PRSSA welcomes John Buzzell from You Are Here Labs – Immersive Experiences

By Ashley Hoffman

ATHENS, GA. – John Buzzell, president and CEO of You Are Here Labs – Immersive Experiences, met with PRSSA, AdClub and IABC on Tuesday, Sept. 24 for day two of ADPR Week. He shared insight into his work with diverse clients to experiment and plan for success using AR, VR and many other forms of engaging technology.

Buzzell, Grady alumnus, spoke about the unique journey of working in the communications industry over the past 25 years. The past two decades of technological advancements have radically grown causing the industry around it to change as well.

Since graduating, Buzzell has watched the adaptation of technology expand from research facilities to everyone’s wrists, pockets, houses and even kitchen appliances. He believes that Grady prepares us to “shape how technology is used in the future.” Buzzell also discussed that although society is dependent on screens, once AR/VR is evenly distributed, our relationships with screens will completely transform.

Buzzell brought to our attention that technology we imagine in the future is actually already here – it is just waiting for mass acceptance. These technologies create data regarding our preferences and habits, which can be directly used by marketing, advertising and public relations practitioners. He went on to explain that AR/VR technology has the ability to engage and interest our target audiences in a way that mainstream advertising and public relations tactics cannot as it is an intimate form of technology.

After opening the floor to our PRSSA members for questions, we received a well-rounded understanding of how these technologies will play into our lives. One member asked, “If this technology happens to go mainstream, how do you see people using it?” Buzzell explained that with the correct marketing and wider acceptance it will “come slowly and in many different forms. One example being glasses.” A second member asked, “Will ads be even more personalized to each person with AR/VR technology?” Buzzell explained that this type of marketing will enhance personalization and “brands will use this tactic ruthlessly until people push back.”

At the very end Buzzell reiterated that “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” Given that our generation of Grady students will have the responsibility of shaping how this technology is used, Buzzell’s time and insights were greatly appreciated.

For our next meeting, we will host an ADPR Connection Bootcamp in Studio 100 on Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. We will offer a panel of industry professionals: Kim Landrum, Samantha Meyer and Whitney Dean, to offer advice on how to succeed during ADPR Connection. Come prepared with questions, resumes and LinkedIn profiles for critique.