Three D or not 3D… that is the question!

By Andrew Murchie

We’re in an era now where the creative and technical skills sets required to make captivating and compelling 3D content are becoming more accessible, and therefore more viable for brands. Certainly at Multiply we’re seeing an increase in the number of clients interested in learning more about delivering 3D content.

It’s a little known fact, but YouTube, home of viral advertising, has a 3D engine built into its playback platform and that for those producing three-dimensional content the increased user interest in 3D delivers many more views over 2D. The stats can talk for themselves: a short film I produced recently, a 3D horror flick, has so far racked up 82,000 views via YouTube in 3D, compared to just 1,700 on its 2D version.

The appetite for 3D viewing is certainly out there. In both 2011 and 2012, five of the US’s top ten grossing films were presented in 3D. The knock on effect of 3D box office hits, such as Prometheus and The Avengers, has been the uptake of more and more equipment geared toward the technology in the home. In the UK, Sky 3D announced this week that it is looking to massively expand its 3D footprint, while in the US, in the first week that Prometheus hit stores , 25% of the Blu-ray sales were of the 3D version, according to Nielsen VideoScan. According to research by the Consumer Electronics Association, video viewing in 3D is also on the rise, with 42% of 3D-capable HDTV owners now watching at least five hours worth per week.

So we know that the television and film industries are seeing significant consumer interest in 3D viewing, but what does this mean for the advertiser? Well lots, if research into the subject is to be believed. Statistics suggest that there is a higher percentage in recall of brand messages in 3D. In one study by a leading producer of 3D adverts, the use of the technology in an ad was shown to produce a recall rate of 92%, with 68% of those expressing a willingness to follow up with a purchase. Founder and director of the Geneva Film Company, the company that carried out the study, said during a conference presentation to present the findings that “3D is not just here to stay – it is going to dominate communication channels in the future”.

To back up the findings, Gevena also explored how interactive 3D models could boost recall and learning rates in children, showing in one experiment how the use of 3D in the classroom also improved a pupil’s understanding of a difficult subject. Children’s mean scores in lessons taught using 3D ranked 8.33 out of 10, while traditionally taught children returned mean scores of 7 out of 10.

There is a general perception that filming footage in 3d is a costly affair, but actually there are pro level cameras out there now, the types often used to film live events, that can produce 3D footage of a good quality even on a moderate budget.

So who has already dipped a toe in the water? Unsurprisingly technology brands are already in on the act – Sony, Samsung and most recently LG, with its Cinema Screen 3D Smart TV Ad 2012 have all used the technology to good effect. Less obviously are brands such as Courvoisier, who ran 3D ads, as part of Channel 4’s 3D Week, on terrestrial TV as early as 2009.

And 3D isn’t just making it on the small screen either – glasses free 3D outdoor ads are becoming more and more commonplace, advertising anything from confectionary to push up bras (rather an obvious one that).

Three dimensional ads might not yet be considered mainstream, but my prediction is that in the next few years they certainly will be.

About the author

Andrew Murchie is a digital marketing consultant at Edinburgh & London based Integrated Marketing Agency Multiply, with 25+ years experience in print and digital production management. He is also an After Effects Motion Graphics and Video Production expert and has produced a series of films – Andrew’s stereoscopic 3D work has been screened on UK TV and in 3D events and film festivals worldwide receiving many accolades including an InvaZion 2010 Award for Excellence in Visual Arts for his animated short “FourPlay 3D” and Director’s Choice Award for his live action 3d short films from the LA 3D Film Festival.

Multiply is an independent, fully integrated marketing agency.

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