Time for advertisers to dip their toes into format?

Eye-popping 3D commercials can be a way to brand a product as cool and innovative, but is it worth the cost?

At Variety’s 3D Entertainment Summit Wednesday, panelists were asked whether they thought it was the right time for advertisers to dip their toes into 3D.

Ron Lim, creative director of design firm Attik, who worked on commercials for Toyota’s Scion, said the client wanted the campaign to run in cinemas. It was conceived during the afterglow of “Avatar” so the decision to make it in 3D came naturally.

“The formula is easy,” said Steve Jett, marketing communications manager for Toyota’s Lexus division. “Consumers want to be entertained, and there’s higher entertainment value in 3D… It’s an opportunity to reach young affluent buyers in their 20s and 30s.”

“We tell agencies and their marketers that it’s better because people remember your spot more,” said Ken Venturi, chief creative officer & EVP of interactive media with NCM Media Networks. “The act of putting 3D glasses on immediately heightens attention levels.”

Addressing the issue of production costs, the panel’s consensus was that 3D commercials make more sense if amortized over multiple distribution channels. Right now cinema presents the main opportunity. But when 3D TV reaches significant numbers, more 3D spots will be produced.

Broadcasters will have standards for that, just like they have standards for 2D, said James Stewart, founder of Geneva Film Co.

“You can’t deliver a commercial to a TV station on VHS,” he said.

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