For our Predictions Deep Dive, creative agency 20Something’s Will Thacker muses on what the future of 3D billboards looks like and how advertisers can continue to surprise people.
Six years on since Coca-Cola first debuted the concept and we’ve already seen the good, the bad and the meh in the world of 3D out-of-home (OOH).
The last few years surfaced a bumper crop, from the voluptuous rendered bubbles of the Air Max to an avalanche of Poké Balls, not to mention all the cats (why so many cats?).
The power of the medium is its ability to transcend its own sizable screen and travel to our own small screens as we like and share the latest in larger-than-life animations.
I question how many people actually do stand on the exact pinpoint spot to see the “real” anamorphic, as opposed to the sanitized filmed version we pass around on LinkedIn. Another curious quirk of this medium is that an execution can run just once, for five seconds in the middle of the night, on a screen no one can see, and then be passed around the world for millions to enjoy. The magic of 3D is that, for the moment, we’ve rekindled the concept of “event” advertising.
One thing’s for sure, the development of the medium is unleashing a burst of creativity in what some people have termed the “phygital” space. As usual, luxury fashion brands are leading the charge but brands across the spectrum are becoming more comfortable with flexing their biceps in the space. We’re seeing more entertaining, narrative-led visual wonders emerge – like Louis Vuitton’s technicolor Yayoi Kusama, wearing a pumpkin and peering over the streets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
But what’s next for 3D anamorphic billboard? For a medium that relies on shareability for its cost efficiency, how do we keep the outputs fresh and the eyeballs interested?
The answer lies in blowing up the format. Shake off the shackles of the word “poster” and reframe the opportunity. These spaces and ideas have the potential to stretch across experiential activation, immersive experiences, branded content, trial mechanics and personalization. Soon we will be able to step inside and “try on” digital assets before we buy them. And it won’t be long until the format is not just on the big screens of big cities but it will be on the train, on the street or on a trusty bus-stop six-sheet. Perhaps one day we will be able to get to a level of personalization where I see something different to you or perhaps you can interact with me through the medium.
The most successful attempts will continue to blur the lines between art, entertainment and advertising. The least successful will crowbar 3D elements into bland sales messages – choose your Subway sandwich, anyone? We would do well to remember that we’re not just interrupting people’s lives; thanks to 3D, we’re now also invading their space, so we need to make it worth their while.