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Do we have the stomach for charity led VR?

Do we have the stomach for charity led VR?

It was one hot afternoon in 2014 that I hauled my not too insignificant frame on the stage of the In2 Innovation summit and bleated on about virtual reality. While porn and Pokemon will make it pervasive VR has a much more noble application in its future.

This year, we’ve seen VR become more prevalent. With everyone from travel agents through to restaurants and estate agents offering a VR experience. It prompted me to write about the medium a bit more in a 2016 predictions piece for my beloved Hotwire.

Next year, we’re going to see the sheer emotional power VR can conjure. The metric for measuring this is going to be charitable donations.

We live in a society where voyeurism and brutal reality viewing has become mainstream. The outpouring of sympathy, some more sanctimonious than others, and aid in September this year wasn’t due to a sudden shift in humanity, but due to a terrifying and deeply moving image of a dead child.

Audiences have become more immune to the subtle, ‘softly softly’, approach of traditional marketing. Instead we require the opportunity to glimpse the gruesome or the shocking before we change our perceptions.

VR holds the key to providing these emotive experiences cheaply and effectively. Undoubtedly it will be the third sector that will lead the way in terms of developing the most emotive content for this medium next year, as Mark Anderson rightly points out in The Guardian.

But is there a line? This week All Blacks titan, Sonny Bill Williams found himself anxiously straddling the line between decency and information by posting more graphic pictures of death and horror to mixed reception.

It will be fascinating to see just how far charities take the VR medium and just how willing we are to delve into some of the more unpleasant experiences.

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