Advertising, reimagined the endless potential of projection mapping

Projection mapping, or the projecting of 3D moving images onto buildings or in public spaces, has been used to awe-inspiring effect by advertisers over the past decade, or so. And what began as a form of guerrilla marketing has now been embraced by the mainstream. The transformation of any building or arena into scenes from any era, locality or situation has no-end of possibilities for savvy advertisers. From buildings seemingly being destroyed before your eyes, as seen in Samsung’s staggering use of the technology on a building in Amsterdam, to a basketball court transformed into a giant ball pool, there are endless ways to create breath-taking performances on an epic scale. When watching our pick of the best from around the world you might find yourself forgetting that they are all simply projections.

The first example of the potential for utilising this technology on a grand scale comes in the form of this 2011 Adidas campaign in Marseille. The theatricality and variety of the piece, from shadows appearing in the palace windows, to the creation of a sumo wrestling arena and the transformation of the building into a retro ghetto blaster, is staggering.

On a less epic, but equally impressive, scale several advertisers have used projection mapping in event spaces when launching new products. The technology lends itself to the automotive industry, as seen in this 2012 BMW Series 3 launch in Brisbane, with the ability to create a live sense of movement for those watching. The capability of easily being able to manipulate, distort and even change the colour of the product, here also drawing an ultraviolet outline around the car, is an invaluable tool for advertisers.

With very little to no impact on the buildings or objects themselves, no space seems to be off-limits, with Chinese authorities even authorising Porsche to transform Beijing’s Imperial palace into a motorway for the 911 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013. This provides the opportunity for iconic buildings to be reimagined by the public, as best exemplified in this Sydney Opera House performance in 2015.

And of course brands can easily bring to life symbols synonymous with them and their brand, marrying this media with their physical bases or stores. Ralph Lauren, for example, in 2010 used projection mapping to launch a team of polo players across their flagship Bond Street shop. The capability to combine this unique and powerful image with clear representations of their product (huge projections of models are seen parading on a virtual catwalk) is effective.

How the technology will become more interactive with the consumer and how brands can take advantage of this is an area many are keen to explore. Several car companies are already utilising interactive projection mapping tools to promote their products. As the technology keeps developing and the reality of the virtual images improves, the potential for how each industry can take advantage of it is exciting.

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