Advertisers start to enter the third dimension

06 April 2010

NEW YORK: A range of advertisers are beginning to experiment with 3-D in the US, as they seek to find new ways of connecting with their target audience.

Samsung, the electronics giant, has started running three-dimensional cinema ads prior to showings of 3-D versions of How to Train Your Dragon and Monsters vs Aliens.

The company has developed two commercials, each with the tagline "Dedicated to wonder," as part of the first promotional campaign behind its 3-D television sets.

In one spot, a family is watching TV while marine wildlife swims out towards them, while the other demonstrates how these devices allow people to enjoy the cinematic experience on the small screen. (A video from the company is available here.)

Peggy Ang, vp of marketing communications for Samsung Electronics America's consumer electronics arm, said "3-D is a new dimension, literally and figuratively."

"Everybody has taken to the experience in the theatres, and consumers are saying, 'How can I take this home?'"

In order to deliver a meaningful impact, Samsung partnered with Digital Domain, which had previously worked on the visual effects for Avatar, the pioneering film made by James Cameron.

"We are committed to 3-D, so we cannot compromise. We wanted to deliver nothing short of the full 3-D experience because it's going to be right beside the movies," said Ang.

Samsung expects to sell between three million and four million 3-D TV sets in the US this year, which would still only equate to around 10% of all category purchases.

Panasonic and LG are also heightening their focus on this area, while ESPN plans to broadcast matches from the FIFA World Cup, beginning in June, in three dimensions.

Elsewhere, Friskies, the pet food brand owned by Purina, launched its first 3-D execution in tandem with the release of Disney's Alice in Wonderland, a strategy motivated by its existing positioning of "Feed the senses."

"We felt it was a perfect fit. We decided, 'Why don't we push a little further with 3-D, which is the ultimate sensory experience?'" Susan Schlueter, the director of marketing for Friskies, said.

Purina allied with specialists from around the world on the spot, including Shythesun in Cape Town, Passion Pictures in London and Avrett Free Ginsberg in New York.

Overall, it took over seven months to complete "Adventureland", which combines live action and animation, and can run in two dimensions on TV and in enhanced form on movie screens.

GSD&M Idea City has also made a 3-D ad for the US Air Force, which is based in space, and was converted from computer-generated 2-D graphics.

Christopher Colton, creative director of GSD&M, said repurposing this material added something in the range of $50,000 (€37k; £33k) and $70,000 – and four-to-six weeks – to the production process, but offered tangible benefits.

"It already had dynamic scenes with the space action," he argued. "It had the drama to get the viewer engaged in a 3-D experience."

Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing at NCM Media Networks, the cinema group, described the move towards this format as "one of the most exciting opportunities to come our way in cinema in a long time."

Ken Venturi, cco/evp at NCM Media Networks, said making 3-D ads can lift production costs by between 10% and 50%, but suggested that first movers had a real advantage given the hype surrounding films like Avatar.

Data sourced from AdWeek; additional content by Warc staff