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Spotting a Fake 3D Viral Ad: The blurred line between real and fake

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Written by: Lina Maggi, VP of Partnerships & Head of OOH, BCN Visuals

In the ever-evolving world of advertising, we are increasingly exposed to 3D billboard ads that captivate us. But, how can we differentiate a real ad from a fake one?

First of all, as humans, we are constantly waiting to be surprised and delighted, so when we see something exciting on our phones or computer screens that catches our attention, we are compelled to share.

A recent “viral” campaign that has circulated the web is Maybelline UK’s ad with a bus and subway passing under a mascara wand. That’s not something you see every day, and if you were to see it in real life, it would definitely capture your attention. The fake TikTok “ad” was developed with CGI (computer-generated imagery) by someone, not the brand, and was posted on a fake Maybelline UK TikTok channel. It got picked up by media outlets, prominent people in the ad space, as well as the general public – posting and reposting on their social channels. Similarly, another campaign circulating the web this month was that of the giant Barbie stepping out of a doll box in Dubai. A little more obvious that it wasn’t real nor achievable, but many were fooled by this one as well.

These will likely not be the first, nor the last fake posts that will appear real. In a world where people pay to skip ads, it’s impressive that an ad can generate that much attention and social chatter.

Here at BCN Visuals, we pride ourselves in the work that we do and put out in the real world. We always put together a promotional video of every 3D Anamorphic campaign we work on. We know that not everyone is lucky enough to be in Times Square, Downtown LA, Shibuya Tokyo to witness the 3D ad in person. By capturing the ad and posting it online and social media, we’re able to reach a much larger audience and thus, expand the life of the campaign beyond the billboard.

What are ways to discern a real ad from a fake one, you ask.

  • Giving physicality to a flat screen: a 3D anamorphic ad is an optical illusion. It’s taking a flat, curved or angled screen and making it appear as though there is depth to it – giving physicality to something that is not real. Similar to the way you create an illusion of a hallway when you draw two lines that meet at the top on a piece of paper, that’s how a 3D Anamorphic ad works – with angles, shadows, and math. A video with an ad that shows the elements going outside of the perimeter of the screen is almost certainly fake.
  • Association to a brand or event: as you can imagine, to develop 3D anamorphic assets you need a full team of artists and skilled designers, which means that there is a high level of investment associated in developing these visuals. With that, it is very unlikely that an ad is real if it’s just a design, not associated with a brand nor promoting an event. That’s a surefire way to distinguish a real ad from a fake one. It’s unlikely that an intricate design was created solely for the sake of amusement without any commercial intent.
  • Location: if you see something that’s “too good to be true” it likely is. With everything in OOH, there are rules and regulations on what’s permitted, especially when it comes to the wellbeing of the public. If you see an ad where two billboards are connected with Christmas lights over a freeway it is most likely to be fake – the safety of the public is of utmost importance, so anything that could be a liability or could harm the general public, it’s likely to be fake.

Next time you come across an ad online or on your phone where you think “ wow that’s amazing!”, pause, and think twice before you believe everything you see.

About BCN Visuals
BCN Visuals is an award-winning innovation technology company and global production partner that pioneered the 3D Anamorphic Billboard. Collaborating with brands and agencies wanting to leave an indelible mark, they live & thrive at the intersection of narrative and technology. Blurring the line between storytelling and interaction, BCN Visuals emerges with a new form of immersive entertainment that delivers meaningful shared experiences transcending cultural constraints or geographical boundaries. For more information, check out our website: www.bcnvisuals.com or reach out at contact@bcnvisuals.com. BCN Visuals – 2023 Reel

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bcnvisuals/
Website: https://bcnvisuals.com/

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