Most innovations are not invented with the intention of helping marketing and advertising. Generally speaking, the industry has always had to evolve and respond. This is no different with 3D printing.
Thanks to the likes of Bristol-based Open Bionics and their affordable 3D printed prosthetic limbs, we’ve seen great strides in areas like medicine and healthcare, but 3D printing within advertising is yet to properly take off.
We have however seen some brands experimenting in the space. For example, Nike, Adidas and now Under Armour have all been exploring opportunities in 3D printed trainers, whilst Huggies 3D printed an ultrasound for blind mothers-to-be.
This touches on one of the greatest opportunities 3D printing presents us with – personalisation. Sports brands such as Nike and Adidas could soon be creating bespoke trainers specifically designed to fit the shape of one’s feet, or to provide extra support for particularly weak areas or enhance performance in others. And it is this type of hyper-personalisation, which allows for unique brand experiences, Huggies is a particularly pertinent example – bringing to life the joy of a first ultrasound for the visually impaired is truly wonderful and demonstrates some of the most promising potential of 3D printing in our industry.
These are pioneering days, but there’s no doubt this type of radical innovation will continue to deliver, and perhaps even spur more out of the box solutions for brands in their marketing applications.
That said, with a whole wealth of opportunity in the physical space, one would expect that soon we will have new skill sets emerging for 3D printing. Just as we now have experts and specialists in digital and social media, in the not too distant future we may very well have specific 3D printing strategists or consultants in both the agency and client sides of the industry. Only time will tell.