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3D Billboards

Grabbing real-world attention!
BMW Times Square New York 3D Billboard

Technology 200 years in the making...

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s…a giant 3D BMW driving towards me in the middle of Times Square?
We don’t need to tell you much about billboard advertising. The idea has been around since the 1830’s when a man by the name of Jared Bell began printing large posters to advertise circuses in New York. Shortly followed by P.T. Barnum (the extravagant entrepreneur who inspired The Greatest Showman film) who added elaborate colour and features for his upcoming shows.

However, almost 200 years on, these humble posters have evolved into 14,000 square feet displays that tower over pedestrians in the middle of Times Square in New York. A recent BMW ad for their new XM SUV was the perfect attention-grabbing example to welcome 3D advertising as a great new tool in the modern OOH advertiser’s tool belt.

What are 3D billboards, and how do they work?
3D billboards are large, digital billboards that use ‘Naked eye’ 3D image technology to create a vivid sense of perspective and depth to the viewer. If executed well (as seen above), the billboard creates an optical illusion that makes the viewer feel as if the subject of the billboard is ‘coming out’ of the screen, without the need for 3D glasses. Perfect for grabbing the attention of pedestrians on the street!

The 3D footage that is used to create the illusion is made by combining two versions of the same content filmed from the exact same angle as human eyes would see it. The billboard makes use of what is known as a Parallax Barrier, which uses a series of linear ‘stripes’ in front of the display. These so-called stripes block the light from each of the separate images being seen by the other eye. This is meant to mimic how our eyes would ‘combine’ the visual stimuli taken in from both our eyes to create a three-dimensional perception of the world.

The end-result is an extremely convincing and attention-grabbing advertisement, which is significantly more capable of standing out from all the surrounding visual clutter. 

Some of the best examples of 3D billboards to date
Take a look at 10 of NRG’s favourite 3D billboards…