Brace Yourselves: 2021 Will Change Everything about Digital Creative

When a giant avatar of hip-hop star Travis Scott descended from the virtual heavens into the online universe of Fortnite to deliver a virtual concert last April, he gave us a glimpse at a way to re-imagine the entertainment experience. And gamers responded. Over a period of three days, nearly 28 million unique players watched Scott strut across a fantasy world he envisioned, “Astronomical.”

Welcome to the new age of digital re-imagination.

If 2020 was about brands trying to win a race to create the best digital experience possible, 2021 is about rethinking the digital experience completely. Like entertainers performing virtual concerts when they can’t appear face to face with an audience. Or retailers earning billions by relying on smart, engaging livestreams to showcase products when offline stores are not an option. A new report from dentsu, Brave New Normal: Creative Trends 2021, takes a closer look at how businesses are ushering in digital reimagination already.

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Brave New Normal asks a compelling question: what happens when physical experiences are restrained and restricted in the age of Covid-19? The dentsu creative agencies provide an answer in this report by showcasing businesses that are already treating digital as a creative canvas to inspire and delight their customers. Consider a few of these examples from the report:

Beats Tempo — Firstborn, An Isobar Company

Firstborn developed Tempo, a suite of digital tools designed to educate and train a global audience on Beats’s most cutting-edge products, allowing audiences to experience products before they had even been realized. Meticulously rendered 3D models, motion graphics, and an immersive engaging narrative brought complex product features to life in an easy-to-understand format that simulated the experience of holding and using the products while they were still in development. Tempo redefined the way Beats engages, connects, and educates audiences, and fundamentally changed how the brand brings new product initiatives to market.

ScotlandVR — Whitespace, An Isobar Company

Together with Napier University and XDesign, Whitespace created a first of its kind Virtual Reality app that would allow smartphone users to explore Scotland’s most iconic attractions, without even having to leave their house. Working with popular gaming engine, Unity, Whitespace created a complete 360° environment called The Glen, in which people could move around and explore at their leisure. 

Kira — VeryStar, an Isobar Company

VeryStar partnered with a CGI Movie Studio to build a complete platform for immersive virtual streaming. They developed Kira, the first self-developed and self-owned virtual idol/anchor/brand mascot. Kira has been specifically created for brands looking to tap into a youth audience for the growing Chinese ACGN (animation, comic, game, and short novel) market.

Voltaren No Pain In-Games — Isobar

Isobar’s work for pain relief brand Voltaren demonstrated how engagement in the virtual realm can generate engagement in the real world. In China, eSports participation has reached over 440 million, and the pain caused by long-term gaming is emerging as a new medical concern. Voltaren turned popular multiplayer game Dota’s Magic Weapon into a pain relief tool, the “Battle Fury Pain Massager” creating a psychological bridge between the in-game and out-of-game experience. Dota’s legendary players and eSports anchors showcased the “Pain Massager” on four major live streaming platforms, which brought 4.9 billion brand impressions to Voltaren.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Brave New World says that experience technology is the new creative toolkit that brands-as-storytellers everywhere need to master. Technologies such as VR, AR, gaming engines, and avatars enable online experiences that are as distinctive and memorable as offline experiences — increasingly important in a world where brands are built online. 

Fortunately, businesses are preparing themselves to flourish with technology. According to Isobar’s CX Survey 2020: Creative Experience in the Age of Covid-19, CMOs are all-in with digital tools and big ideas. Our global survey found that 64% of CMOs are changing their customer experience strategy in response to the pandemic. How? By doubling down on ideas and innovation – especially the innovative use of technology. 

We are well past the phase of mastering digital as a channel to connect with people. It’s time to reimagine digital to create lasting relationships. Contact Isobar to learn how.

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