The 3D LED OOH setups engaging audiences

In a world saturated with advertising, it takes something special to enthral audiences. Reece Webb discovers how anamorphic ‘3D’ content combined with LED can revolutionise the world of DOOH advertising.

How many adverts do you see every single day? The answer may surprise you; marketing agency Red Crow Marketing estimates that the average person in the US is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 every single day. While no comprehensive data for the EMEA region is available, it is likely that the number is similar.

Whether scrolling through social media, passing a roadside billboard or a digital display in the city centre, we face constant bombardment and messaging from dawn until dusk.

This is a staggering number, but it is evident that we do not recall seeing this gargantuan number of advertisements as we scroll, stroll and commute our way through our daily life. So how is this possible?

The answer lies in our all-too-fallible memory. The human brain has a remarkable ability to filter out unnecessary and irrelevant information every minute of every day, meaning that the mind screens out most ads it encounters on a day-to-day basis.

Red Crow Marketing carried out experiments to determine how many ads we recall, and of this 4,000-10,000 ads sent our way, it is reported that less than 100 of them make it past that ‘attention wall’.

This poses a nightmarishly large hurdle for anybody involved in the world of marketing and requires thinking that breaks the mould of monotonous content that is pushed into our faces and forgotten day in, day out.

Many campaigns and brands now turn to the world of AV technology to stand out above the competition, using big and bright screens as well as loud and proud audio systems, but it can easily be argued that after years of exposure on the streets of London, New York and many other cities around the globe, that simply flashing pretty colours isn’t enough to capture an oversaturated audience.

One method that has made waves both among AV professionals and the wider public at large is ‘3D’ content displayed via LED technology.

This method has been used to great effect around the globe to generate a unique wow factor that can impress both audiences lucky enough to see it in the flesh as well as audiences behind the screen experiencing the setup through viral social media posts.

Some prolific examples from around the globe include a 3D LED billboard on a busy Tokyo street, presenting a constantly customising Air Max shoe in quirky and unexpected ways.

But it’s not just the world of advertising that is benefitting from the use of 3D LED, as proven by renowned digital media artist, Refik Anadol.

Anadol created Nature Dreams: San Francisco, a digital art piece located at the east lobby of software company Salesforce in San Francisco.

The 12m tall and 24m wide ‘sculpture’ is reported to be the first 3D AI-driven digital sculpture in the USA, incorporating 200 million photographic ‘memories’ of national parks in an evolving digital canvas to wow visitors.

But what is it that makes these ‘3D’ LED experiences catch the eye of the public? This technology has now made its way to the EMEA region and has been a useful tool for digital art and entertainment studio Necsum Trison, which previously has used 3D LED content to impress the public.

Helena González Ung, digital art manager, Necsum Trison, believes that the biggest driver in the success of 3D LED displays ultimately comes down to the content. Ung says: “We have been using LED screens for years, but it’s the content that has been the gamechanger. 

“There’s now a trend for creating this kind of [3D] content, so we have focused on creating these kinds of experiences and explored new techniques. “An important thing is to have as big a display as possible for the best impact. Size matters, especially when working with 3D content to create lasting impact as well as the quality of the screens. When we mix quality with a good size, you have the right recipe for a great show where content is king.”

“We are seeing that the advertising world is taking 3D content to the next level. It’s very powerful for brands to advertise themselves with this kind of contact due to the high impact that conventional advertising cannot compare with. The spectacle of these experiences encourages people to record these moments and share them reaching many more people, achieving a multiplying effect.

But it’s not just for advertising, this kind of technology gets shared not just because of its marketing value but because of its brilliance as a tool of entertainment. One leading example of this now exists at the world-famous Piccadilly Lights in London.

The Piccadilly Lights is home to Ocean Outdoor’s DeepScreen technology, recently used to its fullest as part of a marketing campaign by bookmaker Coral. The display shows four horses and their jockeys jostling for position on the iconic screen, dissolving away as one horse leaps out of the screen in 3D slow-motion.

Coral is the first brand to use both the front and back technology of the DeepScreen to show the speed and motion of the racehorses, appearing on rotation once an hour for one week during the UK’s Cheltenham horse racing festival.

Ocean Outdoor worked with media company, the7stars, to bring the installation to life. Lewis Watson, client lead, the7stars, explains: “This project was one of the highlights of my career in advertising. The Piccadilly Lights and 3D activation is at the pinnacle of what you can do. It’s a new technology and Ocean are the company who have that technology, they really brought that technology to the UK.

“With the 3D opportunities, we aim to achieve brand fame. The industry is talking about 3D as the next major evolution of digital outdoor. It’s a way to engage audiences with brands like never before; you can create characters that break the fourth wall in a way that is unexpected.

“This is an opportunity that you don’t get with standard digital outdoor technology. When you’re talking about something that is going to get peoples’ imaginations going, encouraging them to stop and stare, it shows that the brand means business, encouraging favourable perceptions of the brand.”

As a creative medium, balancing the wow factor of 3D content remains a challenge to prevent audience oversaturation and a reduction in the impact of the experience. Though this technology is undoubtedly impressive, Ung believes it must be used sparingly to achieve its objective.

"[3D LED setups] allow us to use creative opportunities to the fullest and you’re not going to get that with other mediums." - Lewis Watson, the7stars

Ung explains: “Nowadays, everybody wants to have a digital experience. Clients know that it is an achievable aim, but the goal is to have ‘wow factor’ content. Technology is only the means to create experiences, creativity is the epicentre of our projects. It is not enough to have large digital or technological media, it is also necessary to add value to technology to create true entertainment areas. We are always being asked to create this and we have to seek a balance with the 3D content, you can’t always be impacting people 24/7. The objective is to have eye catching visuals with ambient content or advertising before impacting again.

“That’s why Necsum Trison always tries to have this kind of balance with its content. You don’t want to have a 3D LED setup in a food court impacting people all of the time while they’re having dinner, that’s not what we’re aiming for.”

Looking to the future, there is fertile ground for the implementation of 3D LED technology across the EMEA region. It is certainly early days and impact value remains high, though an explosion of exposure to these kinds of experiences may have a detrimental effect on the experience in the long run.

Ung reflects: “The 3D effect is enhanced the larger the canvas is, so the bigger display, the better. We can explore different areas outside of advertising and entertainment such as cinemas in the future, bringing 3D effects without goggles; there are lots of opportunities for this 3D experience to expand.”

Watson closes: “[3D LED setups] allow us to use creative opportunities to the fullest and you’re not going to get that with other mediums. 3D LED is an exciting medium that is new to the UK, and many haven’t seen this before here. Being the first brand in this sector to do it is an opportunity that we couldn’t let pass us.

“It will be interesting to see how this technology evolves when it’s more recognised with reduced wow factor, but at the moment, brands are looking to get involved as it’s the new big thing and these experiences generate fantastic brand exposure.

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