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Samsung Gear 360 Cameras Being Given Away by Hotel Chain so Guests can Shoot VR Campaign

360-degree cameras like 360fly and Ricoh’s Theta S allow the average consumer to now create their own immersive 360 videos at a reasonable price. The latest camera to enter this market is Samsung’s Gear 360 which recently launched for £349 GBP. But these devices aren’t just being used by consumers as a hotel chain is now using the Gear 360 to shoot an advertising campaign, with a twist.

St. Giles Hotels, which has nine properties in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, has launched a competition where entrants can win a one night stay in one of its hotels. Each winner will then be given a Gear 360 to shoot an immersive video in the city where the hotel is located, reports AdWeek.

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The contest which is run in conjunction with creative agency Piranha first asks customers to fill out a form on the St. Giles website asking a few basic questions. Thirty entrants will then be picked to stay at one of six hotels in New York, London, Sydney, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

“We’re actually going to be putting prosumer cameras in the hands of hotel guests as well as our own team and social media influencers to actually tell the St. Giles story on the ground in 360,” said Rob Sabatini, creative director and co-founder of Piranha.

Once all the footage has been shot a final cut will be made to use as a social media campaign due to launch in September 2016. St. Giles will also create an app of mobile devices allowing the public to view the content on head-mounted displays (HMDs) like Google Cardboard.

“With VR, there’s such a focus on the high end with Oculus, but how do we make this technology accessible to the masses?” Sabatini said. “We really tried to find the tone that would help amplify St. Giles’ message as well as show how this tech can be used in a commercial landscape – it’s not just for the people that have headsets; it’s for people on Facebook or YouTube.”

The competition is just another example of how companies around the world are embracing VR as a viable advertising medium, being able to add impact to products and services in ever more imaginative ways. Etihad Airways for instance launched a 360-degree film called Reimagine, starring Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman to promote the airlines latest Airbus A380’s.

For all the latest news and announcements on VR, keep reading VRFocus.