New Reality: Ogilvy launches global lab to ‘unlock’ emerging tech for brands

Offering designed to demystify and cut through the ‘WTF’ and ‘IDK’ of AR, VR, Web3 and NFTs.

Ogilvy has unveiled a lab designed to "explore and unlock" emerging technologies and apply them to clients' businesses and brands.

Named Reality, the new lab is a global operation housed out of Ogilvy Experience that will be led by Dickon Laws, Ogilvy's global head of innovation.

Describing the thinking behind the name, Laws said: "Our role is to build a bridge between today's reality and future realities by translating emerging technologies into relevant and accessible creative experiences."

A dedicated team will lead Reality, including chief technology officer Michael Tidmarsh, partnership director 
Ingrid Olmesdahl, head of strategy Chris Hilton, head of emerging tech 
Lorenzo Cordioli, senior experience director 
Maurizia Lo Re and executive creative director 
James Ramsden.

The launch of Reality is essentially a formalisation of an existing tech offering from the agency network. Reality will, accordingly, pool talent from network peers such as Coley Porter Bell, AQuest, BottleRocket and Jussi. The cross-network collaboration has already seen work produced for brands including Gucci, VW, Pizza Hut, Cadbury's, Estee Lauder, Greenpeace and Lamborghini.

Reality will also tap into established Ogilvy partnerships with the likes of Snapchat, Meta, Epic Games (Fortnite's publisher), Soul Machines and Salesforce. Ogilvy recently achieved certification from Meta for using the latter's AR production suite, Spark AR.

Ogilvy said Reality would focus on three areas: augmented experiences, which covers AR and "camera strategies"; synthetic experiences, including "world building, digital humans and design-generative content"; and decentralised experiences, which explores how a "'trust free' internet improves customer experience".

Laws said: "Although most brands have experimented with emerging tech, there is still a lot of IDK and WTF attached to AR, VR, AI, ML, NPC, NFT and Web3. When you think that the metaverse and its associated technologies are projected to be worth almost $1.5tn dollars by 2029, that's either a lot of growth to miss out on or a lot of mis-invested budget for brand leaders to be accountable for through poor understanding and unfamiliarity.

"Reality has been designed to de-risk that investment and unlock the value for brands by translating what these emerging and maturing technologies can mean for customers. Although we are emerging technologists, really we want to get technology out of the way and focus on needs-based adoption."

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