Most of us are constantly surrounded by ads and other promotional materials — on billboards, TVs, in newspapers and magazines, leaflets and flyers, on the radio, and even on the cars we drive by. We are so accustomed to seeing ads everywhere that we have developed a sort of selective blindness to it. This means that the advertising industry constantly has to come up with new ways to grab our attention. One of the latest innovations in this field is 3D digital signage. If you live in a larger city, the odds are that you’ve already seen 3D billboards. But what are they exactly and how do they work? Let’s take a look.
What Is 3D Digital Signage?
3D billboards are an innovative 3D technology that uses traditional digital signage players in a completely new way. They are usually large billboards that give off the illusion that an object is “popping out” of the screen and entering the real world. This 3D effect is precisely the reason why this type of digital signage solution has been gaining popularity rapidly in recent years.
How Do 3D Digital Billboards Work?
So how does the 3D effect actually happen? The theory behind 3D digital signage is actually based on human biology. Since our eyes are located in two different (albeit close) spots, they don’t really perceive things identically. There is a very slight difference in the angle of our view. This difference is called binocular disparity, and it allows us to perceive depth (that is, to perceive the distance between us and other objects). Depth perception is known among scientists as stereopsis.
3D billboards use the mechanics behind stereopsis to create an illusion of depth. The videos displayed on 3D billboards are actually comprised of two pieces of footage shot from different angles combined into a single clip. This is what makes the objects in the video “pop out” of the screen. This phenomenon is also known as forced perspective, as it “forces” our brains to perceive depth that isn’t actually there.
Advantages of 3D Digital Signage
Many advertising industry professionals consider 3D billboards to be the future of digital signage when it comes to DOOH advertising. So what are some of the benefits of 3D digital signage that make it so popular?
Eye-Catching 3D Effect
Estimates show that the average American sees around 5,000 ads a day. With so much promotional content around us, we have gradually learned to tune it out. However, in a world full of two-dimensional billboards, 3D ads simply stand out, both due to the forced perception and due to their sheer size.
Since 3D digital billboards still aren’t all that common, they will usually not only attract, but also keep the attention of the public. It is not uncommon to even see people stop and look at a 3D billboard, something that rarely (if ever) happens with 2D billboards anymore. This gives the advertiser an invaluable opportunity to promote their brand for longer than just a couple of seconds.
Higher Conversion Rates
Let us preface this by clarifying that, unlike with online advertising, tracking the conversion rates of billboard ads is next to impossible. It might not be difficult to estimate how many people see a billboard during the day, but it is much harder to obtain data on how many of them make a purchase because of that billboard. However, it is safe to assume that the attention-grabbing aspect of 3D digital signage translates to somewhat higher conversion rates than in other, more traditional forms of advertising.
Boosting Brand Image
Since 3D digital billboards are still considered quite innovative, the brands that advertise on them benefit from a certain additional reputational boost. If a company is willing to invest in and advertise on such a modern medium, they must be very serious about what they’re selling. In other words, 3D digital signage additionally boosts a brand’s image.
Top 7 Examples of Digital Billboards
Over the past few years, there have been some hugely successful marketing campaigns run on 3D digital signage that gained world popularity. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous ones.
1. Nike’s Air Max Day Ad in Japan
In 2014, Nike Japan celebrated its 35th anniversary. For this occasion, they launched a 3D billboard ad in Tokyo that depicted a Nike shoe box and various models of their popular Air Max shoes “falling out” of the billboard.
2. Shinjuku’s Giant Cat
Probably the most iconic example of 3D digital signage is the giant calico cat that appeared in Shinjuku, Tokyo, in 2021. The cat quickly became so popular that it was joined by two similar billboards, one of an akita dog, and another one of a panda. This was followed by a live stream and a Twitter account with live updates.
Interestingly, though, this cat wasn’t an ad for any particular brand. Rather, it was used to showcase all the possibilities that the 3D digital signage technology boasts.
3. Meta Quest’s 3D Billboard at Piccadilly Circus
In late 2022, Meta launched “Wish for the Extraordinary”, a campaign for Meta Quest 2, a state-of-the-art VR headset. Given the immersive experience of VR, it was only natural that Meta would advertise Quest on a 3D billboard.
The ad features a series of animations, from the VR set itself to rugby players and Santa, all showcasing the different games users can play using Meta Quest 2. At several points, objects, hands, and faces pop out of the screen, appearing to be leaving the billboard.
4. Final Fantasy VII Remake
The exciting commercial for the remake of Final Fantasy VII has it all — action, drama, and comedy. It features Red XIII, a lion-like character, who can be seen stretching and yawning, observing the passers-by, and running away from a chopper. The stunning visuals are paired with action-packed music for maximum effect. Like the first two entries on our list, this ad was also displayed in Tokyo.
5. Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama
As you have probably concluded by now, the 3D billboard in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is the most popular one in the world. Yet another eye-catching ad that made its way to Shinjuku’s displays is the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama campaign. This is also the only entry on our list that features real-life footage, rather than just animation.
The commercial makes use of various shapes, colors, and movements to take full advantage of the 3D technology and truly captivate the audience.
6. Super Nintendo World
The Super Nintendo World 3D billboard campaign launched in the summer of 2023 in Los Angeles, on one of the largest 3D digital signs in the world, measuring 50x300 feet. By contrast, the Shinjuku 3D billboard is 26x62 feet. The ad promotes a new ride in the Super Nintendo World theme park, and it features an animation of ride-goers enjoying the experience along with Bowser and Mario himself.
7. Samsung Campaign in Seoul
Samsung’s 3D commercial was displayed in early 2022 in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea. The ad features a realistic-looking tiger moving around the billboard. Samsung also took things to the next level by displaying letters right across the curve of the billboard. The 3D effect is further emphasized when the tiger “jumps out” of the screen, surrounded by the animation of broken glass flying around.
As 3D digital signage has shown, long gone are the days of boring, paper-based signs, both in advertising and for other purposes. If you’re looking to place a display or a multiscreen setup in your business and reap all the benefits of digital signage, you’ve come to the right place. We are a quality digital signage software solution with all the support and integrations you need. Request a free demo or sign up for a two-week free digital signage software trial to give RiseVision's free digital signage software a try and join thousands of others who are already our faithful customers.