360 video is an idea that’s been around for a while. It’s pretty simple in fact – lots of cameras, shooting simultaneously, will provide footage that can be scrolled (or simply explored with a turn of your VR headset). But it is only relatively recently that they have become so accessible as to become an option for brands and a format to be pushed by media space owners (with Google and Facebook leading from the front).


It’s a safe bet that they haven’t pushed the format because they think it’s a cool way to watch rockets land (although that it is). 360 degree advertising video might be in an absolutely embryonic form at the moment but we’ve no doubt that it is a format with a great deal of potential for the advertising world.


Here are a few (equally embryonic) thoughts about 360 video from the perspective of an ad agency.


The format suits brands who want to express originality and a new way of thinking. Partly because this is something 360 video has in common with all nascent ad formats. The first brands on board are making a statement just by being the first. As UK CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, Annette King puts it: “World firsts will break through the clutter.” Brave brands might fall flat, or they might find a format that perfectly reflects their desire to stand out from the crowd.


A great recent example of this can be seen in the (world’s first) 360 degree party political broadcast, which we provided media planning for, from the Welsh Green Party. They have always thought for themselves and using the new format goes some way to indicating this before a word has been spoken.



Welsh brands seem to be somewhat ahead of the pack when it comes to 360. Watch Dŵr Cymru’s hard hitting video (which we are also helping to promote), for evidence of how the format can help punch through on serious issues.



Brands with a strong visual narrative should also be paying attention. 360 video will allow them to play to their strengths in a way that no other format can. Imagine what a visually led brand like National Geographic could achieve…



…or one, like Hilton Hotels, that has a ready made immersive slant to its appeal.



At the moment 360 video is a format that affords the shock of the new. Given time, and enough exposure, we’d expect the format, even one as apparently new and exciting as 360, to slip easily into consciousness and demand the same quality that standard video ads need to deliver if they are going to be a success. The importance of quality creative and production will remain key, no matter how many cameras were involved in the making of your next feature.


By Oliver Brown