Virtual Reality: An empathy machine

Virtual reality has been around in one form or another since the 1950’s, but VR as it is now (a wearable consumer headset) has only been on the rise for the last few years. It’s a technology that is exciting, immersive, and able to create a tangible feeling of empathy unlike any other visual medium. It’s exactly the kind of storytelling device we’re attracted to at Gorilla. Because of this we began investing in VR early in effort to better understand the tool, and develop robust creative, production, and post-production processes. As a result, VR has now become a central feature of our production services.

Our first virtual reality project took place in Lusaka, Zambia. Although still a fledgling technology at the time, we saw the medium as an opportunity to create empathy for The Power of 5 Campaign, a longstanding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) client working to provide Nutrilite Little Bits: a nutritional supplement designed to help malnourished children.

Crafting the story in Virtual Reality enabled the team to capture an experience which transported the viewer to the most remote geographical locations impacted by the program. Here, immersive 360 degree video enabled them to observe the wonderful culture, customs, and beauty of the region, as well as observe challenges often faced by many Zambian families. Most importantly, the experience humanized the need for nutrition supplementation by creating eye-to-eye engagement with the children receiving nutrition supplementation.

The result was even more powerful than we expected. Gorilla helped Nutrilite exhibit the virtual experience by designing a pop-up “VR theater” for an international conference. The event empowered audiences to be transported to the heart of the company’s CSR efforts and created a lasting sense of empathy for the children affected by the program. Interest grew quickly as word spread throughout the conference – ultimately inspiring streams of participants to que up for a turn. The project resulted in record breaking audience engagement; bypassing previous benchmarks of thirty-five percent and ultimately compelling ninety-nine percent of viewers to commit their support to the campaign. For us, this is the essence of Virtual Reality: immersive, transportive experiences which enable audiences to step out of the present and into something new.

Gorilla has grown in step with VR’s technological advancement. Today we leverage this exciting medium to produce content which meets a diversity of client needs. From empathetic engagement, adventurous exploration, to precise instructional walkthroughs, we produce VR experiences which immersively engage audiences.

We believe virtual reality is here to stay, and we inspired to discover the vast possibilities it holds to solve creative problems and bring humanity closer together.


Watch the Power of 5 Zambia Experience: http://bit.ly/Power_of_5_Campaign_VR

Learn more about The Power of 5 Campaign here: https://powerof5.amwayglobal.com/

Additional articles discussing the empathic potential of VR:

http://bit.ly/Wired_VR_Empathy  |  http://bit.ly/TheHumanist_VR_Empathy