Advertising can feel like an arms’ race at times. With the biggest and most financially stable brands employing bold new technologies to promote their message, it only leads to other brands, or marketing agencies, finding newer, more innovative ways to spread their message.
Think about it in terms of two world superpowers jockeying for position as the world’s most super superpower. One country makes a gun that shoots four bullets at the same time, so the other makes one that can shoot eight. The other country then makes a rocket that can wipe out five cities, but that’s followed up by their rival making a rocket that can wipe out ten cities.
The two will go back-and-forth, back-and-forth until they either use those weapons against each other, or one collapses from the mammoth amount of funds they are pouring into their warfare budget.
Finally! I have successfully analogized the Cold War to digital marketing! I didn’t think it was possible, but 2016 has proven the impossible to be possible, hasn’t it?
Now let’s bring it back to advertising. Companies are compelled, and are faced with more and more pressure, to give their online audience a customer experience that nearly equates to having the product in your hands or using the service.
At any sporting event, you want to create the best fan experience. With any video game, you want to create the best gamer experience. With any car, you want to create the best driver experience. Advertising and instilling brand loyalty is focused on providing those unforgettable experiences that are as close to the real thing as possible.
People want to feel like their part of the moment, but sometimes they need the moment brought to them. A cruise line, for example, can only show so many of its past customers smiling and playing on a beach before the advertising market is overloaded with bronzed families and couples.
They need to try something new that will separate itself from the competition; that can put people on the ship without actually being on the cruise. I’m talking about the full experience here. No more stock images and film of happy white people on a beach.
Enter Royal Caribbean.
In stunning 2160s quality, you are granted a first-row, interactive seat to explore an exclusive show on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship.
Thanks to the 360 feature, however, I have access to watch the show, to look up and gaze upon the immensity of the ship, and to observe the audience around me.
Their initial video to start the 360 On campaign literally places you on top of the ship, while a spokesman offers you directions on where to look and what happens there:
The exclusivity here is a huge plus. It’s one thing to offer viewers a 360 view from the front row of an event, like in the first video, but it’s another to offer them a view from somewhere they’d never get a view from.
Think about it like this: A video from the ground watching the Northern Lights is cool and can be done by anybody in the right area. But a video of the Northern Lights from the inside of a plane gives a much better view and is rarely seen.
Naturally, you’d want to see the Northern Lights from the plane not just because of the view, but also because of the exclusivity behind it.
So it’s safe to assume people would prefer the view we’re getting from the top of the ship, where we can get a true gauge of the immensity of the ship and how many services it provides. Rather than a traditional shot-by-shot look, I can easily see the two swimming pools, jacuzzi, a central park area, and the island we are visiting with my 360 view.
The style of advertising works mostly as a novelty than it does as an advertisement, and that’s exactly what it intends to do. I know for a fact I will remember this video, as opposed to any billboard I see on my drive home or any commercial on TV of those same happy white people drinking out of coconuts on a beach.
It’s not because of the content. Any cruise line can tell you about their pools or the island they’re visiting. This ad works better than others because of the newness and access of the medium we’re using to consume our advertising.
In fact, I can actually specifically recall looking at my first Facebook Canvas ad. Once again, it wasn’t the content that enthralled me, it was the tool I was using. I had the same reaction to an interactive M&M’s ad, which I wrote a blog about because it fascinated me so much.
Because technology evolves, every other industry has to evolve with it or face the consequences of becoming obsolete. The goal of advertising has always been connecting with their audience on an emotional level, and what better way than to almost literally have them as the center of attention with full control in your advertisement.
Royal Caribbean’s ad will no doubt force advertisers to reconsider their strategies, perform research into the latest trends and technologies, and then create ads that are somehow more immersive to satisfy their customer’s growing desire for a more interactive advertising experience.
This is the new age of advertising, at least in the digital medium. However, specifically because it’s in the digital medium may continue to force marketing agencies to allocate even more money to digital, rather than to television or radio.
The ads you see on TV may actually decline in quality because of the versatility of advertising in the digital medium. So rather than going through the process of hiring actors and all that comes with shooting a commercial and buying ad space, ad execs may just use the latest technology, such as the 360 On feature, turn it on, and place it on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for free.
They’ll of course have to spend money on boosting, but it’s still far cheaper than the finances that go into an ad for TV audiences.
It’ll be intriguing to see where social media advertisers with the resources to afford tools like the 360 feature move from here. The status quo will only persist for so much longer before new technology comes along to replace it, because the technology of today will always beget the technology of tomorrow.