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The rise of 3D billboard advertising: How brands can do it right in 2024

The rise of 3D billboard advertising: How brands can do it right in 2024

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In an increasingly competitive and crowded advertising landscape, more brands have begun creating literal out-of-the-box campaigns by leveraging 3D billboard displays to grab audiences and capture their attention. From eCommerce platform Shopee Malaysia and Malaysian girl group Dolla traffic-stopping 3D billboard runway fashion show in Kuala Lumpur to travel and lifestyle brand TUMI's 3D display that saw bags jumping off the screen, brands have begun to get real creative recently.

Don't miss: Shopee stops KL traffic with 3D billboard featuring MY girl group Dolla

These 3D billboards generally rely on the shock factor, but what is the secret to effectively utilising these displays to make a lasting impact on consumers? The answer it seems, lies in making an impact in mere seconds with hyper localised experiences and concise narratives, according to Kenneth Soh, head of marketing at Shopee Malaysia.

Utilising hyper-localised visuals

“Effective 3D billboard advertising requires an understanding that this has to be hyper-localised to the foot traffic of audiences in the area for maximum returns,” he said. “To capture the right audience’s attention within the fleeting moments of exposure, it is crucial to deliver simple yet stunning visuals that convey a clear and concise story,” Soh continued.

While these 3D OOH mediums have brief moments of exposure, Soh added that the activations can extend its lifespan by targeting mobile-savvy audiences through the creation of experiential moments on their phones. This can be done by encouraging them to share their billboard experiences with as many as possible.

To mitigate issues of limited exposure, especially when few billboards have 3D capabilities, Shaad Hamid, general manager, Singapore and regional head of performance marketing at GrowthOps Asia, explained that beyond turning heads, these billboards should also create a fear of missing out (FOMO).

“A good 3D billboard should not only turn heads but also generate a bit of FOMO for those who didn't experience it firsthand,” he said, adding:

3D billboards are like guerrilla marketing – they create buzz beyond those who see them directly.

To further engage with passing consumers, 3D billboard ads can also leverage on interactive elements, added Hamid.

“While the shock factor grabs attention, sustainability of impact is crucial. Brands should focus on interactive elements that engage passersby, like augmented reality experiences that invite audience participation,” he said.

Hamid also said, “this approach turns a momentary shock into a lasting impression and fosters a deeper brand connection.”

Are marketers hesitant to leverage 3D billboard ads?

Interestingly, despite Soh and Hamid agreeing that 3D billboard ads are capable of generating great results, marketers may be hesitant to leverage these ads due to a steep learning curve and stringent laws.

“We often see brands producing 2D ads for 3D billboards, resulting in them being unable to harness the medium's full potential,” said Soh. To fully utilise the anamorphic function and create 3D illusions that are only effective from certain angles, a lot of time and effort was spent on testing the activation for Shopee, he said.

“It wasn’t easy for the team to get the 3D illusion effect right at first. 3D billboards being anamorphic meant that we needed to find the specific angle to truly bring the 3D illusion to life,” he said.

“We had to test it out with many virtual mock-ups, with the teams going down to the site for multiple physical recces to test out different angles, colours, and sizes of the elements,” Soh explained.

Furthermore, Hamid added that Singapore carefully regulates outdoor advertising to maintain a visually refined urban landscape to uphold the city’s aesthetic integrity. This means that marketers need to tread more carefully when creating innovative ads.

However, he also remains optimistic about the future development of 3D billboards ads.

“As technology becomes more accessible and case studies demonstrating successful ROI emerge, we can expect a gradual shift,” said Hamid. He added that consumers can expect the fusion of social media content into 3D billboard experiences, increased use of augmented reality and wearables to create more personalised and content driven experiences.“ Additionally, as sustainability becomes a global focus, eco-friendly 3D advertising solutions are likely to emerge, balancing innovation with environmental responsibility,” he added

Similarly, Soh predicts that 3D billboard advertising will be taken to new heights in 2024 as more brands recognise the effectiveness of this advertising format and face increased competition.

“This will fuel advancements in visual effects and content, redefining the standards of outdoor advertising. To thrive in this competitive arena, we believe that brands must champion creativity, innovation, and a deep understanding of hyperlocal preferences,” he explained.

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