UK Mediaco Ocean Outdoor Launches DeepScreen Creative Service Based On Anamorphic Illusion Billboard Spots

August 10, 2021 by Dave Haynes

The interest and apparent demand for big LED billboard ads that used anamorphic illusion creative techniques has grown to a level that a major UK out of home media company has developed a whole service around it.

Ocean Outdoor has started marketing a new service called DeepScreen, with a set of templates that can speed the development of creative that uses these illusions, which are also referred to as forced perspective. That etemplates are keyed to eight LED boards in seven cities in England and Scotland.

Says Ocean in introducing DeepScreen:

DeepScreen uses a technique called ‘anamorphosis’ or ‘forced perspective’ which mathematically warps imagery so that when viewed from a specific vantage point, the illusion of 3D depth is created on flat surfaces.

The company had already done several creative pieces that ran on a massive display in London’s Picadilly Circus, which along with nearby Leicester Square is a Times Square-ish media district.

Activations using DeepScreen have recently been carried on the iconic Piccadilly Lights in London which is operated by Ocean for Landsec. Bold illusions by Vodafone, IWC Schaffhausen, Netflix, Deliveroo and PokerStars have been used as centrepieces for integrated campaigns.

It is also available across eight Ocean digital screens in seven UK cities, including Westfield Square, Westfield London, the Four Dials in Westfield Stratford City, the Manchester Printworks, Liverpool Media Wall, Birmingham Media Eyes and city centre screens in Nottingham, Norwich and Glasgow which can be combined with experiential activations.

“Forced perspective is hard to describe, but incredibly easy to view – realistic ‘3D’ images, with the correct perspective, lighting and shadows, that require no fancy eyewear, QR codes or technology,” says Ocean’s head of design David Tait. “To really grab audiences’ attention, advertisers want to stand out from the crowd and it doesn’t get much more striking than a 17m high rugby ball flying towards them.

“To allow brands to create DeepScreen activations, we developed 3D templates that recreate the unique size and curvature of the screens along with the viewer positions for each of the supported locations. Using these templates, and the included consultancy of the Ocean Studio team, brands can integrate their imagery to create these stunning eye-tricking campaigns.”

Ocean gets brownie points from me for being open about how these creative pieces really do need to be viewed from specific and fairly narrow vantage points. The visual surprise and delight, so to speak, of seeing that big rugby ball Tait references doesn’t necessarily happen unless the viewer sees it from a specific angle off the displays – usually off a wraparound corner.

I like these things – not that I have had the opportunity to travel and see them in the past 18 months – but as with all full-motion advertising that visual trickery alone won’t necessarily elevate brand awareness or realize other marketing goals. The creative still has to be well-considered and the message right.

My opinion (only) is the much-touted Vodafone rugby spot isn’t all that good, but the simpler timepiece one is quite good. You can judge them yourself by watching the sizzle video below …

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