And with the recent news of Whitney Houston being reincarnated on stage next year courtesy of a 3D moving image, you could be forgiven for still dismissing it in that way.
But the reality is different.
This technology has huge potential – not just for the weird and wonderful, but for everyday brand communications.
Understand its potential and there’s a new whole world of creativity and consumer engagement at the fingertips of brands.
The cost of bring Whitney back on to the stage may not be in the realms of most brands’ budgets. But there’s technology out there making it more accessible than ever before.
We’ve seen the high-end capabilities of Holus. Launched via Kickstarter earlier this year, the table top device that converts digital content into a 3D hologram was reported to have nearly doubled its goal of $40,000 (£25,876) in its first two hours.
Then there’s the more accessible technology. Thanks to the Holho Smart, you can now access holograms from your mobile phone for $55 (£36).
And so holograms start to become accessible and convenient to the consumer.
This can only mean one thing. Now is the time for brands to capture the potential of this technology. Minecraft showcased its holographic capabilities as it unveiled its debut game using HoloLens this summer.
Gamers could create 3D cities rising out of a coffee table, manipulate them and unveil underground chambers.
Now take that into the wider sphere of brand communication. The importance of customer experience has never been so high.
This technology has the power to engage with consumers via their mobile devices, increasing empathy and knowledge. Bring the two together and the result: A revolution in brand communications.
You can take any product that you can think of and make it appear as though it’s right in front of you. Think about how consumers could experience the brand; discover different elements of its characteristics, engage with it and start to build an understanding of the brand’s proposition.
A moving 3D image will deliver that experience in a way a website, video or press article would only touch upon.
As for the healthcare industry; this technology is born to thrive in this market.
Virtual reality is already being used to provide interactive video responses to customer product queries. So holograms can only take this further. Trying to communicate complex procedures? A 3D image of a medical professional that can talk through intricate, complicate subjects.
Give the consumer the ability to interact and engage with the hologram and suddenly educating and informing consumers reaches a whole new level.
The cynics out there will continue to cast holograms aside as costly or too extreme.
Those who are brave and have vision will lead the brand comms revolution coming our way.
Peter Brady is chief executive of Orbital Media
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