Canadian Tire goes 3D for new pets campaign

One of the more interesting developments in advertising in the last year, while so many have been stuck indoors, has been the growing use of hyper-realistic 3D advertising outdoors.

Anyone following ad Twitter or Instagram will likely have seen a version or two by now: The ads feel like a dramatic step change from even the highest resolution digital billboards we’ve become accustomed to in recent years. These new billboards give the illusion of peering into an ad, with character(s) or other striking visuals coming to life within it (like this, and several others here).

This past week, Canadian Tire deployed the 3D technique and technology in Canada for the first time, with two of-home ads by Branded Cities running in high-traffic locations downtown Toronto. Both Canadian Tire and Branded Cities are calling this the first use of 3D billboards in Canada.

The ads use Branded Cities’ DreamRoom 3D technology, and are part of a larger campaign for Canadian Tire’s expanded pet offerings. One of the billboards at Yonge and Dundas Square features a dog playing with a ball, while the execution in Union Station shows a cat pawing at a bowl. The two ads debuted Nov. 8 and will run for four weeks (Taxi oversaw creative for the campaign and Touché the media).

“It is thrilling to be on the leading edge of innovative and exciting technology, and we are excited to bring this world-class feature into the digital out-of-home industry here in Canada,” said Toby Sturek, president of Branded Cities Canada in a release introducing the new ads. “This campaign by Canadian Tire showcases our goal of providing the best solutions for our clients and will leave an unforgettable impression throughout the city and our industry.”

While there has been a resurgence in the popularity and quality of 3D movies, Ali Satchu, vice-president of marketing with Branded Cities, explained that the ads are not shot with 3D cameras. Instead, creating the illusion of three dimensions comes from careful consideration of geometry and depth in the shooting process.

The most important consideration when developing the forced perspective illusion is understanding sightlines and the viewer’s perspective, he said. “This DreamRoom 3D execution required us to build custom risers to match the perspective of each screen,” he said. “To shoot the subject matter, we also utilized a Red Raptor 8K camera that enabled us to extract the best quality raw footage to manipulate in post-production.”

They could have created a digital rendering of the animals featured in the ads, but Canadian Tire wanted to use live animals. They also used a combination of 3D modelling and flatbed artwork scanning of the products behind the pets, in a rendered “Dream” environment. “This creates the most life-like render of both the animals and products, while allowing us the greatest flexibility in post-production,” said Branded Cities.

David Brown