What do you think would be the most talked thing during a recent match in European Football Cup? Ronaldo? Messi? Penalties? Well, you all might be surprised to know that the most talked thing had nothing to do with football or the players. It was the advertising that ran across the strip of the field.
Source: Posted on Reddit by user erivaldoff
The above image (taken from a video uploaded on Reddit with more than a lakh upvotes) shows different ads running in different geographies at the same time. Users on the platform were stunned to see this with some calling it miracle and sorcery. Well, if you have some clue about recent digital trends, you would know that it this is nothing new. In fact, it is known as virtual advertising and it has been around for few years now.
For those who still wonder
Virtual advertising is the digital placement of advertising and other promotional messages over a virtual white screen. The ads that you see on your TV during the LIVE telecast are not physically played at the venue. They don’t exist for the live audience on the stands. What they see is a blank white screen.
This strip of white screen is called virtual perimeter that enables perimeter advertising. Perimeter advertising or virtual advertising is done to create dynamic advertising capabilities. It helps advertisers to get more bang for their marketing bucks. It enables businesses and products to reach out to a wider audience living in different geographies with varied tastes.
It includes on-screen graphics which means that the placements are superimposed specifically for the TV audience. Virtual advertising runs with in-depth technology which ensures that the ad looks as real as possible. There are several cameras on the field that map and capture the white screen and eliminate movement of players across the screen. Due to this process, the ad runs seamlessly and feels real.
The way it works is that companies book slots during the game, with specific duration such as 2 seconds, 5 seconds, etc. The company then selects geographies in which they wish their ads to be displayed. This way of a-la-carte selection allows organizations to create multiple advertising opportunities at the same time and optimize costs.
Why is it needed, you ask?
Advertising is a dynamic process. Advertisers seek new ways to promote their brands and products due to the diminishing effects of traditional forms of advertising. The millennial and Gen Z have turned their back towards traditional print media such as newspapers and are happy with digital subscriptions to e-news and e-magazines. This upward driving digital trend coupled with AR and VR will soon eradicate conventional forms of advertising and make them obsolete and redundant.
Newspapers, hoarding, and wall-painted brandings have given way to mobile marketing, virtual advertising, perimeter advertising, augmented reality advertisements and so on.
The new form of advertising prevents users from zapping, and creates room for opportunities. Zapping is when a user keeps changing channels on their TV till they find something interesting to watch.
When you have conventional advertising, user knows the ad will be the same throughout the match. What if the ad is not relevant? For instance, an alcohol product ad or an ad of a product that’s not sold in the local market might lead the user to zap.
The main purpose of these special forms of advertising is to prevent intentional zapping by viewers, at the same time enhancing the effectiveness of advertising due to their unique feature. These new forms of advertising also include virtual advertising.
The Segway for brands into global markets
The biggest advantage to virtual advertising is its ability to create parallel opportunities basis geographies and demographic. It also allows businesses to comply with rules and regulations of different countries and create ads basis their norms. For instance, betway, a gambling company, had run their ad during an NFL game and was displayed only to audiences of countries where their services existed. This custom selection allowed them to reduce their marketing costs, serve niche markets and derive optimum revenue out of the investment.
Virtual advertising has broaden the scope for global businesses to expand their reach. National as well as international brands have made their way into the global arena and made the market more competitive. It has enabled businesses, big and small, to display their products during the main sporting event and run neck-to-neck with the big players. It has also helped them with market penetration and global recognition. A known example of virtual advertising is Vimal, an Indian mouth-freshener brand, displaying their ads during India’s cricket matches to select countries where they offer their services.
Leveraging Disruptive Technologies
With latest advancements in technology, there are new trends that are entering virtual advertising such as blockchain, AR and VR. Instance Sponsor, a blockchain-powered platform, enables brands to book slots and run ads in real-time. This means that marketing teams of brands can quickly get into an on-going match and run their ads without having to bid for space before-hand.
To give you some perspective about the market, in the initial years of virtual advertising, during a football season, perimeter advertising was implemented at 60 matches in 10 different arenas. More than 50 brands had displayed their ad in international markets and sponsoring revenues have been generated in the 8-digit range.
Virtual advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. With the continuous disruption in technology and customization opportunities, brands all over the world have a powerful tool at their disposal. It helps organization to leverage such services and create a global footprint with reduced investment. And with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, virtual advertising is taken into consideration to be a need for organizations throughout the modern-day undertaking globally.
So, the next time you watch a match on your television with an ad displayed on the perimeter, you can only admire the beauty of virtual advertising and wonder, ‘Is this technology or is it magic?