Are Holograms the future of digital-out-of-home advertising?

With the advancement in technology OOH is getting its due share of importance. Experts inform how Hologram will redefine marketing perspectives, and discuss its challenges


The Internet of Things is redefining the ad industry. In the last few years, Out-of-Home has gone through rapid changes and has managed to bring back its lost significance. The space, which has always been known as the traditional advertising domain, has adopted innovative technologies right from digital billboards to screens on jukeboxes. Among that, a new technology emerging is ‘Hologram’. So, what is a Hologram? A hologram is a 3D image formed by the emission, reflection or projection of light through holographic projectors.

The OOH industry is moving from old school billboards to digital screens and with the help of technologies it’s trying its hands on holograms too. Even, in many other countries, three- dimensional holograms may soon replace two- dimensional signs and ads. Many believe, the 3-D holograms will revolutionise the business approach and will be easy for brands to talk to potential customers. However, in India it’s a different story all together. It hasn’t been able to draw the attention of large chunks of advertisers and media agencies.

According to a media report, in India, the use of holograms becomes favourable in the cinema industry. Few months ago, cinema chain Movietime started offering holographic and Augmented Reality supported advertising spaces in 20 of their properties, which they will further scale up in all the movie outlets.

With DOOH on the rise, engaging content and live streaming (static content does not work for digital media) is bound to get popular. As the signs of change, brands like Samsung, Blackberry, Future Generali, Nickelodeon, and Viacom 18 have been experimenting with holographic and AR content for their outdoor campaigns during the past year, and have shown favourable results.

To get a deep understanding about the holograms and how it can be executed without any fuss, we spoke to few outdoor experts.
Alok Gupta, Director, Graphisads believes the use of hologram technique in the outdoor advertising medium in India is still in its nascent stage. Not many case studies are highlighting the effective use. He also highlighted an important point with regards to the DOOH, “Honestly, there hasn’t been much technological intervention or innovation with regards to Outdoor medium. We cannot call Digital OOH screens as technological innovation. They are an extension to Outdoor”.

Whereas Fabian Cowan, Director, Posterscope said, “The digital out of home space in India is on a growth trajectory, given the number of digital screens now available across platforms and locations. Technology like the holographic 3D makes the screens more visually appealing, attracting eyeballs, which client and brands eventually pay for. I believe it is a welcome addition to the look, feel and content of screens in the OOH domain”.

On technological innovation in OOH as compared to any other medium of advertising and why it's still not getting the major chunk of brands advertising budget, Cowan said, “I agree that some of the better known innovations world over have been driven by OOH. The medium is most conducive to out-of-the-box innovations and impactful disruptive ideas, through the use of new improved infrastructure and technological advancements. The fact that people are out and about much more than before adds to the efficacy as people share these on their digital platforms as well giving brands the much-needed earned media opportunities.”

“From a budgetary point of view, the fact that the slice has remained in a similar vicinity for long is a tad disappointing, but the good thing is that we are seeing many brands waking up to the increased power of the street and are looking at the medium with a renewed interest,” he added.

What are the main challenges in executing any Holographic campaigns? Fabian said, “Acceptance of a medium is one thing creating for it is another. The primary challenge would be to get brands to start creating advertising content that is contextual and in formats that are conducive for these locations and technology.” 

Whereas, Gupta said, “Such campaigns can’t be done at just any place. Civic authorities need to create an environment wherein there are footfalls generated on a regular basis for such medium to succeed”.

Gaurav Chopra, Business Director, Group M believes, “The Trend is moving towards innovation and if it catches the eye of the consumer it will definitely click. I see two challenges. One is that this is pitched as a normal OOH medium for branding and not as a TVC plan or an Innovative Medium to the right set of TG. And second is Lack of Awareness – many brands are not even aware how it will work.”

However campaigns, which are based on the holograms techniques, are mostly used in malls or high footfall places like metro stations for maximum eyeballs. Due to the visual effects, most of the installations get a high level of engagement with a brand recall value. Though in India executing campaigns is not an easy task, when it comes to the budget, and in a cost sensitive market like India, could we see Holographic outdoor display becoming mainstream?

Cowan admits, “This will continue to be a challenge, as we are driven largely by reach, however, as consumers we do invest in goods and services that are premium if they make sense to us, don’t we? I am inclined to believe that if the displays are at the right place targeting the right audience then brands will be prepared to invest in the medium at the right price.”
Alok asserted, “Cost is not really an issue for a client who wishes to stand out from clutter. It can become mainstream if we identify some locations which are worthy enough for these spend.” 

According to Venugopal Ganganna, CEO, Langoor, a digital agency who executes various outdoor campaigns, “We are far from any true holographic technology execution. The ones we have seen for campaigns overseas have come alongside strong PR pushes to get wider coverage around them. The cost of the ones that have been executed is quite high and as a result it’s difficult to achieve impact without the additional coverage that goes with it, for now.” 

Karan Bhardwaj, MD & CEO, Kryp Media shared his insights on the holograms techniques and expressed, “Holograms are great way to attract attention, engaging customers, get footfalls and creating lasting impression. Mostly OOH is used for brand building and has less impact on direct sales but Holograms and other futuristic technologies can do both. We have already tested this with various clients with 70 per cent increase in footfalls and better retention of the messaging.” 

“However, the main challenge in each of these is the reach and scale vis-à-vis the efforts put behind the campaign. We use digital marketing to accentuate the reach as much as we can, however once the market gets completely mature for such kind of innovations, it will be much easier to reap the benefits and engage consumers for the brands,” concluded Bhardwaj.

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