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Unformatted text preview: Advertising enters the virtual world Opportunities have been exploited to the full Sweet but off the mark During the 1990s, chocolate makers Ferrero Rocher came up with one of the most derided advertisements in television history. Among the many cringe-making features of the ambassadors party was the all-white guest list. The advert was later remade to reflect the ethnic diversity of people who would attend such an event. It was curious that an advertising agency (an Italian company in this case) for such a big product should have been so wide of the mark. Advertisers are usually far more switched on, both in terms of awareness of social issues and in seeing ways to exploit new opportunities to promote products. Advertisers have not been slow, for example, to see that the emergence of the internet has provided them with that holy grail, an entirely new outlet for their talents, one to which they have responded with imagination and flair. Another development, the possibility of 3D advertising online, is in its infancy. The question, one posed by Debbabi, Daassi and Baile, is: will it really offer opportunities beyond that of its 2D equivalent? A key factor in their research is telepresence, the technology that allows a person to feel that they are present at an online event, interacting with the product as if it were there with them. In other words, consumers have access to and contact with a product in a way that replicates their having direct physical contact. It is a phenomenon that recalls Coleridges reference to willing suspension of disbelief. Studies have shown that consumers do indeed feel telepresent when they interact with a product in 3D. The researchers identified certain variables which are most likely to benefit from direct experience of a product rather than purely seeing it through advertising. They are: belief strength towards the product; belief confidence; attitude towards the product; attitude confidence (the extent to which individuals are confident that their response is the right one); and purchase intentions. Time for research It was decided to test these factors by creating two experimental products for 2D and 3D web sites. One, a watch, was a geometric product, the other, a coat, was material. The former are products that need to be seen to be appreciated; the latter require touch for total appreciation and understanding of quality. Slogans were devised for both brands and included on the web sites. To test several hypotheses, four web sites were conceived with visualisation for each project (the Satchko watch and the Cymba coat) in both 2D and 3D, with information symmetry but greater richness and intereactivity for the 3D products. For example, with 3D, subjects can move and be rotated as well as having far superior digital resolution. Participants were PAGE 18 j STRATEGIC DIRECTION j VOL. 27 NO. 2 2011, pp. 18-21, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0258-0543 DOI 10.1108/02580541111103936 fully versed in use of the web sites before they saw the advertisements. Various forms of thefully versed in use of the web sites before they saw the advertisements....
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- Winter '08