June 10, 2010: When historians look back at life in 2010, they very well might mark June 11 as the day that 3D took its first steps away from infancy. Sony, Gillette and Disney-Pixar said they would unveil 3D TV spots on ESPN 3D on June 11, which is launching to coincide with the sports network's coverage of the FIFA World Cup. ESPN also said it would will break its first 3D commercial, which will be part of its "This is SportsCenter" campaign.
The Disney-Pixar will be for the June 18 release of Toy Story 3, which will hit screens in both 3D and 2D. ESPN is a division of The Disney Co. Financial details regarding the cost to produce and air the spots was not disclosed.
ESPN said that in order to provide the best consumer experience, ESPN 3D will "only be accepting commercials originally created in 3D." Sony’s spot will support its new 3D HDTVs, via lead agency 180 Los Angeles; Gillette's 3D spot is part of the company's launch campaign for the new Fusion ProGlide Razor. Gillette's lead agency is BBDO, New York.
“The 3D advertising opportunity and marketplace is at the beginning so we are very excited to have three marquee advertisers on board,” Ed Erhardt, president for ESPN Customer Marketing and Sales, said in a statement. “We have interest from several of our clients to include ESPN 3D in their packages and we will do everything we can to accommodate them.”
SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier are featured in the new This is SportsCenter spot. Aptly called "Break It, You Buy It," the pair are in ESPN's Los Angeles studios when Verrett shows Ethier Sony's new 3D camera. "We're messing around with it in case the show goes 3D," explains Verrett. Ethier then looks through the camera as Verrett swings a bat to show the 3D affect. "It's pretty cool," says Verrett. "This thing costs more than the space shuttle." Let me see you really swing at that," encourages Ethier. Verrett does, smashing the lens in the process. "Are we going to bein trouble for this?" asks Ethier as they look as the damage. "Yes," replies Verrett."
Lead agency is Wieden + Kennedy. Sony was named the first official sponsor of ESPN 3D earlier this year.
Although these are not the first TV spots created in 3D, they are the first produced specifically to air on a 3D network. A growing number of Hollywood movies are hitting theaters with 3D capability, including Shrek Forever After, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and How to Train Your Dragon, and have been running 3D spots in theaters. This year, Visa filmed some of its "Go World" spots supporting the Winter Olympics in 3D, which it ran at events in New York, San Francisco and Olympic host city Vancouver.
During Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, DreamWorks joined with PepsiCo's SoBe to run a 90-second 3D spot for the movie studio's then upcoming animated release, Monsters vs. Aliens. The next night, NBC, which aired the Super Bowl, ran an episode of Chuck in 3D.
"3D is gaining momentum in the advertising and marketing space," said David Lane, vp-Digital Media CBS Outdoor, which established Visa's presentation at New York's Grand Central Terminal in conjunction with the 2010 Winter Olympics, including 3D posters and screens airing Visa's 3d commercial.
Among the events schedule to air on ESPN 3D this year and into early 2011 are 25 matches during the 2010 World Cup, the Summer X Games 16 (July 28-Aug. 1), college football’s ACC Championship (Dec. 4), college basketball's Jimmy V Classic (Dec. 7), the 2011 BCS National Championship game (Jan. 10, 2011), the Winter X Games (Jan. 27-30, 2011) and college basketball’s Big East Tournament (March 8-12, 2011).
Sony has also signed a deal with Discovery Communications and IMAX to launch a 3D TV network by 2012.
All of the major electronic companies have begun to sell and advertise TVs capable of receiving 3D signals. Growth is also dependent on companies such as Comcast signing on to broadcast 3D signals to their customers, as it did with ESPN. Consumers without such TVs who wish to view 3D events would need to purchase adapters. All consumers would need to wear 3D glasses.
DisplaySearch, a division of marketing and research firm NPD Group, Port Washington, NY, anticipates 1.2 million 3D-capable TVs will ship in 2010, with that number growing to 9 million in 2012 and 15.6 million in 2013. Growth is also dependent on companies such as Comcast signing on to broadcast 3D signals to their customers. Consumers without such TVs who wish to view 3D events would need to purchase adapters. All consumers would need to wear 3D glasses.
"ESPN’s commitment to 3D is a win for fans and our business partners,” George Bodenheimer, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president, ESPN and ABC Sports, said in a statement when the channel was announced. “ESPN 3D marries great content with new technology to enhance the fan’s viewing experience and puts ESPN at the forefront of the next big advance for TV viewing.”