ratio: Very Positive (14,963 / 369)

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2. HTC Vive: Official Launch Trailer

On today’s runner-up we have Valve and their massive 4 minute launch video from 2016 for their iconic HTC Valve VR headset. There’s an emphasis on friendship and fun, which is the way to do it if you want to target the main stream. This one doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty about what fancy new gadgety software is powering the device and it shouldn’t need to. It’s about the end user – the one who will be wielding the controllers and the headset, as well as all the crazy fun they will have with it. Usually, videos like this shouldn’t stretch a whopping 4 minutes, but Valve and the team over at Steam defies all regular rules of the game and pulls it off wonderfully nonetheless. The video received massive praise, and unlike the videos over at Oculus, really began to ignite across social media (oh, the irony). Great job Valve. Keep them coming!

Launch Date: Jun 13, 2016
Views: 4,326,134
Like/Dislike Ratio: Very Positive (38,163 / 1,114)

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1. Samsung GearVR 2017: The Ostrich Ad

It’s time we bring out the big guns. The biggest gun as a matter of fact. Next up, and on first place on our list is what we consider Samsung’s most effective video ever made. In this symbolic and powerful ad, we’re being transported into the life of an unsuspecting desert ostrich, who stumbles on a GearVR headset by sheer fateful happenstance. Once equipped with the GearVR, this mighty bird discovers what it would be like to soar through the open skies like a majestic eagle. While this simple premise may seem a bit dull initially, the inspiring story told, the atmospheric and emotional cut-scenes added, mixed with the underlying tunes of Elton John’s 1972 hit track “Rocket Man”, makes the ad hit home.

The Ostrich ad is (in our humble opinion) the most effective, most compelling and most visually stunning VR ad ever made. Storytelling has never looked this good in any VR ad, and there’s a good reason this youthful YouTube video is packing views in the tens of millions.

There’s just something incredibly powerful about the concept at work here, and the playful combination of ambition, imagination and technology is what makes the Ostrich Ad the greatest Samsung have ever produced, and the reason we crown it the best VR ad of all time. The key takeaway states loud and clear:

We make what can’t be made. So you can do what can’t be done. #DoWhatYouCant

The crown, the gold and the glory goes once more to an ad from Samsung, and we make no apologies for sticking with the brand more than once on today’s list. We promised to bring you the very best, and despite the videos we’ve seen from other brands out there with amazing ads, Samsung’s ads really is a league entirely on it’s own. Hats off – it would seem their marketing team is on a roll, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Launch Date: Mar 29, 2017
Views: 24,192,074
Like/Dislike Ratio: Very Positive (27,821 / 685)

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Where’s PlayStation VR and Oculus?

In case some of you out there are wondering, we do realize that we haven’t yet included anything from PlayStationVR or Oculus. The truth is, that while these brands do produce amazing content for us consumers in terms of VR hardware, the lack of compelling ads (in our opinion) is one of the things holding them back. Because of this, we’ll prefer to pick up two incredible ads from Google and Samsung, rather than just trying to blatantly please everyone. We’re sure that both companies are working on something incredible, but as of right now – Samsung and Google is where it’s at in terms of compelling ads.


Virtual Reality is all the rage these days, and as an industry, we are already taking our first few steps towards shattering the illusion, that it’s all just about the video games. VR has been adapted by medical professionals, journalists and many more unseemly actors of our day-to-day life. Innovation is the name of the game. It’s not only the tech and it’s adapters that have been scaling up or improving. By the looks of it, the outward-facing commercialized side of it all is beginning to grow towards something like it’s full height as well. We’re excited, and can’t wait to see what’s next!

Written by Nick Rasmussen

Blogging about VR and helping Envato grow their affiliate program.

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