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It’s a widely known fact that ostriches can’t fly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to. Like many of us, ostriches (probably) want what they can’t have, and in Samsung’s latest ad showcasing the Gear VR headset, the historically flightless bird finally gets its wings. We discover the insights behind the campaign, and explain how VR technology is making the impossible, possible...kind of.

Teaming up with Leo Burnett, Samsung’s latest spot begins with a nosey ostrich leaving its flock and stumbling across a VR headset, before accidentally getting it stuck on its head. The ostrich then experiences a flight simulator, trying (and failing) many times to take flight, before finally lifting off and soaring through the sky to Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’. The ad finishes with Samsung proclaiming ‘We make what can’t be made, so you can do what can’t be done’.

With the help of VR, even an ostrich can fly
Samsung Mobile (2017) ©

The aptly named #DoWhatYouCant campaign is one in a series of VR ads from Samsung, that showcases the product’s ability to help people master the unmasterable – they previously helped people overcome their fears of public speaking in their #befearless campaign. And while VR is being used in every industry from gaming, to travel to entertainment, this is highlighting the fact that this technology is being used to help people feel and experience things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to due to physical restrictions.

Technology has long been used as a platform to help people, but it’s increasingly being used to help people lead lives they are otherwise unable to. Online world Second Life, for example, plays home to 800,000 monthly active users – an estimated one in five of whom has a physical or mental handicap and have long been benefitting from the virtual community formed on the website. “Second Life has been a lifeline since I had to give up work,” writes Second Life user Bitsy Buccaneer. “My physical limitations matter less here and I've found good friends who recognise and appreciate my strengths.” VR similarly has the power to help people do what they can’t in the real world. Set to become a $1 billion industry, with 45% of Brits interested in using it for fantasy scenarios like flying or walking on water, Samsung’s ad suggests that it really can be the wind beneath our wings in more ways than one.

Hannah Callaghan is an account executive at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. When she’s not helping clients navigate the deepest layers of the Canvas8 Library, she’s probably binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race or befriending other people’s dogs.


03 Apr 17
2 min read

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