LOS ANGELES: Mountain Dew, the soft drinks brand owned by PepsiCo, believes that tapping into the power of virtual reality (VR) can help it make a major impression in the "experience economy".

Stinson Parks, Digital Brand Manager for Mountain Dew, discussed this subject during the 2016 Ad Age Brand Summit held in Los Angeles.

"The piece that excites me most about VR overall is it really matches with a larger macro consumer trend," Parks said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: VR drives PepsiCo's Mountain DEWcision.)

"We are now living in the days of the experience economy. It doesn't matter what age you are: we have all kinds of statistics telling us that, now, people would rather spend their money on a unique experience than, necessarily, that new shiny object."

As an early adopter, Mountain Dew has already developed various activations in the virtual-reality arena, ranging from links with skateboarding and snowboarding events to a program centred around NASCAR motorsports.

"We've always been about being an instigator in all our spaces that we play in. Our consumers have gotten used to us really pushing the status quo in everything we do, including our marketing efforts," Parks said.

"We have an expression: 'If we're not pushing the boundaries ... then we're probably doing it wrong'," he continued. "Innovation and virtual reality has become a nice kind of communication point for how we express that."

If virtual reality currently represents an opportunity to be seen as a marketing pioneer, the longer-term prospects could run much deeper.

"VR is projected, as an industry, to be an $80bn [business] by 2025," Parks stated. "And, just for comparison, that's roughly the size of the PC market today.

"We also know, thanks to Bloomberg Tech, there's expected to be roughly 6.5m headsets for VR shipped this year alone."

Based in large part on such insights, Parks reported, Mountain Dew is "excited about a lot of the trends that are happening with virtual reality, and that's why we continued over the years to keep pressing forward."

How brands can use virtual and augmented reality is one of six key trends explored in the 2017 Warc Toolkit. Download this chapter for free here.

Data sourced from Warc