Digital Avatars and the Future of Personalized Advertising
From gaming and retail, to medicine and media, numerous sectors of industry are already embracing augmented reality and VR technology.
AR, in particular, is predicted to have a major impact on the retail industry, connecting brands with buyers, allowing consumers to virtually test products before purchasing. Companies like IKEA, Michael Kors, TopShop, and Sephora have already released AR apps, but beyond direct sales, how else can brands court potential buyers through augmented reality and emerging tech?
According to Possible Reality Chief Technology Officer, Blake Senftner, the answer lies in a new personalized advertising industry that places the consumer, or at least their 3-D digital avatar, directly inside the commercial.
“It becomes a giant advertising ecosystem,” explains Senftner, who joined Possible Reality’s board of founders in 2018 after helming the 3D Avatar Store. “Our service actually pushes avatar, AR, and facial recognition technology where our customers can sign up to have personalized ads … what we’re doing is putting people in different advertising platforms that they will start to see themselves in. And, when you’re in a personalized ad, you can of course download it and share it with your buddies -- personalized advertising is really kind of like fantasy fulfillment.”
Senftner’s vision for personalized advertising comes with decades of experience in the visual effects and computer programming industries. A veteran of Rhythm & Hues Studios, Senftner first specialized in actor replacement, working on features like Disney’s “Ice Princess,” “Garfield,” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” before focusing his attention on digital avatar creation.
Intent on pushing the boundaries of personalized media, Senftner shifted his focus to digital avatars, which he believes will eventually a “fundamental, core technology that everybody uses and everybody has in a digitally enhanced world.” And while the earliest adopters of avatar technology will likely be gamers, who create personalized and optimized avatars to insert in gaming environments: sports games, third-person shooters, and RPGs; Senftner is adamant about the impact this technology can have on the advertising industry.
“I’ve been working in this area with actual working technology for about 16 years now, and nobody was thinking along the lines of how to bring people into the digital media as themselves. [It] really sort of surprises me,” comments Senftner. “Here’s how that pipeline actually works: you would have your advertisers, they create an ad, but when they create the ad, they have one or two key actors that are gonna be replaced. So, when you film the ad, you want to film variations that cover the demographic spread of the clients … and imagine a film trailer campaign? How many people would love to have a copy of that A Star Is Born trailer, but instead of Lady Gaga, it’s you that Bradley Cooper is talking to? You can do this with basically any movie, any ad and put the viewer directly inside.”
Beyond these personalized avatars, Senftner also believes in the power of avatars as agents, a concept that would basically create a custom avatar, likely of a celebrity, that serves as a type of digital assistant, interacting with your in the physical world.
“If I had Snoop Dogg doing my navigation, I would totally get into something like that,” explains Senftner. “Whoever your favorite artist is, our technology can create avatars, and suddenly Snoop, or whoever, can be the DJ in your car or on your mobile device. It’s an entirely virtualized thing that applies to so many crossover technologies.”
Like Senftner, Possible Reality CEO Ryan Isbell has embraced the creation of new personalized media through the use of lifelike digital avatars. Starting with the gaming industry, Isbell foresees a growing, dynamic landscape where consumers use their 3-D avatars to interact inside virtual, digital environments.
Focusing first on the gaming industry, Isbell founded Possible Reality and developed the INTARACT avatar creator as a way to put players directly inside their favorite games. Since Senftner has come on board, however, Possible Reality has grown that vision to create an entirely new medium, a personalized medium, that has has the ability to completely redefine entire industries, including the advertising world.
“People are already starting to embrace avatars in social media. We’d like to amplify that and take them into new realms such as video games, e-commerce, and advertising … our goal is to increase the lifelike representation of themselves with our avatar creation tool INTARACT,” comments Isbell. “This is a brand new medium to directly engaged each consumer on a person by person basis. Our product adds value in the form of cutting edge facial recognition software, our extensive user database, and the ability to use these two features to reach consumers on a personal level.”
So while Possible Reality continues to improve avatar creation technology and create AR solutions for the retail and gaming industries, they understand the power of a product like INTARACT and are intent on creating new media, which is a perfect fit for a new era of personalized advertising.
MORE FROM POSSIBLE REALITY:
Have an opinion on this blog? Interested in alpha testing our new AR and avatar products? We’d love to hear from you and share our exciting new products and comprehensive XR solutions.
For all blog inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other inquiries, please contact email@example.com