Michael Hill goes 3D with digital out-of-home

Retailer's marketing chief talks through its latest out-of-home campaign innovations and how they are helping build emotive brand connection

While many Australians were locked in their homes through parts of 2020 and 2021, beyond their four walls the out-of-home advertising sector was going through a quiet revolution, as site after site was converted to digital screens.

According to the Outdoor Media Association (OMA), digital out-of-home (DOOH) now accounts for 62.5 per cent of total net media revenue.

At the same time, the introduction of digital technology presents new options for advertisers, from programmatic buying options through to innovative presentation formats and techniques.

DOOH media company, QMS Media, has been at the forefront of introducing new formats, including use of a technology that mimics three-dimensional presentation on digital screens. The company’s 3DOOH solution utilises a technique called anamorphic illusion, which uses distorted perspectives to trick the viewer's eye into recognising a 3D object, and the technique has attracted the attention of numerous prominent Australian advertisers, including Gillette Australia, ANZ and AAMI.

For chief marketing officer at international jewellery group Michael Hill, Jo Feeney, QMS' 3DOOH is an opportunity to bring her company’s merchandise to life in a more vibrant way. This aligns well to her ambition to take the brand further upmarket.

"When I first started at Michael Hill, we weren't doing enough in terms of showcasing our best products in the best way we could," Feeney tells CMO. "Jewellery is a really emotive product and category, and we weren't taking advantage of that the way we should. And so it’s been a real focus for me and my team to make a real showcase of some of the beautiful, amazing products we have."

Hence Feeney says she has been keen to explore new technologies, and especially those yet to be adopted by competitors, to help her company's brand and merchandise stand out. So, when the technique was presented to her by her media agency, OMD, she was keen to try it.

"We sell little things," Feeney says. "They are beautiful things, but they are little. When I saw this technology, I got super excited about it, because it fitted with our broader thinking of putting our product up in lights and getting people to think of Michael Hill in a different way.

"We want to try new things and be innovative in terms of the way we go to market, and this ticked a lot of boxes around that."

The campaign Feeney chose for the 3DOOH technique was for Michael Hill's bridal collection, with 3DOOH creative displayed at one of Melbourne's most trafficked OOH locations at the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders Street.

"We believe we reached over 12 per cent of the Melbourne market, on average about eight times," Feeney says. "Those aren’t small numbers and get us close to 300,000 people over the period.

"Overall, we have seen an increase in our bridal category over the campaign period, so if I take it at a face value, [3DOOH] is one of the contributors to that."

QMS Media chief marketing officer, Tennille Burt, says other brands have been quick to explore the new capabilities of DOOH.

"There is so much rich creative opportunity and dynamism in digital out of home at the moment in the way the format allows lots of innovation and flexibility, so we are seeing innovative and brave brands really challenge us with great briefs," Burt says. "For us it is about continuing to find those solutions which are going to elevate campaigns and really make them stand out with maximum visual impact and interaction."

Feeney is now keen to explore how 3DOOH and other techniques can enhance the presentation of merchandise.

"We have a lot of 3D CGI we have spent time and energy developing," she says. "I think there is far more to be squeezed out of the creative juices to bring this medium to life even more."

Through doing so, Feeney believes she will be able to fulfill one of the core missions she commenced when she joined Michael Hill in 2021, which has been to evolve Michael Hill into a more aspirational brand locally.

"We are on a brand journey to really elevate the brand, and all things are done which such consideration, so I was personally thrilled with how that piece came to market and how it looked," Feeney says. "The world is changing so quickly, and we've got to keep up. This is what this is for me. It is not about interrupting people; it is about giving them things they actually want to engage in and find interesting and exciting."

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