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Laser Projection Advertising

Advertising dominates the media and culture of the society in which the American people live. It is used to generate awareness, promote an image, or sell a product for a brand. Every day, advertisers search for new, relevant and meaningful ways to reach their targeted consumers to increase awareness and/or illicit a response. Today’s media is cluttered and inundated with advertising messages, so new and quirky advertising techniques have been introduced to break through this clutter. One field that has been highly affected by this is out-of-home advertising. Out-of-home, or outdoor advertising, encompasses everything from urinal advertising to billboards. Billboard advertising is some of the most effective and frequently used outdoor advertising. However, due to advanced technology a new form of advertising similar to billboards has evolved. Laser projection advertising projects static and video content onto any indoor or outdoor physical structure virtually giving the brand an unlimited play ground. Companies providing the laser projection equipment specialize in event branding and entire brand campaigns.

Usage and Audience
Laser projection advertising is used as a tool to advertise on anything and anywhere to increase awareness of a product, brand, or event amongst a broad audience. Projection advertising can be found in multiple venues, but it is mainly used in shopping malls and entertainment areas. A unique function of projection advertising is its strong ties to promotion. Projected images are often found outside the entrances to events as a larger-than-life means to grab attention and reinforce the occasion or brand, thereby promoting the event itself. Event promotions range from political campaign galas to nightclub openings. Laser projection is an unexpected, colorful and eye-catching technique that is personalized for each client.

The versatility of projection advertising being used both outdoors and indoors allows it to reach a large audience. Billboards, which are limited to the outdoors, are placed along highways and are passed by thousands of consumers a day. Projection ads are projected along the sides and fronts of buildings like murals and are passed by thousands of consumers a day as well. When projection ads are placed inside venues like shopping malls, their effect becomes much more powerful. Consumers continuously flow into shopping malls to browse or make a purchase. Laser projection advertising within malls splatters a brand name across the floor or walls putting the name directly in front of the consumer, generating top-of-mind awareness. This is like creating a “post-it note” with the brand on it in the consumer’s mind to remind them of the brand as they shop. Proximity and immediacy become important characteristics. The consumer need only to walk to the store’s location within the mall to purchase the brand that was uniquely presented to them by laser projection. Placing the projection advertising in busy places like malls and entertainment areas ensures that the message is seen by the many people who come and go. The message can be projected locally or nationally and its goal is to be seen by large and diverse consumer audiences. Therefore, projection advertising has greater reach than frequency.

Scheduling and Limitations
Unlike billboards that run for at least four weeks, projection advertising scheduling is more specialized and can run for a short period of time. It can be purchased per week or per month, or for a single event. This shortness decreases the frequency of the message being seen by the viewer. The projection must be vivid enough to make an impact on the consumer because there is a chance they will only see it once. An average shopper does not enter a mall multiple times a week. By the time they return to shop again, a new brand could be projected. Another limitation of projection advertising is that it is hard to reach a niche target audience because projection is used in areas with mass volumes of consumers. There is no way to differentiate between the specific target audience and the rest that make up the broad audience that projection advertising reaches.

The cost of laser projection advertising varies based on where and how long it is used. The equipment, called GoBo, can be rented from a company specifying in projection media who will work with the client to create personalized light projection solutions. Shorter schedules, ones done on a weekly basis, for local events are less expensive. However like billboard advertising, laser projection advertising is rarely ever used on its own. It is used as an accompaniment that is an extra “wow” factor to an advertising campaign. So, the combination of projection advertising and other campaign advertising can be expensive.

The greatest impact that laser projection advertising has had on the advertising world is that advertising is no longer limited by location and is open to any and all blank surfaces. With laser projection advertising, “no formerly blank surface is safe,” (“Advertisers go outside to play,” Media Week 2009). Every wall, no matter the size, of every building in every city can be transformed into a to-scale static or video advertisement, and every wall of every building in every city will be seen by thousands of consumers.

The Future
The idea that advertising can be on any surface with laser projection is quickly advancing. However, the advancement aims to remove the obstacle of needing a surface to project the message on. New technology is being developed by Burton of Kawasaki, Japan. The laser system that they are developing is “a system that creates 3D images from balls of plasma.” The projected moving 3D images “could create advertisements and firework displays that hover in mid-air” (Hambling, New Scientist p. 19), essentially eliminating the need for any surface. With this technology, advertising displays can “appear out of thin air.” The company believes that this product will be available by 2011. If this laser projection system becomes widely available, advertising placement will be virtually limitless. Projection advertising on floors and walls is able to grab attention, but projection advertising in mid-air will stop consumers dead in their tracks.

Companies Succesfully Using Emering Media
Laser projection advertising is quickly becoming more popular for its larger-than-life and eye-catching appearance. It is used by both local and national brands to make their product stand out and appeal to broad audiences. Brands/companies that are successfully using laser projection advertisinginclude but are not limited to: Apple, Coca Cola, Disney, HBO, Holiday Inn, Microsoft, Miller Lite, National History Museum, Nike, PETA, Starbucks, Tiffay & Co., and Toyota. These are all recognizable brands that have chosen laser projection advertising to make their brand noticeable amongst the every day lives of consumers.

Outdoor and indoor advertising have been completely transformed by laser projection advertising. With projection advertising, any surface can be the medium in which to convey a message.

Cimine, Diane. (1999, June 28). Marketing strategies using outdoor. Advertising Age, 70(27), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=1&hid=12&sid=a8fa3853-02b0-40cf-b75f-15a1a37e91e0%40sessionmgr11&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=1987683

Hambling, David. (2009, April 25). Laser light show displays adverts in thin air. New Scientist, 202(2705), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=1&hid=12&sid=da42c61f-3ab2-4ef2-a060-ba5f789668c0%40sessionmgr11&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=38896829

(2009, March 9). Advertisers go outside to play. MediaWeek, 19(10), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=1&hid=112&sid=300efece-a770-45c0-a67c-9f234e356ec0%40sessionmgr112&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=36959542

(2009). Outdoor advertising association of america. Retrieved from http://www.oaaa.org/marketingresources/formats/projection.aspx

(1999). Sales response to outdoor advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, Retrieved from http://www.oaaa.org/assets/research/200310171028272083611148.pdf
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