IMB_USPSVirtualBox Earlier this week, the USPS created an engaging tool on their site called the “Virtual Box Simulator.” It is relatively simple to use – you print out an icon and when you visit their site and launch their tool, the icon is recognized through your webcam and what seems like a holographic version of a shipping box appears. Since the webcam is pointed at you, the box appears in your hands as you hold the piece of paper, and lets you move it around in any direction as if it were real. 

IMB_GEWindmill Several months ago, a similarly engaging effort was launched by GE to promote their wind powered energy solutions. That site allowed you to also hold up a piece of paper to unlock a virtual simulation of their wind power and interact with it. What both of these efforts point to is the potential rise of HoloCam Marketing, a new form of interactive marketing using the ubiquitous webcam and a clever piece of programming to create the appearance of a three dimensional hologram that you can interact with.

DEFINITION – HoloCam Marketing could be defined as the process of using a webcam, programming and a printed image together to create the impression of a hologram on a user’s computer screen.

What makes this new form of marketing work so well?

  1. It is inherently talkable. Once you experience this, you can’t help but share it with someone else. It is like finding a hidden component in your computer that you never knew about.
  2. It uses technology you already have. With a regular computer with a short install and a webcam, anyone can see this image. There is no big technical barrier, which takes it out of the “geek” realm and into the world of real people.
  3. It is experiential. Rather than relaying a message through printed words or even just imagery, this technique lets you actually see and experience something, which brings the message to life.
  4. It peaks your curiosity. To some degree, you may get a user likely to do this simply to see what kind of holographic interactivity is hidden behind the printed page that you ask them to print out. It is a mystery and we can’t help but solve it.