3D Entertainment Summit Confirms Viability of 3D Ad Strategies

Mel Lambert, principal of Content-Creators.com, a Los Angeles-based consulting service, reports from the 3D Entertainment Summit, presented in association with Variety at Universal City, CA, Sept. 15-16.

Among the hot topics tackled at the third-annual 3D Entertainment Summit, the appeal of 3D advertising was described by many as key to making 3D a sustainable business.

“The consumer wants to be entertained, and there is strong entertainment value in 3D advertising,” said Steve Jett, national marketing communications manager for Lexus. “Our brand is built on innovation. 3D makes a lot of sense in reinforcing that perception because it is a highly innovative medium.”

As session moderator David Cohen of Variety pointed out to more than 600 attendees, after the strong buzz that 3D created at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in late June, 3D advertising has hit its stride among marketers.

“3D creates a strong buzz of interest,” said James Stewart, founder of Geneva Film Co. and a producer/director of commercials for a number of automakers. “When our Lexus ad appeared [in 2D] on YouTube, a lot of people were using social networks to ask one another, ‘Have you seen it in 3D?’ People were actually excited to see the ad in 3D. While the commercial looked great in 2D, it just looked better in 3D!”

Ken Venturi, chief creative officer at National CineMedia/NCM, producer of FirstLook and FirstLook-3D pre-feature programs, noted that “certain products benefit more from 3D. Food and clothing textures look great in 3D; different form factors work better in 3D, as do experiential modes. Our research tells us that there is great likeability in 3D content; we prefer to use 3D to tell a story, while underscoring the messaging and extolling the value proposition. In a word: 3D adds credibility” to theatrical or TV commercials.

Lightspeed Design President Chris Ward concurred: “3D grabs people.”

Directly addressing the 2D/3D choice, Ron Lim, creative director at ATTIK creative agency, emphasized that the choice is more about ideas than media format: “The idea has to be good. With interesting content, 3D only makes the ad more interesting to consumers.”

What about bad 3D advertising content? Consider yourself warned.

“Anything that turns off an audience is bad,” Venturi cautioned, “because it draws the audience out of the experience. The subjective process of honoring parallax and maintaining the Z-axis has to be done right,” or it destroys the stereoscopic illusion. “But, across the board, there is a high excitement for [advertisers] to get into 3D.”

Whereas Cohen pointed out that Avatar director James Cameron limited 3D effects by as much as 30% because of the film’s longer running time, Geneva Film’s Stewart suggested that “commercials directors can be more aggressive during a 30-second spot.”

Venturi said, “An advertiser’s experience in 3D theatrical commercials will migrate to 3D television. And the cost of production can be amortized across a number of distribution channels. Agencies are getting suited up for 3D.”

Lambert can be reached at mel.lambert@content-creators.com or 818.558-3924.

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