Carrie Dooher & Tasha Prados

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Carrie is a Senior Vice President in Ogilvy’s Social Marketing practice. She brings abroad range of skills in communications, law, and public health to her clients with experience in prevention issues related to food, food safety, health, children’s nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention, as well as violence prevention, including juvenile justice and domestic violence. Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology & Spanish from the University of Michigan and a juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center.

Tasha Prados is a Senior Account Executive with Ogilvy’s Social Change practice; she also contributes to Mic and to Keteka. She served in the Peace Corps in Peru from 2011-2013, and has also worked at a think tank, a startup, the Embassy of Afghanistan, and the United Nations Foundation. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina.

Ogilvy is Harnessing the Power of Virtual Reality for Change, Responsibly

Mar 31

How can you encourage public officials to take flood risks seriously? That’s the question that Ogilvy sought to answer working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with IMMERSED, a Virtual Reality (VR) experience created to help users understand the real impacts that flooding brings to communities and individuals. Ogilvy, as part of the Resilience Action Partners joint venture with Michael Baker International, created the experience to encourage users to consider the direct benefits of mitigation action taken to prevent catastrophic damage from flooding in at-risk areas. IMMERSED, created for local officials and decision makers, transports users to a virtual world and puts people in an actual flood experience where their choices have real consequences.

Ogilvy’s new Center for Innovation and Creative Technology is harnessing the power of VR by combining behavior change science, digital strategy, technology, and social change theories to create genuine human experiences that lead to real and lasting behavior change. Through the design of VR experiences, Ogilvy is helping consumers face issues head on.

Eight out of the top 10 largest tech companies have invested in Virtual Reality technology for a good reason—VR represents a paradigm shift in what is possible, and the practical applications for teaching, learning, and behavior change are huge. Instead of watching a hero in a video, you are the hero. You don’t watch VR, you experience it. Your brain processes VR and stores VR memories more similarly to real experiences and dreams, making it immensely more powerful than more traditional mediums. Early studies indicate that VR can change how people think and behave.

On March 30th, Ogilvy Washington hosted an Ogilvy Exchange to explore the issues surrounding this emerging technology with industry leaders, including Experius VR’s CEO J. Elliott Mizroch and resident neuroscientist Amy Shafqat; Ogilvy’s own Lead Creative Technologist Pete Nellius and Executive Creative Director Kai Fang; Tyler Gates, Director of Business Development for Brightline; and Sarah Devaney-Ice, Communications and Outreach Lead for the FEMA Risk Management Directorate. The engaging discussion ranged from the power of the medium to how it can impact public health and risk mitigation to the current limitations and expansion opportunities to the ethics of this growing and promising industry.

Panelists at Ogilvy’s March 30 Exchange

The ethics of any new technology is delicate, particularly when technology advances as rapidly as VR has. The panel acknowledged that there are many unknowns – the long-term impacts of VR, how VR experiences imprint on the human brain, and the potential benefits that VR could have in solving challenges for children relative to the potential harms. The panelists, trailblazers in technology and in using VR for federal behavior change and communications campaigns, concluded the discussion with a virtual handshake to also be ethics trailblazers and responsible stewards of VR.

VR is a game changer, and through Ogilvy’s new Center for Innovation and Creative Technologies, Ogilvy is building interactive and emerging technology solutions that influence and change behavior, helping people live healthier, safer, and happier lives.

To learn more about VR and Ogilvy’s new Center for Innovation and Creative Technology, please contact Pete Nellius at