If you’re old enough to be reading news articles online, chances are that for most of your life, holograms were the strict purview of Captain Kirk when speaking to Star Fleet or Darth Vader sending a status report to the Emperor. Holograms have long been a staple of sci-fi technology and in the past decade or two, the technology has appeared in films set in the present. In Ocean’s Twelve, a hologram was a major plot point in stealing a Fabergé egg. In 2012, the technology went from films and laboratories to the stage when rapper Tupac gave a stunning posthumous performance at the Coachella music festival.
Since then, holograms have been seeping into our everyday lives in a way that’s the stuff of ’90s cinematic dreams. What was once in the realm of the fantastic has now become relatively commonplace. Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley have both made onstage appearances despite the formidable handicap of having been dead at the time thanks to the technology of holograms. Musicians M.I.A. and Janelle Monae (both living) also performed a live duet despite M.I.A being in New York and Janelle Monae being on the West Coast – again thanks to hologram technology.
Holograms are no longer found only in films with space ships, but are becoming more mainstream and even appearing in everyday banalities. Nowadays, even basic supermarket marketing is employing the technology.
In 2015, Mondelez, better known for being a former division of food giant Kraft, placed hologram advertising in supermarkets in the US. Emblazoned with the logos of Chips Ahoy, Honey Maid and Ritz, Mondelez’s campaign featured sports celebrities from the US women’s soccer team and the slogan “Pass the Love.” Selected K-Mart and Price Chopper supermarkets have featured the ads.
Holographic advertising is not, however, unique to the US. As long ago as 2013, a shopping mall in Russia featured a hologram display by Nokia. While the holographic revolution in advertising hasn’t yet reached total saturation, its prominence is growing.
Unsurprisingly, companies whose core demographics are retirees or whose products are medicine for the elderly haven’t quite embraced the technology, but for companies selling modern electronics and with younger demographics, it’s becoming increasingly common. And for companies whose presence is more digital than physical, it seems a natural next step.
Gaming sites are at the forefront of hi-tech advertising, which appeals to their demographics, which tend to be younger people who are always connected to the internet via smartphones and other mobile devices. Online bingo has seen a growing popularity in recent years thanks in part to their heavy presence on TV advertising. For companies like Best New Bingo Sites, who offer comparison services for online no deposit bingo, holograms seem a likely marketing strategy. By creating a physical presence—if indeed a hologram could be called physical—to something that is inherently digital, companies of that ilk stand to create brand awareness in a very public way, perhaps taking a note from Nokia’s playbook and setting up shop in shopping malls.
One of the challenges for companies based online has always been that of being seen publicly and out in the open. Where brick-and-mortar shops have big signs outside their shops, online retailers have to rely on ads online. Holograms provide something of a middle ground between the digital and the physical for companies hoping to heighten their brand recognition.
Known for being at the cutting edge of technology since its foundation in 1931, car maker Porsche has outdone nearly everyone where holographic advertising is concerned. In the April 2016 edition of Fast Company magazine, which focuses on business, technology and design Porsche created a holographic print ad in which readers of the magazine could assemble a plastic prism, place it on a tablet, and watch a holographic ad. Unlike their cars, “some assembly [was] required”, but this was nevertheless a turning point in holographic advertising.
In fact, the advertising industry is adopting the technology and already holographic displays are available on the market. As with any product, prices vary dramatically, but with displays costing somewhere a few hundred dollars on either side of a thousand, it’s still not something to be seen in the mom-and-pop shops down on the corner. But with so many companies from so many industries flirting with the technology, it doesn’t seem like widespread use is more than a couple of years off.