How Paramount Pictures Used 360° Video for an Ad Campaign

To promote the release of Mission: Impossible – Fallout starring Tom Cruise, Paramount Pictures chose to leverage the power of an emerging content medium: 360° video.

Cruise is known to do all of his own stunts, Paramount decided to use a particularly thrilling helicopter chase scene in their 360° campaign. As possibly the most difficult scene in terms of the film’s production, Tom Cruise not only flies a helicopter, but also dangles from one by his arms and legs. The 360° video advertisement takes audiences behind the scenes with Cruise as he performs these larger-than-life stunts. Viewers sit right next to him while he pilots a helicopter through narrow passages and provides commentary on the experience alongside the film’s director, Christopher McQuarrie. Cruise is adamant about avoiding green screens, and thus, this scene and 360° trailer were shot entirely in the sky.

The 360° format proves effective in providing viewers a highly dynamic and engaging experience. Of course, there’s aesthetic and entertainment appeal in such a piece of content, but perhaps more importantly, viewers immerse themselves in the very conditions to which Tom Cruise subjected himself in his determination to create quality cinema. Interestingly enough, Paramount is leveraging this emerging technology—360° video—in part to promote their decision to forgo the use of CGI. This hard work pays off handsomely, as evidenced by the film’s excellent turnout and receipt.

On the distribution side of things, Paramount worked with immersive marketing leader, OmniVirt. The film studio worked with OmniVirt to distribute 360° ads across relevant media sites to target movie audiences. The film studio has run display banner ad units that click to a full 360° video experience in addition to 360° pre-roll units. Essentially, as many film studios run banner ad and trailer campaigns, Paramount acted to modernize their approach to these familiar ad spaces with an innovative format.

Why is this interesting? This campaign is yet another example of how pervasive and effective 360° virtual reality marketing is in the entertainment industry. Marketers have found that 360° VR content adds experiential storytelling to their arsenal of marketing tools, while also seeing uplifts to performance.

Innovative advertising technologies like 360° video ads are proving an effective and strategic play. These immersive strategies, which in the recent past were considered experimental stunts, are now a strategic, pragmatic, and effective means of engaging with the target audience, thanks to companies like OmniVirt enabling quality, large-scale distribution across the web.

Aside from the psychological evidence of immersion’s efficacy, the statistics are exactly what you’d expect from advertisements that are so engaging. 360° video ads have been shown to lead to better performance for brands, in some cases seeing a 300% increase in CTR. Users engage more deeply and spend more time with 360° ad content.

The tech is here to stay and grow—rapidly. Immersive formats for content marketing have reached groundbreaking milestones in adoption and reputation. We’ll doubtless see quite the evolution in the coming decade.