Marketing trend report: A three-dimensional shift

With multiple local media providers launching 3D Out of Home (3DOOH) billboards into New Zealand for the first time in 2023, this trend looks likely to continue as more advertisers try to stand out – quite literally – from the crowd.

While there doesn’t seem to be an agreed-upon number of ads an average consumer sees each day, it’s clear that whatever the number is, it’s growing.

As we spend more and more time on the internet, our phones, and looking at various other screens either at home or out in the world, there are many moments throughout the day where advertisers can reach eyeballs.

But what happens where there are so many that audiences stop taking notice? To cut through this clutter, and tackle what is sometimes termed ‘banner blindness’, New Zealand advertisers are jumping on the 3D bandwagon to stand out in a market where attention is the currency.

The country’s first foray into the 3D space was a collaborative effort between MediaWorks, MBM and Wētā Workshop in June this year.

Passengers passing through Wellington Airport and Auckland’s Newmarket Train Station might have been surprised to see what appeared to be a troll causing chaos on the departure boards.

The observant among these commuters would have quickly realised they weren’t in any immediate danger and that this was actually a full-motion 3D effect billboard, featuring Jeff, the troll from Wētā Workshop’s Auckland tourism experience, Wētā Workshop Unleashed. 

At the time of this launch, MediaWorks Outdoor Director Brad Morgan told NZ Marketing that this technology had been around for a while overseas but hadn’t reached New Zealand until this execution.

“It’s exciting to be able to do it with creative pioneers that are well and truly Kiwis and Aotearoa’s best and finest,” he said. 

This sentiment was echoed by Sir Richard Taylor, Co-Founder of Wētā Workshop, who said the 3D platform was a perfect canvas to exhibit the workshop’s creative abilities.

This collaboration between MediaWorks, MBM, and Wētā Workshop was just the beginning of 3DOOH entering the New Zealand media landscape.

Annabelle Wilkinson from MBM said she and her team had been watching this technology evolve over the years and were “proud” to be part of the launch of this “first-of-its-kind format in Aotearoa”.

MediaWork’s 3D screens function similarly to standard digital billboards, but they prioritise the presentation of creative content. Elements like sight lines, viewing angles, and shadow depth to amplify the visual experience, are considered, emphasising the handling of creative content over the screen’s unique attributes. Additionally, these displays aim to captivate more attention than typical digital billboards. 

“Overseas research has shown that with 3D animated anamorphic creative, you get a much higher brain response than just static content, whether that’s 3D or regular static content,” Brad told NZ Marketing.

“It’s certainly more eye-catching, it’s way more memorable and incredibly shareable. It’s more opportunity to be impactful for our clients, for the right type of brands that can leverage their 3D capabilities best to promote their product and brand.”

Not to be outdone, Go Media also entered the 3D space in September, launching a Whopper campaign
for Burger King in collaboration with MBM and Pitchblack Partners, on Aotearoa’s first 3D digital roadside billboard.

Debuting on Auckland’s CBD’s Fanshawe Street, the creative featured a static Burger King Whopper, which appeared to pop out from the screen.

Nureete Burnie, Business Director at MBM, said at the time that MBM was always looking for new ways to celebrate Burger King’s burger and jumped at the chance to do so with a 3D billboard.

Matt Field, National Sales Director at Go Media, said the operation was one of pushing boundaries in the OOH space and exploring new ways of doing things.

Recently, Scentre Group BrandSpace has announced it too is including 3D in its offering, with an expansive 3D-enabled large format network launched just in time for Christmas in Westfield destinations across Australia and New Zealand.

This network is made up of 10 large format screens in New Zealand, supplementing the existing 46 screens in Australia, making it one of the most extensive 3D-enabled networks available to businesses and brands.

Richelle Scott, Scentre Group Head of Sales NZ, says the 3D billboard network “allows our business partners to bring creative to life within the most productive retail destinations in the country”.

The strategic placement of SuperScreens within Westfield environments amplifies the impact of the 3D experience, effectively engaging customers and providing a captivating platform to showcase the creative.

The introduction of 3D billboards marks a shift in the advertising world, presenting a fresh canvas for brands to connect with audiences through engaging and eye-catching creative.

As businesses continue to explore the potential of this technology, 3D billboards are poised to redefine the way advertisers connect with consumers, indicating a new era of visually stunning and impactful advertising campaigns in Aotearoa. Be sure to watch this space. 

This article was first published in our December/January 2024 issue.

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