3D printers may have been considered a novelty just two years ago, but the technology has become increasingly prominent not just in manufacturing -- as a way to actually produce physical products -- but also as a neat marketing tool for brands.
Clients are incorporating 3D printing into their branding efforts in various ways, some fun and gimmicky and some quite useful. For example, on one end of the spectrum we recently saw an effort out of Israel for Coca-Cola that used 3D printing in a contest that created consumer mini-me's. On the other end was a Belgian insurance brand that leveraged the technology to solve one of its customers' most annoying problems. For more on these and other interesting efforts check out our below roundup.
Coca-Cola wanted to introduce its new Mini Bottles in Israel and worked with Gefem Tel-Aviv on this fun 3D printing idea. The brand invited consumers to create tiny, digital versions of themselves in a mobile app, which they then had to tend to carefully, Tamagotchi-style. A select few of those caretakers then won a trip to the Coca-Cola factory, where they were invited to turn their mini-mes into the real thing, via 3D printing.
Belgian Insurance provider DVV and Happiness Brussels showed how useful it could be to its customers -- particularly the forgetful ones. The company introduced a service called "Key Save," rolling out next month, which allows customers to scan their keys and save the data on a secure server. Whenever they lose their keys, they can take their data to a 3D printer and create a new one. It's a boon not just to customers, but to the insurance company as well, since the companies lose money yearly on replacing homeowners' locks.
Before Coca-Cola's mini-me promotion, we saw agency and tech companies experiment with similar efforts, like BlaBlabLab's OOH installation that allowed Madrid tourists to take home a very special souvenir--tiny action figures of themselves. Omote 3D, a 3D printing photo booth in Tokyo, was created out of Japaense agency Party, Rhizomatics and Engine Film.