Once again we’ve been canvasing the views of our current flock of interns… this time Vishal Asher Narsy explores the benefits and potential of projection mapping
When you think about the words ‘projection mapping’, what immediately comes to mind? Some believe it as just another fad that will slowly disappear as time goes by, but I am confident that it is here to not only stay, but to shake the consumer experience market, as we move forward into 2015 and beyond. So why is this – well read on to discover why.
So what exactly is projection mapping? Simply put, it is the method of projecting images onto different surfaces. It can be utilised in numerous ways, including live experiences, decoration, theatre, gaming and many more. Its advantages are numerous – you get a great live event, in conjunction with a thought-provoking and immersive video, as well as several PR opportunities, as Adidas recently demonstrated. They used the technology to portray Lionel Messi running through the streets of Barcelona, on top of cars, footpaths and buildings.
This kind of experience was fantastic in pulling crowds in and generating high social media outreach. It was a great way to delve deeper into the consumer’s mind and get them to associate the positive experience with what they just witnessed, i.e. the actual football boots.
Experiential is in principle a discipline without set formats, however this potential is not always adhered to as many executions end up in neat and tidy boxed formats. But what separates projection mapping from these is the vast amount of space and opportunity to think outside the box (pun intended). With pop-up retail outlets and branded events, you firstly need permission from the council and others to even get the campaign started. With projection mapping you don’t need permission, as you’re using public space. You are not constrained by government laws and councils, who can tell you what you can and can’t do (to a certain degree!). You as the brand are in control.
UNICEF demonstrated this perfectly when they utilised the technology to map silhouettes of thousands of Child Refugees across the city. In 2013, over 3,500 children came alone to Sweden, but with no place to go, they became homeless. The campaign was heart-warming, but also simultaneously got UNICEF’s message across in an innovative manner. Not only was it fascinating to see, I assume there was no permission needed to begin the campaign, as public space was being used. Thus achieving competitor advantage for the charity and benefiting the marketing agency financially. A win-win situation for all involved!
As with any experiential activity, the campaign has to match the correct outlet, in that I mean projection mapping should only be used if it adds value to the campaign. If it has just been tacked on carelessly just because of the ‘wow factor’, the purpose of projection mapping has been lost on the brand. There are times when projection mapping is perfect, such as when the aim is to reach wide audience and deliver a campaign quickly to the audience, in order to not lose out on the current hype/publicity. There are other times where it may be redundant, it all just depends on the brands objectives for the campaign. So when you are out and about in London (or the rest of the UK), and spot some projection mapping experience going on, take a step back, open your eyes widely, and behold the experience that may just leave you in a state of speechlessness….and if it doesn’t, consider why not?