Brands go big as 3D projection goes viral

Large-scale spectacles are an increasingly accepted tactic for creating memorable brand experiences.

Large-scale spectacles are an increasingly accepted tactic for creating memorable brand experiences. But when the canvas is a city building and the spectacle is a 3D-projection experience, the stakes are raised.

This spectacle must go viral - shared across social and earned media channels - or the brand, especially a consumer brand, is missing a huge opportunity.

Brands embarking on a large-scale 3D- projection initiative should start by considering how to create and present brand content that is inherently viral. Projecting an extended version of your 30-second commercial won't do the trick. By now, millions of consumers have seen repetitive effects, so the creative must be original and intriguing. Inspire consumers to share brand content and media outlets to cover it by planning social, earned, event, promotional, and interactive strategies and tactics.

Viral contagion isn't catalyzed by the scale of 3D projection alone. Rather, it all starts with brand content unfolding in unexpected ways with a clear sense of visual engagement. The launch of the Nokia Lumia 800 3D projection, in collaboration with the musician Deadmau5, is a great example: Subtle brand content, visual dexterity, and strategic use of a pop culture icon with a targeted following of his own that fits the Nokia brand's DNA. In less than a year, a video of the event is living in perpetuity with more than 5.5 million views on YouTube.

Today, 3D-projection mapping is one of the most artistically compelling and potentially cost-effective ways to express a brand while anchoring a major brand event. Combining visual disruption with grand scale is quickly becoming the main event.

Typically, planning and development for a 3D-projection experience is focused on concept, animation, operational logistics, and event coordination. However, because a typical event draws 3,000 to 10,000 spectators, metrics planning is a critical success factor and differentiator.

Clearly, these impressions alone cannot yield a healthy ROI. Here is how to get your experiential activation to be spread and seen by millions.

These 3D-projection mapping events create a unique immersive brand environment for all in attendance. By extending the program with an online live stream, consumers can tune in remotely via promoted links to experience the event in real time. Based on past experiences, live streaming can cost effectively bring an additional 200,000-plus customers into the shared experience.

Given today's smartphone savvy consumer, brand teams should expect consumers to take photos and videos of 3D projections and share them on social media sites.

For every social media share, expect an outgrowth of four more shares. To ensure brand integrity and control the spread of the message, assign a dedicated hashtag and promote it in advance of the event and on-site. The hashtag will give readers context for each post and help deliver data back to marketers. Consider using hashtags for sweeps and contests associated with the event, which will give consumers additional incentives to get involved and help spread the word.

Consider tying in with a known talent, either a celebrity with clear connectivity to your brand or with social media influencers on each channel. Loop them into your event, share your hashtag with them to grow the contagion factor exponentially, and allow the brand to tap into the talent's built-in social outlets and loyal following.

Earned media represents the biggest opportunity for contagion. The key is integration between the brand and PR teams and the marketing group at the 3D company. Spectacles in 3D can be a driver for coverage by targeting appropriate media outlets.

Plan to keep spreading the buzz beyond the event. Produce new shareable content during or immediately following an event, with a strategic plan for seeding in social media. A time-lapse video of key moments is important. Have someone shooting Vine and Instagram videos and stills onsite. Have videographers to cover the event, and an edited, press-ready video by 9am the next morning. Share it on social channels and you can expect earned media impressions well into the millions.

Then you can go home, and go home big.

Josh Cohen is the president and CEO of Pearl Media, an out-of-home advertising and production company with extensive experience in 3D immersive experiences.

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