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/ 05.07.2018

Cannes Lions Puts XR On The Advertising Map

-Greg Furber
VR Director, REWIND

Online advertising is evolving. Fast.

Cannes Lions showed us that extended reality (XR – the collective term for AR, VR, and MR) is the future of digital advertising. To date, XR had largely been viewed by Adland as a purely creative outlet. Thanks to some significant announcements from adtech companies at the festival, that perception is shifting.


Oath Launches Extended Reality Advertising

Firstly, trailblazer Oath, the umbrella for companies like AOL and Yahoo!, is ramping up the sophistication of its adverts with its latest offer: extended reality advertising. Premiered at Cannes, XR advertising is being hailed as the Holy Grail for building brand affinity.

What Does XR Advertising Mean For Consumers and Advertisers?

Advertisers will be able to incorporate immersive VR environments and experiences into content such as display, video, and games. The 3D ads created by Oath in partnership with Admix and BidSwitch will offer an interactive experience for the users, allowing them to actively discover brand stories.

Quite simply, extended reality advertising will enable brands to connect with consumers in a more meaningful way.

Jeff Lucas, the Head of Americas Sales and Global Teams at Oath said: “Consumers are hungry for engaging, well-executed XR ad experiences that provide utility, enhance reality, and create meaningful connections with brands. At Oath, we’re using brand advertising intelligence to help marketers build emotional connections that motivate consumers throughout their journey toward a brand.”

Advertisers can now buy VR/AR campaigns via Oath’s ad exchange. In an article for VRScout, Samuel Huber, CEO of Admix said: “With this announcement, the landscape is shifting. They (brands) can build simple advertising creatives and distribute them at scale via programmatic networks they already trust. As with mobile advertising, brands will also access detailed reports to understand how their campaigns perform.”

The formats have already been successfully implemented by major brands such as LG, Three, Chevrolet, and Peugeot. For automotive brands in particular, it’s easy to see the benefit of showcasing a 3D preview of a new model to a relevant audience.


The Launch of Teads’ inRead AR

Secondly, Teads, the No.1 video advertising marketplace in the world, announced the launch of Teads’ inRead AR. The format was showcased at Cannes Lions via two demos created for Burger King and Ray Ban.

What Does This Mean For Consumers And Advertisers?

In partnership with DeepAR – a team of engineers and researchers from MIT, and 3D designers and animators with experience from Candy Crush and Dreamworks – Teads will bring new AR experiences to market. Teads will use DeepAR’s AR and Face Tracking SDK to enable augmented reality within a browser. For example, users will be able to ‘try’ on a pair of sunglasses within the ad unit, without the need for a separate download. Users can interact with the ad through the front camera, similar to a Snapchat Lens, but on the web instead of in-app.

The format will be available in the coming weeks and enable brands and advertisers to access Teads’ global audience reach of 1.2 billion monthly unique visitors, across premium publishers like Conde Nast, Time Inc, Mashable, and The Washington Post. According to comScore, Teads’ global reach is ahead of Oath,, Brightroll, Adobe’s Tubemogul and Bertelsman’s SpotX.


Is This All New?

No. While Cannes Lions provided a fantastic platform for these announcements, interactive adverts are nothing new. A combination of new technologies, more powerful mobile devices and shorter attentions spans, has driven the change in mobile advertising with the major platforms – Snapchat, Facebook, Google, Unity –  all pushing new formats.

Last year, Vertebrae made a splash with its ad suite that launches AR experiences directly from users’ mobile web browsers, without downloading a third-party app or a brand’s own app. These experiences cover multiple formats, including ‘virtual try on’, ‘selfie lens’, and ‘3D object placement.

Vertebrae’s Founder and CEO, Vince Cacace, told AListDaily, “The web is best for shorter AR experiences that provide utility—i.e. trying on glasses, putting a car in your driveway, a chair in your living room, a character mask on your face, etc. Apps offer room for longer-form entertainment, at the cost of making users download an app.” Most recently, the company launched a Power Rangers AR experience across iOS and Android devices. This allowed users to “release their inner superhero” by ‘trying on’ the Rangers’ iconic outfits for a selfie.

Why Does This Matter?

The emergence of new technology is presenting unprecedented opportunities for companies to reinvent traditional marketing and engage consumers in imaginative ways, while also delivering results. And importantly, as more and more companies embrace XR as a means for reaching consumers, in turn, the masses will understand the tech more, helping to boost the industry.

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