Once InStyle editorial director Ariel Foxman completed a virtual reality walk-through of the Smithsonian Museum via Google Cardboard, a virtual reality viewer, he was hooked.
Foxman maintained that the publication has been at the forefront of helping readers experience new technology — from Snapchat-ting the September issue in 2014 to using augmented reality to bring a Taylor Swift cover to life — and that bringing virtual reality to readers was the next step. “I want to use this technology in a way that brings the viewer to the most behind-the-scenes piece of our magic-making. We were looking at the calendar of what we were creating, and our November cover is Drew Barrymore,” Foxman said, adding that Barrymore, who holds the cover record for the magazine (this will be her eighth) was the obvious choice for the launch of InStyle Virtual.
Developed in partnership with Jaunt, who filmed the experience on a 360-degree stereoscopic camera with 3-D sound-field microphones, viewers can become immersed in the cover-shoot process, which includes Barrymore being styled in Stella McCartney and giving makeup tips. Starting today, the experience will be live on the Jaunt VR app, and InStyle will distribute cardboard viewers to select subscribers with its November issue. Users can also visit the InStyle Virtual landing page to sign up to get a limited-edition VR viewer. Foxman said this will be the first of an InStyle Virtual series, which will continue to create experiences around events like cover shoots, celebrities inside their homes and red-carpet parties. He added that InStyle Virtual can become a meaningful revenue-driver as well, with significant sponsorship and native opportunities for advertisers. “The experience is so distinctive, but what makes it the next level is this type of content. There’s a lot of consumer excitement and a business opportunity down the road. We’re going full-throttle into it,” Foxman said.