Check it out: Want to try VR logging?

Why chainsaw brand Husqvarna is the latest to give consumers an immersive virtual brand experience.

Virtual reality is one of the biggest trends in digital marketing right now, which means every brand is looking for a way to capitalize – even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.

Swedish brand Husqvarna is the latest the join this list, but its virtual reality logging game (you read that right) might have a more clever strategy behind it than you’d think.

Now available in Canada via the Steam gaming platform, the game takes players to a lakeside logging site where they use a virtual version of the Husqvarna 359 chainsaw to remove 24 branches from a nearly three-metre log.

It’s a race against the clock, so players have to move fast, but they also need to be accurate: improperly cutting a branch will force them to go back and re-do it, losing valuable time. Good times will get players onto a leaderboard that allows them to compare their performance with players from around the world. At the end of every month until August 2017, Husqvarna will announce the top player for the month, all 12 of whom will be invited to a world championship final, to take place in Sweden.

Husqvarna might seem like a strange brand to get into the VR space, but the company sees many different ways this kind of execution could be beneficial.

On the one hand, Husqvarna hopes it can generate interest in logging both as a profession (it is a leading supplier of professional-grade equipment in markets around the world, including Canada) and as a pastime (it is one of the main sponsors of the annual World Logging Championships, and the VR experience is based on one of the competition’s events).

On the other hand, it goes without saying that chainsaws are dangerous, and the brand is hoping the game will help it gather insights on ways emerging technologies like VR could be used in the future to educate consumers on safety and proper use of its equipment.