It has long been the goal of any cause campaign to create that emotional connection between a consumer and a cause. Tapping an emotional cord helps consumers spring to action in support of important issues, but is oftentimes easier said than done. Now, as technology continues to change how we interact with the world around us, more cause marketers are harnessing the power of virtual reality (VR) to create entirely new, shocking, eye-opening and honest immersive experiences – bringing consumers along on the cause journey like never before.

Here are the latest campaigns we’ve tracked showing how companies and nonprofits have captured VR to drop consumers in the center of important issues:

  • Diageo Drives the Point Home: Beer, spirits and wine company, Diageo, recently announced plans to harness VR to show consumers the effects of irresponsible drinking. The VR experience puts consumers in the passenger seat alongside a drunk driver, to emphasize the power of choice. Diageo is using a multi-platform approach to reach as many consumers as possible, sharing the video on Facebook 360, YouTube and via VR headsets at sporting events and concerts.
  • Toms Inspires a Walk in Their Shoes: Toms most recent foray into VR was coupled with a giveaway of 100,000 Google Cardboard VR viewers to share the story of a consumer who travels to Columbia to meet the child who benefited from his one-for-one purchase. “A Walk in Their Shoes” also allows viewers at computers and smartphones to create their own tour through a 360-degree experience right from their homes.
  • National Autistic Society Gets Real: The National Autistic Society of the U.K. recently hit the mall with VR headsets to show shoppers what it’s like to have autism. “I don’t think I understood fully the noises and the whole experience a child with autism might be going through,” said one shopper in a follow-up video. The nonprofit hopes the simulation will help people have more empathy for people with autism.
  • Charity:Water Goes to the Source: For a fundraising gala, Charity:Water used VR to bring donors along in the life of Selam, a 13-year-old girl who fears the water she collects is full of disease, dirt and leeches. In the nine minute immersive experience, viewers see Selam and her family get clean water for the first time. The moment was so impressive, “you could hear a pin drop,” said the filmmaker, Jamie Pent, from Charity: Water to AdWeek.

Nine out of every 10 global citizens feel that companies need to do a better job showing how social and environment efforts are personally relevant to them and VR presents an opportunity to do just that. Whether that’s a walk in their shoes, a terrifying ride with a drunk driver or a simple trip to the mall, VR helps consumers truly understand complex issues in new and remarkable ways.

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