Holographic technology is the future of advertising in an era of ad-blockers

  • Holograms reinvigorate marketing
  • The future of advertising
  • Transforming retail shopping
  • Mobile operator launches 5G with the help of holographic tech
  • Celebrity holographic endorsements
  • Holo-campaigns are a solution for brands’ advertising woes

In the past decade, brands have witnessed the kind of influence younger and up-and-coming generations can have on business and marketing. Millennials, the people born between 1981 and 1996, have played a significant role in transforming numerous industries and how they advertise. Furthermore, their global spending power in 2020 totals more than $2.14 trillion, meaning that now more than ever, businesses will want to cater to this generation. And Generation Z, or Gen-Z for short, is hot on the millennials’ heels. This generation, born between 1996 and 2010, already makes up 40 per cent of all customers in the US, and is set to gain even more purchasing power in the near future.

But contrary to the popular opinion, millennials, and especially Gen-Z, do not rely solely on digital devices to do their shopping. In fact, they are best described as hybrid shoppers, who enjoy both the brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping. On the other hand, traditional television and print media advertising is highly unlikely to catch their attention.

To that end, if brands wish to target the younger generations of shoppers successfully, they need to look into novel marketing methods that can draw in millennial and Gen-Z consumers. And holographic marketing might just do the trick. A 2020 report on the global holographic market by ResearchAndMarkets.com projects that 3D holographic imagery is “the next major thing in the advertisement sector”. The rising adoption of holographic displays for marketing in the retail sector will be one of the main factors fuelling its market growth.

Holograms reinvigorate marketing

Despite the omnipresence of digital devices and social media in our everyday lives, online advertising is barely registering with the average user. The hyper saturation of online advertisements has led to dismal statistics – for example, the percentage of users who click on a specific ad link is only 0.05 per cent. Also, businesses shouldn’t forget the proliferation of ad-blocking software among internet users. According to a global study by Kantar Millward Brown, out-of-home or outdoor advertising (OOH) is the most preferred ad format among Gen-Z and Millennials. As a result, OOH has re-entered the scene through interactive displays and digital billboards. Holographic technology has proved itself to be an excellent addition to OOH advertising due to its ability to grab attention quickly. Described as a 3D virtual object that appears real, yet cannot be touched or felt, a hologram usually ‘floats’ in the air or stands on a surface. As the majority of people don’t have an opportunity to interact with holographic tech on a daily basis, it comes with a surprise factor that is hard to forget, making it a perfect marketing tool.

The future of advertising

A London-based holographic tech firm called HYPERVSN is already being hailed as the future of advertising, having displayed holographic advertising for high-profile clients such as Coca-Cola and Adidas. It has also partnered with Walmart outlets in the UK and Mexico, where customers had an opportunity to interact with a holographic Halloween pumpkin. Fiaz Sadiq, the head of the channel at HYPERVSN’s parent company Ikonic, says that the company realised that the public was no longer responding to static content. As brands were searching for more engaging content, HYPERVSN developed a solution that jumps out and grabs attention. “People remember the visual, the brand, the story – and that brings more revenue. Through the IoT (Internet of Things) we’ve seen that more customers are searching the website for a product or service when they’ve seen it displayed,” Sadiq highlights. Sceptics might be tempted to dismiss holograms as an expensive gimmick, but Coca-Cola found that using HYPERVSN advertising in Mexico led to a 12 per cent increase in sales.

Transforming retail shopping

Considering that millennials and Gen-Z still haven’t said goodbye to retail shopping, holographic solutions such as the one developed by creative technology company Demodern can transform brick-and-mortar stores into high-tech shopping experiences. Demodern’s holographic display can present clothing items, such as sneakers, as virtual 3D images. Using their smartphone as a remote control, customers can explore the item by rotating it, zooming in, and personalising colours and other details. The holographic display enables retailers to advertise a yet unreleased item, garnering interest even before the official launch. Furthermore, the display is portable and can be placed at highly frequented spots, such as metro stations, malls, etc.

Puma, one of the world’s biggest sportswear manufacturers, turned to holographic technology to celebrate the launch of their new basketball sneaker, the Sky Dreamer. As part of the promotional campaign, several vehicles located in front of Chicago landmarks were outfitted with smart media displays containing hologram projectors. The final projection showed a 360-degree image of the Sky Dreamer. Matt Wilkinson, the co-founder of Whisk, one of the agencies behind the advertisement, emphasises that holograms have never before been integrated into a digital OOH advertising channel. Therefore, this “uncharted never-been-done-before PR stunt is not only delivering the Puma brand message but also celebrating the innovation in one of the fastest-growing media channels”.

Mobile operator launches 5G with the help of holographic tech

Mobile operator Three also opted for holographic projections to promote the launch of their 5G network in the UK. The 5-minute live holographic advertisement, which was on display for three days at London’s South Bank in September 2019, included internet celebrities such as the gamer Vikkstar, who was shown fighting buffering symbols. Three relied on Microsoft’s mixed-reality volumetric capture technology, where 106 cameras record human performance from all angles to produce a 3D video. Viewers can then observe any point of the performance, from any perspective.

But a year before Three launched their 5G holographic campaign, another mobile operator Vodafone conducted the first live holographic call in the UK using 5G technology. Part of a broader promotional campaign for Vodafone’s own 5G network, it featured the captain of the English women’s national football team, Steph Houghton, who appeared as a 3D hologram on stage in front of an audience at Vodafone’s headquarters.

Celebrity holographic endorsements

Celebrity endorsements in marketing are by no means a novel concept, but the Singapore-based DBS Bank decided to raise the stakes by adding holograms to the mix. The promotional campaign for their new money management app called iWealth includes a holographic bus stop placed in a luxury shopping district in Hong Kong. Holograms of actors Jessica Hsuan and Louis Koo promoted the app by waving at passers-by and sharing information on the app. “The holographic animation came to life through three holographic LED fan displays, achieving a lifelike hovering hologram,” explains JCDecaux, the agency behind the campaign.

Holo-campaigns are a solution for brands’ advertising woes

Nowhere is the advertising oversaturation as visible as in the online world, where users are bombarded with ads as they scroll through Facebook, view Instagram stories, or read the news. However, they rarely click on online advertisements, and print and TV marketing have little impact on millennial and Gen-Z consumers. Out-of-home advertising, on the other hand, is far more appealing to this segment of the population, especially when paired with holographic technology. This innovative technology can turn marketing products and brands into an experience young shoppers can respond to or even interact with. Furthermore, the novelty and excitement that comes with viewing a hologram ensures that consumers leave with a lasting impression of the product, whether it’s a clothing item, a mobile provider, or a banking app.

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