Marketers take to 3D tools

13 June 2011

PARIS: Companies including Nestlé, Ford and De Beers are utilising various new 3D technologies to attract shoppers.

Nestlé, the food group, first trialled such an approach via an augmented reality game to a box of its Chocapic cereal, within a broader tie-up with the film Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard.

Buyers had to visit a dedicated online site, switch on a webcam and hold up the box, then seeing a reflection of themselves on screen, with the packet acting as a motion-recognition device.

Mehdi Tayoubi, interactive strategy director at Dassault Systemes, which worked with Nestlé on the project, told BBC News that tangible benefits followed on from these efforts.

"This campaign, which involved more than 2m boxes in France, increased the market share of Nestlé France by 1.6%," he said.

Nestlé is now running a scheme covering 53 nations and 26m cereal boxes for brands like Cookie Crisp, Nesquik, Nescau and Trix, promoting an alliance with Rio, a 3D animated movie from 20th Century Fox.

Consumers who cut out a tag on relevant packaging are able to "bring to life" a three-dimensional bird featured in the film, and which, for example, they can virtually "feed" upon tilting their hands.

"The Rio campaign has made a lot of buzz internationally and especially in Latin America and the US," said Tayoubi.

Ford, the automaker, held a week-long event in London's Hyde Park, employing 40 cameras and "stop-motion" technology to film shoppers apparently suspended in mid-air in three dimensions.

This initiative, supporting its Focus model and sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League Final, let consumers instantly upload the results to YouTube and link them to Facebook and Twitter.

"We wanted to create something fun to do, something people would want to share, and what was inspired by camera technology in the car," Mark Jones, Ford's European sponsorship manager, said.

"Our objective was to have around 25,000 views of the films that were created. At the moment we're up to 64,000, so we've more than exceeded that."

Elsewhere, De Beers, the jewellery group, has leveraged 3D on screens forming part of window displays in London, New York and Tokyo.

It used a set-up meaning shoppers did not require special glasses, and believes this approach does provide cut-through, justifying the cost.

"Producing a 3D advert is more expensive than producing a 2D ad because it is more complex to film and edit, plus the display technology also costs a premium," Jennie Farmer, its communications director, said.

"However, the impact the activity has had internationally has made it worthwhile."

Mydeco, a London-based online furniture retailer, has even created 3D tools for use on the web, allowing users to upload images of their own home, and then add items from its catalogue.

"We try to be the 'Google Maps' of interiors online," Nicole Vanderbilt, Mydeco's chief executive, said.

"Our tool is very much real-time 3D. You're designing in 3D, dragging and dropping real world products that we've had modelled in 3D into your room."

Design Within Reach, a US operator, now deploys this system, in an indication of the potential wider appeal of such services.

Data sourced from BBC News; additional content by Warc staff