3D Projection Mapping is the ability to alter the look and feel of surfaces, environments and props through high powered projection, animation, light and shadows. In the last 2 years it has evolved out of the production/entertainment world into a medium that creates unique brand content penetrating consumers’ thoughts, mobile phones and social circles. If done correctly the result is a jaw-dropping experience that leaves a lasting impression with an infectious viral following. There are few communications opportunities, in this advertise-on-everything world, which can engage a consumer without them feeling they are a victim of another advertising conspiracy.
Today, more advertisers and agencies are exploring 3D projection events. However, if they are not planned and crafted well they easily become forgettable. In the film Almost Famous, the lead guitarist of Stillwater says to a Rolling Stone reporter, “Just make us look cool.” That’s something we hear too often when we’re approached to discuss an immersive 3D projection experience. “We want something cool.” Except as we all know, cool is fleeting.
So, how can a 3D projection harness cool and make a permanent brand impression? Let’s start with what is fleeting: a 3 to 4 minute version of the brand’s :30 commercial; a bunch of random visual effects created by a group of techies and animators who are the only people who can appreciate it; and most importantly, an experience that is framed as a one-off event with no single theme or narrative.
The peaceable kingdom of art and commerce
The preeminent projections are seen as visual storytelling. An effective 3D projection story mixed with unique but relevant effects will influence consumer behavior and create a desire to share.
The best 3D experiences inspire mobile-to-mobile content sharing when they don’t appear “too commercial.” That’s why we often refer to 3D projection as the gateway drug to other media, both social and earned. It has one commonality: it’s a story and art installation, with an objective to sell more stuff to more people more often. For the 3D experience to realize its ultimate viral contagion, a brand message needs a tableau that is unique, elegant, artistic and disruptive.
Living in perpetuity
Regardless of the brand category, always look beyond the event. While collaborating with the advertiser and the AOR, never lose sight of your story and how that story can go viral and create a lasting impression. The success metric is planted in the creative, and that will drive the earned and social media plans. If a one night 3D event in Los Angeles has 15,000 attendees, you should expect over 2 million earned media impressions and 25,000 – 40,000 video hits within the first 7 days. The success of a 3D event doesn’t just rest in creative integrity, but in a well-crafted public relations & social media plan. In the end, the value proposition is consumer content sharing.
Trust the process
While the business continues to change, that fact is we’re all Type-A people. We want the ball. So, rather than ask your clients to be patient while the animation team creates, ensure the animation process is collaborative. The best projections occur when there is true partnership from start to finish.
Set expectations upfront – a what-to-expect when planning a 3D projection event. Keep in mind that it all starts with the surface. That’s your storytelling canvas. Allow 8 – 10 weeks from concept development to show time.
While your show will be cool, it’s only successful if it creates lasting impressions.