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The Impact of Glass on Advertising — and Advertising on Glass

This is a guest post by Ira Schloss, longtime friend of The ARF and Chief Explorer of Opportunities. The topic was inspired by cool new technologies we saw at #CES2016.


Corning, the company responsible for the Gorilla glass common on the screens of most smartphones and tablets,  promoted the “Glass Age” slogan at CES 2016.  There will be many places where the latest in glass technologies will be applied to the real world, offline shopping experience for consumer products — and therefore impact future advertising.

  • Retail stores can now have displays that permit the projection of HD (Hi-Def) promotional and informational images onto a “smart show window” from behind (inside).  When that mode is turned off, there is a traditional looking, transparent see-through showcase to view the products within —  and now, without reflection or glare.
  • Once drawn into a retail space, consumers will be able to select items and check availability by size, color, price and other factors, simply by touching an interactive window through which they can still easily view samples of the products.
  • LG introduced a foursome of curved glass panels which together created one oversized screen. Either a single image or multiple images can then be …. displayed across the panels to demonstrate, in many instances, lifesize products such as kitchen appliances.


So What?

  • Smart windows will certainly be an effective means of gaining the attention of passersby. Whether such people are actively shopping or not, these displays will offer advertisers an opportunity to create brand awareness while also showing their products. Promotions can easily alternate, and update product information along with advertisements.
  • Where a large store has multiple windows, shoppers can be exposed to many creative iterations of ads that alternate with up close views of the products. Several A/B tests could be implemented at different times of the day to test for ad effectiveness.
  • The touchscreen display will enable shoppers to bypass salespeople during initial stages of shopping, and perhaps at some point, actually make the purchase without any human assistance.

Now What?

Some of these new uses of glass will allow customers to be more in control of the buying process by providing an in-store experience similar to what they have online, where parametric searching enables them to get customized results (by gender, item, size, color, features, etc).

Used in concert, there will be many new and creative ways to tie together advances in glass technology (think window-embedded sensors interfacing with geo-focused apps in smartphones), advertisements and promotions from the street to the changing room to the point of sale.

This too can be an opportunity to present advertising or point-of-sale promotions.

Clearly this application would extend beyond clothing and department stores to all types of electronic products, appliances, cars and just about anything that is parametrically searchable.