Creative Directors Say 3-D Fizzled on Game Day

Hollywood may be excited about 3-D technology, but as ballyhooed as the DreamWorks/Pepsi 3-D Super Bowl pod was pregame, advertising creative directors were nonplussed by the prospect of more eye-popping visuals in commercials.

While Pepsi provided 125 million free 3-D glasses produced by Intel, whose InTru technology powers next month’s DreamWorks release Monsters vs. Aliens, a random sampling of Super Bowl viewers in the advertising business found few bothered to pick up the glasses and those that did were not all that impressed with the SoBe Lifewater spot out of Arnell that featured football players and the Sobe lizards doing their version of Swan Lake. “I actually know one person who got them and she was very disappointed,” said one creative director who did not want to publicly criticize the effort.

Most felt the SoBe Lifewater commercial, which also cross-promoted DreamsWorks’ film with the inclusion of movie characters in the dance, was a strong marketing tool for 3-D technology, but it may be too early for TV.

“Like 3-D movies, a few people have done it, but it’s more like, ‘Oh yeah, that was neat,'” said Jason Karley, acd at DDB in Chicago, who said he watched the game with 75 people and not a single person arrived with the glasses. “Everyone kind of shrugged and went on with the party. It felt like a gimmick to me.”

“In theory, the idea is pretty good. But unless you make sure everyone has the glasses, it is not going to come off very well,” said Peter Nicholson, CCO of Deutsch, New York. “Watching that block without the glasses was very painful.”

Like with any new crayon in the creative toolbox, Nicholson warns that if it does become a more commonly used technology in advertising, the key is making sure the concept warrants it. “Letting the 3-D thing be the idea is never going to be good,” he said.