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Holographic adverts: a vision of marketing’s future?

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16th Dec 2015
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Mention the topic of holograms and it’s difficult not to think of The Empire Strikes Back, and Emperor Palpatine telling Darth Vader there is a great disturbance in the force. Or fans screaming wildly at the latest resurrection concert for Elvis, Tupac or Michael Jackson.

But advertising? Maybe on a big budget, yes. But how often do we view holograms as a vision of advertising’s future, as opposed to something that’s integrated into our daily dose of ads?

Even with everything predicted of 2015 in Back to the Future II, the hologram of Jaws 19 lunging from a cinema façade and swallowing a petrified 1985 Marty McFly still seems like something that’s as farfetched as a hoverboard (one that doesn’t catch fire upon purchase).

Yet this could all be about to change. Kino-mo, a London-based company that develops hi-tech smart visual technologies, has recently developed a low-cost 3D projector that it's hoping will revolutionise advertising, due to its versatility and low cost for marketers.

The startup business, which has evolved to its current state with no initial outside funding, was a finalist in small business competition The Pitch, and is aiming to make holographic adverts more of a staple diet for consumers becoming bored of seeing 2D ads on billboards and at bus stops.

“New, hi-tech and scalable visual technology is long overdue and the market of digital displays needs alternative solutions,” Kino-Mo co-founder, Art Stavenka told Business Zone editor, Chris Goodfellow, during the company’s involvement in The Pitch.   

“Holograms could have filled the gap by astonishing viewers and effectively delivering advertising messaging, however, they are simply unavailable for the mass market due to extortionate costs, and difficulties with setting up and content creation.”

How it’s done

Kino-mo’s approach has been to create a cost-effective version of the holographic vision – allowing the projection of 3D images and video in mid-air, which are in turn perceived as holograms.

The tech requires no custom set-up, and content creation is quick and straightforward. The projections then allow 3D object manipulation using hand and finger gestures, and 3D scanning of real objects, real-time video streaming and streaming of peoples’ faces live in a holographic, sci-fi style akin to that depicted in Star Wars and BTTF many moons ago.  

Such has been the interest in the technology that just a few months after the company had been founded, it received investment offers on Dragons’ Den. In the summer the company’s first version of 3D holo-display was awarded Top 3 British inventions of 2015 and received backing from Richard Branson as the UK Start-up of the Year (over 2,500 entries nationwide) winning a £150,000 prize. Its range of video-bikes - allowing you to project high-quality video from spinning bicycle wheels – has received praise at a number of global tech events.

kino-moKino-mo's video-bike

According to Stavenka, there are also a number of industries that can benefit from Kino-mo’s technologies:

  • Digital out-of-home: Kino-mo provides long-awaited high-impact low-cost solution
  • Events (product launches, corporate entertainment, presentations, weddings etc.): (i) displaying content/product in 3D, (ii) engaging 3D games in the air, (iii) a great deal of interactivity
  • Education: Effective visualisation tool (medicine, geometry etc.)
  • Exhibitions: Increasing footfall to the stand and engaging passers-by
  • Digital signage: An effective tool for attracting attention and displaying content in an engaging manner.

And it is this last point that will resonate most with marketers looking to develop more innovative approaches to. Kino-mo has already signed a contract that will have Sky building a network of digital billboards in bars and night clubs. And further ads could yet be popping up at a retail outlet near you.

“Kino-mo will licence the technology to partners around the world, so they can set up the displays at high-footfall places such as shopping centres, bars, nightclubs and supermarkets to sell digital advertising space,” adds Stavenka.

“[We] act as a tech company, providing partners full-package tech-solution, including hardware and software, content creation software and a platform for remote management of the network of Kino-mo displays while partners are responsible for operating activities such as sales, content creation and clients communications. The revenues are then shared between Kino-mo and the advertising partners.

“The company aims to build a network of such partnerships around the world, where Kino-mo provides the technical know-how and the partners operate locally.”

It could be argued the digital advertising space needs more invention on this scale. While many big brands are able to push the envelope both on and offline (think Pepsi’s latest bus stop advert), for the most part, businesses are attaching their budgetary focus to the return advertising is giving them, through things like programmatic and real-time bidding, as opposed to the actual creative delivery of the ads themselves.

But with online advertising struggling to catch the imagination (38% of consumers say they don’t pay attention to ads online and 79% said they almost never click online ads), and most brands unable to match Pepsi’s budget for catching the eye, it could be that Kino-mo are coming to the market at exactly the right time, offering an innovative product within the budgetary boundaries more marketers can adhere.

This article originally appeared as an interview on MyCustomer's sister site BusinessZone.co.uk.

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