03 Apr

Will 3D Printing Revolutionize Digital Marketing?

Published in: Blog
| Written by  Michelle Smith

Once, in the not-so-distant past, 3D printing sounded like a sci-fi fantasy. But now, it’s undeniably a reality. And since the futuristic technology has taken off, we’ve seen some amazing innovations, from replacement bones to replicas of famous statues.

More proof that 3D printing is on its way to the top? It’s an industry predicted to be worth $16.2 billion over the next four years. There’s even a 3D printing mutual fund.

3D printing is all about physical creation. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used digitally – specifically for digital marketing. In fact, some tech-savvy brands have already begun using 3D printing in their digital marketing campaigns. But will 3D printing ever become a mainstream marketing technique?

Take a look at how these brands are capitalizing on 3D printing. Could you see the innovative technology as a part of your marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments below.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola introduced its new Mini Bottles in Israel with an innovative and creative digital marketing campaign that included 3D printing.

First, Coke lovers in Israel logged onto a mobile app to create small, digital versions of themselves. Then, each one had to take care of their “mini-me” in an online game. Finally, a few winners were chosen for a trip to the Coca-Cola factory, where they got to create 3D print-outs of their digital selves.

You can check out this video for more information on the campaign, which gained international attention.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen combined two cutting-edge marketing trends in a 2012 ad campaign for the Polo: 3D printing and consumer input.

The German car manufacturer encouraged Danish fans to design their dream Polo through the Volkswagen website. Then, 40 of the best ideas were created using a 3D printer and displayed at a Copenhagen exhibition. The best part? The winner’s design was turned into a real, full-size car – which she got to drive for two months.

The campaign showed that Volkswagen is tech-savvy and ahead of the curve – and it was a creative way to increase its online traffic.

BelVita

A company that makes breakfast biscuits might not be your first thought when you think “high-tech.” But BelVita proved that breakfast can be innovative with its #MorningWin campaign.

The 2014 campaign urged consumers to tweet their #MorningWins – like making the bed or taking out the trash – for a chance to win a 3D-printed trophy that depicted their tweet in action. BelVita also incorporated some of the most popular tweets into a series of funny videos. And the video that kicked off the campaign? It has more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

BelVita’s campaign is an inventive use of 3D printing, combined with tried-and-true methods like social engagement and YouTube videos.

What’s next for 3D printing and digital marketing?

These brands show that 3D printing and marketing make a successful team. But is it a team that will stick around, or will 3D printing soon be an outdated advertising gimmick?

It’s hard to say. Although only a few brands have gotten on board, others may follow as 3D printing becomes more mainstream (and affordable). Look for more tech-savvy contests that involve 3D prizes – especially ones that implement consumer ideas, like Volkswagen’s.

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