Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Immersive Display Solutions and ZmmConnect present the Ad.mersion system

Maybe I'm starting to get old, but the more I see gimmicky advertising solutions like interactive floors, 3D holographic displays and immersive systems, the more quickly I immediately think "this will never catch on at-retail." Aside from some extremely cool-looking demonstrations, I just haven't seen many practical applications that use these kinds of things to do something unique, innovative, and genuinely useful.

Of course, every once in a while somebody like Reactrix - makers of some of the aforementioned interactive floors - will go and do something amazing like raise $45 million to place their wares into malls in hopes to sell advertising and sponsorship deals, but to me even that kind of seems like having more dollars than sense. Perhaps it's because I'm not the right target audience, and maybe getting kids to jump up and down and run after a spinning Nike logo on the floor really will help to build a connection between brand and budding consumer. But I'm going to need to see some data before buying into that.

Now on the other hand, I do think that these kinds of immersive technology may have a place in experiential shopping venues - those who put the brand and the experience front and center instead of focusing exclusively on selling products (and after doing a bit of research, it seems that David Polinchock from the Brand Experience Lab would agree).

Where's this going? Well, I started giving this area some thought after reading that a company called Immersive Display Solutions announced that a great use of their immersive graphical "bubbles" (for lack of a better word) is retail advertising. I'll be the first to say that IDS's immersive screens are extremely cool. They create a feeling of depth and motion that just can't be matched by a much smaller flat screen. However, it seems like this is a solution in search of a problem, and I'd be surprised if the Ad.mersion system, as it's called, can gain traction in the increasingly competitive out-of-home advertising market. Do the displays have the ability to attract a crowd? Yup. Will it be enough to offset the expense of the system and its ability to only address a relatively small number of people at once? Right now, I don't think so.

Granted, advertisers have a long history of latching on to the latest novelty in hopes that it will catch enough attention with its uniqueness to make it worthwhile. But like my feelings towards Reactrix, it's going to be a challenge to show that these systems are practical for more than brand promotion and producing a more interesting in-store experience.

Tags: Ad.mersion, marketing at retail, out-of-home advertising

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