3-D Printing and Advertising

What does the future hold for creative advertising? New 3D printing technology is making a move into the ad industry and brings with it various pros and cons.

yodaAki Spicer wrote an article for Fast Company titled “What 3-D Printing Means To The Future Of Advertising” that takes a look at how this new technology will force advertisers to be more critical of the work they produce. The key portion of the article states:

“At its core, 3-D printing foretells of a philosophical shift beyond flat-dimension brand expression–2-D ad slicks, taglines, pictures of things–toward the embrace and execution of 3-dimensional expression: tactile baubles and mementos and experiences. This is no longer just pictures and drawings of things,; this is real things. In the world.

At first blush, agencies will need to become experts (or hire them) in CAD manipulation, architecture (no, really, this time) and display arts, fashion design, and jewelry making. These roles are not necessarily “new” to the world, just not native to the typical ad agency, and increasingly they may become more of a norm in our midst.

Advertisers will be forced to reconcile their physical outputs in the world in a way that spitting out spots and microsites never faced us with. Or, said differently, our ad crap is made more evident when it’s a real piece of crap sitting on a desk or floor. We’ll have to continue to ask ourselve[s], “Is this additive value or just some more crap?” And the crap factor will, hopefully, make us work harder to do better for audiences who are increasingly immune to our virtual ad crap, more so when it’s physical ad crap.”

In other words, advertisements are EVERYWHERE. We see them all day everyday. Once more advertisements start taking up physical space in the 3D world instead of on billboards, in magazines, and in TVs, they will be more noticeable and more prone to criticism from the general public, as well as other agencies. But, it is not all bad news.

Being more noticeable means getting more exposure. 3D ads have a better consumer interactive opportunity than 2D ads. People can pose with a 3D ad and share the photo with friends and generate more EARNED exposure through word of mouth.

Spicer also says that 3D printing can lead to bettering the creative output and uniqueness of an agency. “The upside lies in our unbound ability to deliver truly unique and physical brand experiences. If our brands have something truly unique to say, why wouldn’t they express it in more dimensions in taglines, in television films, in sites, in check-ins, in pins, and in real “things”?”

Glen Emerson Morris, in an article for The Review titled “Advertising in the Third Dimension: An Advertiser’s Guide to 3D Printing,” states that the arrival of 3D printing is the third and final phase of advertising:

“We’re now well into the third and final phase, or dimension, of the digital revolution. The first phase was the digitalization of media – converting things to computer code, including desktop publishing and digital video. The second phase has been the Internet – the distribution of digital files to anywhere on the planet. The third phase of the digital revolution is about converting information into physical objects and sensing and controlling things in the real world, like 3D printing and robotics. It’s the reverse of phase one. At maturity, this technology will provide all the functionality of the Star Trek matter replicator. It’s the ultimate destabilizing technology, and it will make boneyards of many current industries, but it’s effect on advertising will likely be very positive.”

Morris says that the advertising industry has the most to gain from 3D printing because it will bring a whole new… dimension (haha)… to ads. He says that there are 6 things an ad agency can do with a 3D printer:

  1. To design and print prototypes of 3D promotional giveaway items.
  2. To print promotional items like iPhone cases with the agency’s name.
  3. To design and print promotional & thank you objects for clients.
  4. To print parts used is automated animatronics window displays.
  5. To print android robots (for live automated sales pitches).
  6. To print items needed for the office.

What do you think 3D printing means for the ad industry???

3 thoughts on “3-D Printing and Advertising

  1. I think this is a great idea. Sure they may open themselves to more criticism but as long as people are talking about it, the products name will circulate and that’s exactly what the companies want.


  2. I ultimately don’t know how I feel about this. I mean I can’t stand advertisements that are in my face I rather make the choice to look at them having them in 3D will make it that much more, for me at least, annoying.


  3. At this point, I feel as though this can be used as a brilliant marketing strategy, while this technique can be annoying, anything that sticks with the consumers head and has them talking about it to others is a win for the companies.


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