What will street advertising look like in the digital era?

After years of teetering towards obsolescence, traditional street advertising is staging a comeback. Its golden ticket? Digitized three-dimensional billboards. 

According to commercial display solution provider SoStron, the 3D billboard advertising market is estimated to top $122.44 billion in 2023 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 percent from 2023 to 2030, significantly disrupting the out-of-home marketing landscape. 

3D digital displays represent a natural evolution in advertising due to their dynamic and immersive nature, which starkly contrasts with the passive viewing experience offered by traditional 2D billboards,” Eric Sas, co-founder and CEO of anamorphic 3D technology company BCN Visuals tells Jing Daily. 


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Catch me, or I go: Offline-to-online socials

On average, a typical brand billboard has around six seconds to capture a consumer’s attention, reports advertising agency Wheelhouse Creative. Evolving lifestyles are also impacting how we digest advertisements, making traditional modes of marketing less effective. 

“One of the biggest challenges is that through modern ‘work from home’ culture, we’re simply out of our homes less,” marketing and brand strategist Leland Grossman says. “When we are sitting at a traffic light, or on the subway, we’re locked in our phones rather than looking up at ads.”

With catching eyeballs now harder than ever before, brands need something more effective than a 2D campaign. Companies like BCN visuals think they have the answer.

The company is deploying hyper-realistic storytelling to capture attention spans. In August, the Barcelona-based studio teamed up with luxury automotive manufacturer Cadillac to launch a 3D digital campaign via the most recognizable billboard in the world – the one in Times Square.  

Cadillac’s 3D billboard in Times Square, created in partnership with BCN Visuals. Photo: BCN Visuals

One key metric that innovators like BCN visuals are prioritizing is online reach. 

“Though there is a lot of noise and distraction, there are some recent examples of this type of marketing really breaking through because of its ability to be shared on social media,” Grossman says. 

“Jacquemus’ use of AI comes to mind, as does the MSG Sphere in Vegas, as viral content that takes on a new life after it is shared on socials. In the case of Jacquemus, it allows their brand to be shared and appreciated far beyond those who can afford it, an important tool in one day winning over those customers.”


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Augmented reality-powered adverts

As static billboards lose their relevance in the digital age, augmented reality (AR) powered interfaces have surged as a more-alluring alternative. Think of the famous hologram billboard scene with AI Joi in Blade Runner 2049

Brands are responding. In April this year, Web3 fashion studio Rtfkt revealed its own 3D billboard in Tokyo’s Shinjuku City to promote the launch of its Nike Air Force 1 collaboration. The activation received over 14 million views and 446,000 likes after Nike posted it on Instagram, the brand says.

Like Jacquemus, the activation’s impact spanned beyond the physical realm. Dynamic AR campaigns are achieving huge exposure amplification after being shared online.

Benoit Pagotto, founder of Rtfkt explains how the activation was a strategic move. “We decided to use a 3D billboard to bring to life our ‘world merging’ brand DNA, leveraging the fact that even if we use only one [out-of-home] media, but go all in with the creativity, it would be shared way beyond its actual IRL reach on social media,” he says.


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Thanks to emerging tech like AR, these displays are increasingly effective at engaging onlookers. 

Tiffany & Co, for example, employed Snapchat’s robust AR features for its Tiffany Lock billboard campaign at Milan’s Piazza del Duomo in April. Likewise, Louis Vuitton went all out on digital for its recent Yayoi Kusama collaboration, from deploying Snapchat’s AR lens to unveiling a striking 3D billboard in Tokyo.

Fast food company Subway also integrated scannable QR codes into its anamorphic billboards in London last year, which allowed viewers to interact in real-time and build their own sub on-screen.


Fashion, Jing Meta, Marketing