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All-in on virtual experiences? You’re signing your brand’s death warrant

todayApril 27, 2021 2

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Last month, the streets of Austin, Texas bustled with live DJs, flying drones, and bands performing inside flower shops. The virtual streets of Austin, that is. 

For the second year in a row, South by Southwest went digital. This time, it featured an immersive recreation of downtown Austin in which attendees could strap on a pair of Oculus Quest headset to drink virtual beer, peruse a crypto-art gallery, and pop into a virtual selfie stand.

SXSW 2021 was lauded for its technological feats — and rightly so — but if event organizers are convinced this VR utopia is the new frontier for live experiences, I believe they’ll be in for a painful reckoning. 

And this is especially true for brands that have relied on virtual concerts, augmented reality scavenger hunts, and audio-guided tastings to connect with consumers in a contactless world.

Credit: SXSW