Tag Archives: Advertising

Walmart VR Home Reinvents Advertising

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A new Walmart experiment breaks not just the fourth wall but eliminates walls altogether as it enables a virtual reality (VR) tour of a home environment where close to 70 identified items are clickable for ‘more information’ and for access to a shopping cart/checkout page. Walmart says the example is an apartment, but the principle applies to a house as well as an apartment.

‘The fourth wall’ is a theatrical device where a player steps or speaks through the invisible front wall separating players from observers. An excellent, albeit exaggerated example cropped up recently a performance of Henry IV at Los Angeles’ Shakespeare Center.

When a member of the audience became ill and needed medical attention, the show was paused. After a few minutes, Tom Hanks, in character as Falstaff, returned to the stage to recapture the audience’s attention.

Come back here,” he yelled to a few “scurvy rogues who stood up from their seats”. “God has decided this play needed a second intermission,””  he said. “Get back here or find this sword and many a dagger placed neatly in the tires of your carriage,” to laughs from the still-seated audience members.

It’s unlikely you will laugh at Walmart’s VR show, but you may gasp in surprise at how cleverly the company and its team of technologists – see FTT here – put a mix of national brands and Walmart own label items in situ (where you’d see/use them at home). This goes well beyond simply telling you, as an ordinary ad does, what things are and what they cost.

In the kitchen, for example, atop a ‘Seville Classics Easy-To-Clean Bamboo Cutting Board’, alongside a paring knife, is a halved apple, with one half quartered. On the same counter there’s a ‘Black+ Decker 2-Slice Extra Wide Slice Toaster, Red/Silver,’ a ‘Color Splash Cutlery Set with Wood Block 6-PC,’ and a ‘Keurig K-Compact Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker’. A clickable yellow circle appears beside each item. When clicked, as well as showing the item, it offers a “click here to buy” link.

Each other area of the home is similarly highlighted with promoted items, and the 3-D VR presentation takes the viewer well beyond the simple product representation of a typical print or TV advertisement.

While this most likely is the first example of this technology you’ve heard, rest assured it won’t be the last. It truly represents a reinvention of advertising as we’ve known it.

The principals it employs are applicable to a number of other situations and environments. Think home remodeling, and how excitingly (and easily) different design element and surface treatments, among other things, can be presented with this technology.

For this and other reasons (see FTT), rather than viewing Walmart as just a behemoth retailer (2,700 or so US stores), the company increasingly needs to be viewed as an innovator, as a disrupter in the retail space. Hopefully you won’t be physically displaced, albeit by only inches, by upcoming Walmart robots tasked to help track out-of-stocks and more in stores.

 

 

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EU Coalition Seeking Ban on Junk Food, Alcohol Ads 18 Hours Daily – 6 AM thru 11 PM

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A coalition of EU health organizations is seeking to ban TV advertising of junk food and alcohol between the hours of 6 A.M. and 11 P.M., describing its plan as “a key opportunity to free Europe’s young people from health-harmful marketing.” Given its way, the coalition no doubt would also like to see all billboard, bus and other outdoor advertising of those products covered up during the same hours.

The campaign was officially launched in the European Parliament on December 2.

A BeverageDaily.com report noted that the action would, if successful, effectively see foreign broadcasts censored to the same EU standards.

Led by Romanian MEP (member of the European Parliament) Daciana Octavia Sarbu, the coalition comprises 10 organizations, including the European Heart Network, the Eurocare Alcohol Policy Alliance, and the European Public Health Alliance. Their aim is to alter the existing Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), EU-wide legislation aimed at protesting children and consumers. It says, in effect, “we know what’s good for you and you need to do what we say.”

Their “What about our kids” campaign has three specific objectives – additions to the AVMSD:

  1. TV advertisements for alcohol and foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) would be banned on all broadcast platforms, including on-demand services and such video-sharing platforms as YouTube.
  2. Product placements for the same products should be banned as being “effective marketing techniques, and should be prohibited alongside those for tobacco and medicinal products.”
  3. Ensure the above rulesare applied equally to all foreign-based broadcasts.

Fiona Godfrey, Policy Director at the European Association for the Study of the Liver, told BeverageDaily that such other rules as those effecting tobacco advertising and marketing “is effective in reducing consumption.”

I’m all for encouraging kids to eat less junk food and to stay away from alcohol until they’re legally entitled to buy and use it, but this approach has too much of a ‘Big Brother’ feel to me.