What are 3D digital billboards? 5 jaw-dropping examples of 3D advertising

An exterior 3D digital billboard shows blue & pink bubbles blowing out in the air


You are waiting to grab an Oreo McFlurry from your favorite McD takeout. Suddenly, you see the celebrity you adore (and pretty much who made you fall in love with the dessert) wave a ‘Hi’ to you.

You’re shocked and run out to see them…on a giant 3D screen!

Welcome to the world of 3D advertising.

From a Calico cat appearing right in the middle of Tokyo to the Resident Evil in New York, these anamorphic billboards have made everything we only see on flat screens come to life! So, what empowers this technology, and who has made the most of it?! Let’s find out!

What is a 3D digital billboard?

3D digital billboard showing Japan's famous calico cat at Shinjuku station

3D digital billboards use 3D technology on conventional signage players with precise calculations & creativity. 3D technology produces a hyper-realistic larger-than-life three-dimensional visual of anything, from a movie trailer to an iPhone ad.

Well-executed 3D footages highlight a perspective that lives on in the viewers’ minds long after they have come across the signage. Such large outdoor advertising displays help bring the brand’s person to life. With a visual so close to reality, your potential audience will be more willing to Google up and learn about your business!

Brands worldwide have embraced 3D digital displays, and more so because of the perspective and depth added to their range of marketing & promotion channels, turning advertisements into art.

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How does 3D digital billboard technology work?

3D billboard technology works on the principle of “forced perspective.” Forced perspective is a technique that uses an object’s scale and the spectator’s vantage point to create an illusion of the thing appearing larger, smaller, nearer, or distant from the viewer.

3D tech combines two images taken from different angles and puts them into a single clip! As a result, our left and right eyes see the visuals from different points and our brain recognizes the objects in three-dimensional depth.

3D advertising boards make the left and right eyes perceive different images, creating a hollow effect
Image credit: Cmglee

To achieve this illusion, 3D billboards usually use curved displays with two faces.

High-tech billboards such as these provide a peerless visual experience with everything appearing more realistic than they are (I bet you could feel the water from the Wave right onto your face at K-pop Square in South Korea).

3D digital billboards are way more sustainable than conventional billboards and impact sales by 107% compared to only 54% for static advertising boards. In terms of story-telling, the 3D advertising system is much more engaging since it effectively engages all senses of the audience and gets the message across much faster.

5 best examples of 3D advertising billboards

By now, one thing is for sure - 3D displays are more than what meets the eye! And here, we have put down some of the most excellent advertisements created using the technology!

1. Naver’s Super Casting Campaign at COEX Square, South Korea

In early 2022, South Korea’s largest search portal, Naver, came up with a mesmerizing promo at COEX Square in Seoul.

The 3D advertising display featured global K-pop band BTS in the platform’s webtoon titled ‘Super Casting.’

The advertisement began with three of the band members, RM, Jhope, and Jungkook waving to the crowd, tapping their hands through another screen pop-up, then disappearing into an unknown world one by one, with others following suit. It also promoted the comic concept and created an effect as if the audience could hold hands with them. The crowd engagement at the Square was massive!

2. Nike’s 3D Air Max Billboard in Japan

Nike Japan launched an innovative campaign to mark its 35th anniversary in 2014.

The brand created a 3D LED billboard ad outside Shinjuku Station in Tokyo with a Nike box projecting out of the board. It then opens up showcasing various Air Max designs in customizable colors!

With a mission to highlight creativity, imagination, and innovation, Nike’s creative directors also managed to bring in the right technology and win millions of hearts worldwide. Check this out! ↓

3. Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time at Piccadilly Square, London

If it’s happening, it’s at Piccadilly!

In November 2021, London’s dynamic hotspot saw Amazon Prime launch a fantasy series, The Wheel of Time, with a remarkable 3D illusion featuring the show’s prima donna, Rosamund Pike. The digital billboard shows a battle between Rosamund’s character, representing The Light with the commander of The Dark army, doubling up as a promo for the show.

To add to it, similar 3D billboards were displayed at New York’s Big Kahuna at Times Square and Tokyo’s Cross Shinjuku Vision alongside Piccadilly, requiring Pike to deliver separate performances for each location to create a diverse angular impact on the audience.

4. Wave, South Korea

Seoul boasts of the world’s largest 3D advertising billboard in South Korea, and rightly so.

A giant wave appeared on the LED facade at Gangnam’s K-pop Square in late 2020, when beachside vacations were still a distant daydream for most city residents. The anamorphic illusion was created to uptick the overall footfall.

Appearing for a minute every hour, the immersive simulation synced in a way to look as if water is about to pour over the heads of the people who pass through the Square, intending to create a dynamic yet calming effect. This screen is also often used to promote Korean music, brand promos, and, more recently, art installations such as the Wave.

5. The Golden Bull at Pavillion KL, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In the wake of the country’s fight against Covid 19, Pavilion KL came up with a 3D animation of a golden bull symbolizing good health and prosperity for the nation. The billboard was unveiled to mark the Chinese New Year celebrations in the country and saw a massive trend on social media.

The 3D billboard screen showed a silver bull encased in a glass box being spray painted in gold. The bull digs its hooves into the ground and charges toward the screen with the words “Together fight against COVID-19.”

The future of 3D digital billboard advertising

With the tech storm taking over the world, 3D digital billboards are becoming more and more popular.

Although consumption patterns and market trends trigger advertising, 3D billboard ads have more longevity than traditional ones. It helps the user tap into an exciting new world while driving down a freeway or simply walking through the city’s heartland. 3D displays have become a rage, especially since the onset of the pandemic, because people did look for things to get them attracted amid the gloomy days. But now, with more and more brands jumping to disrupt marketing & advertising, it seems like 3D digital billboards are here to stay.

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Shivangi Chatterjee

Shivangi writes for Pickcel. She consumes knowledge on the world of business & marketing at the same rate she consumes her cups of coffee. When she is not writing, you will find her reading books, grooving to music or admiring art.

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