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Can technology help improve the (virtual) reality of the nation’s health?

As we draw into the last week of Jan, the sad reality is that many of the resolutions made on 1st Jan are starting to come unstuck – today is apparently the day most of us throw the (sweaty) towel in and go back to living in the status quo after deciding that those ambitious goals we set ourselves are just too much.

But what if you could make some small changes to your health and wellbeing, and from the comfort of your own home… possibly even your sofa… with a virtual reality (VR) headset on?

VR-yoga

VR no longer feels like a futuristic concept, and a number of brands have come up with some amazingly creative campaigns harnessing this technology to connect people through a concept or a story delivered through this medium. Last year, Cirkle brought a campaign for GSK’s Corsodyl brand to life for the trade media using VR headsets to simulate a tooth falling out – amplifying the brand’s TV ad. Scary stuff, but it left a huge impression on those influencers that experienced it.

So what’s this got to do with New Year’s resolutions? There’s a huge opportunity for wellness and health brands to connect with people at the moments during a time where they are struggling to keep their mindset in the game, and motivation to make changes for the sake of their health is waning. The NHS have been reported as saying that “2017 will be the year of Virtual Reality”, and a number of companies are already stepping up to the mantle to deliver health benefits to the end consumer through the comfort of a headset and screen; from challenging full body workouts, to delivering therapy to people with mental health issues.

With a growing burden on the NHS to treat more and more of us for varying types and scales of health issues, and trying to cope with a nation that is living longer than ever (around the 100 year mark), the opportunity for brands with a vested interest in helping consumers live a healthier lifestyle and take a more proactive approach to health and wellbeing is rampant.

Virtual Reality won’t be suited to every scenario, but imagine if we could be walked virtually through a personalised view of how the portion sizes our meals should be, or take part in a group yoga class from the comfort of our living room without having to overcome barriers such as embarrassment, cost and time that it takes to get to a gym each time. Imagine a world where a virtual life coach to help you de-stress after a long and busy day at work wasn’t adopted by just a select few, but became a normal part of people’s daily routines…

I’ll admit, I was the first to scoff that Google Glass, Oculus rift and even the more recent Google Daydream View were gimmicks that probably wouldn’t catch on with consumers. I mean, is anyone still even bothering with 3D TV…? However, I’m actually thrilled at the prospect of being proven wrong, particularly if it means that VR could assist us in living healthier, more active and ultimately more fulfilling lives.

Victoria Coppin
Digital Account Director

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