Info & Answers
Did Best Buy’s 3D Advertisement Work?
Best Buy released a 3D ad in the paper. Some called it gimmicky. But did it work?
August 07, 2009 by Tom LeBlanc

Best Buy released a 3D advertisement in the newspaper this past Sunday.

It wasn’t as simple as picking up the paper and having the products dance off the page. Oh, no. It required a PC, a Webcam, a dark room and … well, can explain it better.

Some of the stories I read about the ad were tongue-in-cheek and mocked the idea.

But you have to give the big-box store some credit for at least trying. After all, it’s in a high-stakes battle with Walmart for Circuit City’s former customers.

Best Buy recently launched a customer service campaign on Twitter called Twelpforce. That, by the way, was compromised by impostors, forcing Best Buy to spring into action and list the impostors.

People like to criticize Best Buy, including us, and the blogosphere has been quick to call the Twitter and 3D campaigns gimmicky. All that really matters, though, is whether or not they work.

But do they?

Advertising Age posted an interview with Best Buy director-brand identity, print and design Spencer Knisely. He has some interesting stuff to say:

On why Best Buy is doing this 3D campaign

There’s lots of talk about the impending demise of newspapers and circular readership … Inserts have a role to play in their own migration … We’re trying to think of the circular, instead of being the end of all promotional activity, as the beginning.

On how many people actually looked at the 3D circular

It was hard to predict what the adoption would be. We knew a couple of things. We knew we have weekly circ of 46 million, and we had spoken with our business team, computing and computing accessories team and said, ‘What’s the install base of webcams?’ They believed 20% of households have a functioning Webcam. So knowing those things, we projected maybe 2,500 people would give it a shot. We were surprised to learn many more connected with and used the experience — 6,500 was the last report.

On the surprising aspect of having to use a Webcam in order to view it

There was a footnote at bottom of the page, and buried in with all the other footnotes—the legal disclaimers and such — there was a note that said you have to have a webcam. Whether that’s prominent is really debatable, but we did technically tell folks they needed one.

On whether or not it worked

We don’t know that yet.

On whether or not Best Buy will do more 3D advertising

We have plans to do more AR [augmented reality] in the future, active projects on the books. Our point of view is you have to offer a range of ways for the consumer to interact. It’s too early to tell whether any of these things is a replacement of — but they’re certainly an enhancement to — a traditional insert.

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