Gladvertising to enable deeper consumer engagement

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 28, 2011

Gladvertising to enable deeper consumer engagement

The next twelve months are likely to bring a revolution in outdoor advertising, starting with adverts tailored to consumers' mood, according to a report published by the Center for Future Studies, which predicts that 3D outdoor adverts that talk to mobile phones, adapt messages to certain situations, access social network profiles and combine holograms, mood lighting and smells, could all be on the streets by 2012.

These unusually complete brand experiences are just around the corner, according to the recently published 'Up Front and Personal Report' commissioned by 3M/GTG. The report, based on 21 in-depth interviews with leading technologists, advertisers and media businesses, concluded that a new form of advertising, dubbed 'Gladvertising' by the report's authors, will be one of the first innovations to arrive.

So-called 'Gladverts' are digital outdoor adverts that react to consumers' moods, by using emotion recognition software (ERS) and cameras to detect whether consumers are happy, tailoring adverts to their mood. Gladvertising uses a face-tracking algorithm to match movements of the eyes and mouth to six expression patterns corresponding to happiness, anger, sadness, fear, surprise and disgust. This allows marketers to influence consumers with tailored adverts. For example, if the system identifies unhappy consumers walking toward a billboard, adverts for chocolate and sun drenched holidays might be displayed.

"Mad Men's Donald Draper wouldn't cut it the new gladvertising industry," said the report's author, Dr Frank Shaw, forecast director for the Center for Future Studies. "With the rise of mood-aware adverts, 'glad men' will need to be hypersensitive to the feelings and emotions of others, not just themselves."

The report found that the rise in mega cities is driving outdoor advertising innovations. With two out of three people expected to be city dwellers by 2050, advertisers are keen to capitalise on the opportunity to reach consumers in urban areas with smarter technology.

While America's city and town planners also see an opportunity, using interactive digital out-of-home installations to construct and regenerate local areas. Unlike many new technologies which take time to settle in, many experts believe that consumers are ready to embrace these new technologies after adopting 3D TVs, touch screens (e.g. the iPhone), gesture controls (e.g. Kinect) and augmented reality (e.g. Layar).

Daniel Steinbichler, chief executive for 3M/GTG, said: "We are working on Minority Report-style technology that will be with us by 2015, not 2054. Plus it will be more advanced than Spielberg ever imagined. Instead of just recognising consumers by name, as in the film, technology such as gladvertising will allow brands to offer interactive experiences."

Across the UK, digital advertising screens are already replacing traditional paper billboards, although they still offer only one-way communication. But the report predicts that outdoor advertising technology (or "digital-out-of-home") is going to become a lot more interactive during the next 12 months, allowing advertisers to provide more immersive brand experiences.

The digital-out-of-home innovations that consumers will be interacting with by 2015 may include:

  1. Contextual adverts - digital outdoor adverts tailored to consumers' situation. As consumers wait for their delayed bus, their bus shelters' 3D screens will display adverts advocating the benefits of a car sharing service. Or when it starts to rain, holographic billboards might play adverts for umbrellas with Gene Kelly serenading passersby with Singing in the Rain.  
  2. Multisensory adverts - digital-out-of-home experts are developing adverts that stimulate a variety of senses. Multisensory adverts on underground platforms will combine holographic video, sound, mood lighting and smells to multiply adverts' impact and extend consumers' recall time.  
  3. Personal Preference Profiles (PPPs) - these supercharged social network profiles are 50 times more in-depth than a Facebook profile and include details on the user's body shape, allergies, anniversaries, favourite food, colour, etc. Consumers' PPPs will then interact with out-of-home adverts via their NFC phones, if they decide to opt-in.  
  4. Phones that talk to adverts - the proliferation of near field communication (NFC) in phones like the iPhone 5, Blackberry Curve Apollo and HTC Magic will enable digital advertising boards to identify a person - via their PPP - as they approach. Once identified, adverts will be tailored to the consumer. For example, a 3D jeans advert would replace supermodels with consumers walking toward the holographic billboard.  
  5. 'Dance for your discount' - the success of Microsoft's Kinect means marketers will be introducing interactive, gesture-based games on the high street to connect user with brands. For example, sports brands will challenge consumers to a virtual penalty shootout competition outside their stores - the winner gets 20% off a pair of football boots via a coupon sent to their NFC enabled phone.  
  6. Advanced HD vending machines - vending machines will feature 60" 3D screens and haptic controllers so consumers can see and feel products before buying them. Haptic controllers are based on tactile feedback technology which takes advantage of a user's sense of touch by applying forces to the human hand, giving consumers a sense of the product they are about to buy. While 3D printing technology will enable the vending machine to manufacture the item in 30 seconds.

"We commissioned this report to highlight the advanced technology just around the corner and the applications which will take digital-out-of-home to the next level," explained Steinbichler. "3M/GTG aims to make the science fiction of Minority Report a reality, offering consumers immersive brand experiences they'll never forget. We aim to bring the innovations outlined in the report to the high street within the next four years."

"This is an exciting time for the digital out-of-home industry. In just a few short years we have gone from neon advertising to LED video billboards. But consumers are about to see a huge step change with 3D video adverts that react to their mood and context," concluded Shaw. "We are at a tipping point and, over the next few years, we can expect to see an explosion in intelligent out-of-home advertising that engages consumers with two-way communication."

The full report has been made available for free download from the 3M/GTG web site - click here.

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