How Marketers Can Use Lenticular Printing in Ad Campaigns

Earlier this week, ClickZ reported on a new ad campaign in Spain that uses lenticular printing to serve two versions of the same ad to different people.

In a nutshell, the ad is about child abuse and shows a different message to children based on lenticular printing. Lenticular printing is the method used to create 3D and moving objects appear on a printed paper. Think of the Cracker Jack toys you got when you were young. When you angled the paper (which was covered with a ridged plastic), the image moved. This technique is used to create any number of effects, including “moving image” (by showing images in succession when the user tilts the page left/right or up/down). It can also be used to show images in 3D (in which each eye views a different image). This is how glasses-free TVs and mobile devices basically work.

What is most interesting about the ad campaign mentioned in the article is that they used the same techniques to show two different images to different heights. Children’s heights were shown one creative while people taller than that were shown another.

Let’s think about this for a minute and understand the particulars and how we can use it in our own marketing efforts. First off, it is certainly possible to show two entirely different ads based on vantage point. My first thought was to jump on this and say the people selling this ad space could now make more money by selling multiple ads that could be displayed at the same time (and which one you saw was based on your height). But, “bleed” is often an issue with lenticular displays, especially if they are meant to be viewed while you are moving. If I had to guess why their ad was two variations of the same picture, I’d say that was the reason. In case there was bleed, the ads would still both make sense.

So instead of going down that path, let’s think of what made the ad in question work: the general ad was for a singular idea, but bullet points were different based on who was viewing it (based on height assumptions). Let’s say you are Disney, for example. Your features and benefits are very different if you are talking about adults vs. children. It’s quite easy to imagine an ad for Disney that had the same picture of the Disney castle, but then showed parents and children different bullet points.

Lenticular isn’t just limited to two views. Realistically, a company could create three different variations of their ads: one for men, one for women, and one for children, based on average heights of each group. Of course, the minute a company did that they would be raked over the coals for something that some group thought was sexist. So this is probably not a great idea, though it is certainly possible.

Importantly, this version of lenticular was the “up/down” type, in which the images changed based on height. As I mentioned, the “left/right” version of lenticular is just as useful, especially as proximity to a sign (as I walk by it) is a similar idea. Imagine a McDonald’s sign on the side of a bus stop that said, “Cross the street, we’re one block ahead on the left” if you were looking at it from across the street (therefore, looking at it from the far right, assuming the ad was across on the left-hand side of the street). Or if a few hundred feet in front of you it said, “Walk this way, McDonald’s is just one block more.” Then, as you almost were passing the sign (and therefore on the far left of the poster in my scenario) it changed to say, “Almost there! Make your next left.”

That’s only one example, and I bet you can come up with even better examples that work for your businesses.

Eleven years ago in this column I asked if “Minority Report” portrayed a scary future. While this kind of ad targeting comes nowhere close to the extreme personalization (presented publicly) that was envisaged in that movie, these lenticular ads do add something special that we shouldn’t ignore: the ability to fine-tune your talking points to your audience. Of course, that’s only if your audience can be neatly generalized based on their heights.

Until next time…


Image on home page via Shutterstock.

Related reading