Driving advertising innovation with 3D printing


Innovative strategies in advertising and marketing drive the user experience—strategies that make brands stick out in the store, at a tradeshow or online. 3D printing, while not new, is a technology that can deliver mass personalization to your brands’ products, services and marketing campaign.

While most commonly used in an engineer’s world, 3D printers offer opportunities across multiple professions. Think about how products generated from a 3D printer could add mass personalization to your marketing campaign. Represent your brand with printed items for your sales reps, printed items for concept development, free gifts printed after a purchase, or even displaying a 3D printer in action at a tradeshow.

Example in practice: Google’s “Uncover Your World”

In 2011, Google had a new search app to promote. The company worked with Grow Interactive and unveiled “Uncover Your World,” an interactive ad using AdMob rich media. The ad featured a city built entirely of model buildings using a 3D printer. It took the user through an interactive experience, exploring the virtual city around them and inviting them to use the various features of the search app. Google reported great success from the ad. Users spent over a minute and a half interacting with the ad, and 50% of those users went on to download the app.

Google's Uncover Your World

Smart milk jug

Teehan+Lax used 3D printing to develop a smart milk jug—one that lets you know when you’re running low on milk. It works with your smartphone through an app to determine how much milk you have left, sending an alert to your smartphone when it’s time to go purchase more. Pretty convenient, huh?

How does 3D printing work?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, breaks down into these four parts:

  • A 3D file is uploaded to a computer.
  • Design software, such as CAD, breaks down the file into thin layers.
  • The item is formed by printing thin layers using a solid material (e.g. plastic).
  • A solid object emerges.

Will affordable 3D printers near our businesses and homes soon?

Right now, you have to spend the big bucks to get a high-quality consumer 3D printer. Formlabs has created a 3D printer, the Form 1, available for more than $3,000. Not in your budget? Not to worry. Observing trends with 2D digital printers, it may not be long before even lower-cost 3D printers are available. In fact, there are some being released later this year for $350-$400. It took less than two decades for inkjet printers to evolve into what they are today. Digital technology is changing quicker than ever these days and marketing professionals want the latest technology at their fingertips. It’s not a matter of if 3D printers will become a household item, but when.

Form Labs 3D Printer

Do you see 3D printers being available in households in the near future?

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