NZTE makes a play for the Asian dollar via virtual reality wine tours—UPDATED

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has teamed up with Samsung to use virtual reality as the latest tool to attract Asian buyers to New Zealand food and wine.

Visitors to Singapore’s Food Hotel Asia 2016, an international exhibition of food and drinks attracting tens-of-thousands of buyers from Asia and the rest of the world, were treated to a virtual trip to New Zealand and taken on a wine tour to showcase the country’s landscapes, the origin of New Zealand wine.

NZTE regional marketing manager in Asia Lauren Bartlett said the move was a result of New Zealand’s reputation for innovation in technology as well as its high quality food.

“We wanted to be able to transport our buyers to see where the produce is from, and the partnership with Samsung has allowed us to do exactly that.”

Bartlett said the experience was created in-house, using existing footage as well as shooting aerial footage with drones.

Now that it had been used at Food Hotel Asia, the government planned to extend the experience to buyers across South East Asia, Korea and Japan at its Food Connection events. It was also available to customers in Samsung Experience stores across Singapore, allowing the electronics brand to also benefit form the campaign according to Samsung Electronics Singapore head consumer, marketing, IT and mobile business Yvonne Chng.

“Working with the New Zealand government has given us access to great content that we can bring to our consumers. This collaboration is a great example of how we are bringing the endless possibilities of virtual reality to life for consumers and elevating their mobile experience.”

Virtual reality has been criticised, from a marketing perspective, for its scale as success requires the audience to have access to a headset.

Last year Marketing Magazine in the UK spoke to creative technologist at Framestore Karl Woolley who said: “The main barrier to marketer adoption is scale. When brands come to us with a VR idea, we explain they will get direct interactions via the thousands of people who can access the headset. But this has to be balanced against the tens or hundreds of thousands who could more easily view a campaign online.”

For NZTE, access to a headset doesn’t seem to have been an issue. By targeting those in the food and drink industry at one of their own events, it was able to ensure its audience had the opportunity to try it out.

Bartlett said VR was the chosen mechanism because from a marketing perspective it’s a cost effective way to transport buyers to New Zealand farms, oceans and vineyards.

“We used the mechanism in a B2B environment, where we were directly able to introduce the buyers to our producers after they’d had the New  Zealand experience.”

This is not the first time an alternative reality has been used to showcase New Zealand as a country of high quality food production.

Earlier this year, FernMark incorporated augmented reality into its logo in a bid to counteract the counterfeiters and promote New Zealand and its premium products to the world.

The FernMark is featured on the products of 22 New Zealand exporters and when consumers scan it, using the Blippar app, they see a video made up of scenes of wine, food, fish and snow-topped mountains.

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