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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

ADdicted: Ads from the Future

There's a scene in Steven Spielberg's Minority Report you'll either find fascinating or terrifying depending on what you think about extreme personalization in advertising.

John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise) is walking down a corridor alive with motion video, assaulted by personalized, hyper-realistic ads with every stride. The advertising system has scanned his retinas (and thus knows his name and profile) and proceeds to speak directly to him as he passes each moving, holographic image.

(Later, he walks into a GAP store. By now, he's wearing a pair of contact lenses to intentionally fool the scanners into thinking he's someone else. But the store's virtual assistant catches his eye, welcomes him back to the store, and asks, "How did those assorted tank tops work out for you?" I'm not sure I'd want a virtual assistant announcing my past purchases to whoever happens to be standing near me at the time, but I digress.)

The film is set in the year 2054, and I've yet to walk down such an immersive corridor myself...

... but I suspect I won't have to wait another 32 years before I do.

The video below shows an anamorphic ad for Nike located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.*

This isn't the first anamorphic billboard to be created; it wouldn't take you long to find other examples if you spent a few minutes on YouTube.

For instance, "The WAVE", in Seoul’s COEX Square, is billed as the "World’s Largest Anamorphic Illusion". That video was posted almost two years ago, in July 2020.

A year later, in June 2021, Nissan created a remarkable 3D spectacle in South Bank, London to promote their Nissan Qashqai. This felt less like a billboard and more like a public exhibit, but that didn't make it any less impressive.

And a few months after that, Amazon Prime Video created a series of anamorphic billboards around the world to promote their fantasy series, "The Wheel of Time".

But there's something different about this Nike ad.

It's not trying to be an art exhibit or technical spectacle.

It's unapologetically trying to be an advertisement.

And it works really, really well.

Of course, not every surface will be appropriate for this type of interactive advertising.

And you have to be looking at it from just the right angle to get the proper effect.

And I'm sure it costs a small fortune to design and execute one of these things.

But when they work... WOW!

And you're expected to compete with this type of spectacle for people's attention?

Good luck with that.

Think about that the next time you want to "play it safe" with your advertising creative.

Creativity for the sake of creativity is art, not advertising. Advertising needs to drive sales.

But that doesn't mean your advertising can't be remarkable.

That futuristic technology that's supposed to depict 2054? A lot of it is already here.

Take full advantage of it when you can.


* A hat-tip to Phillip J. Clayton (@clayton_phillip), who tweeted this video earlier this week.


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