By Crystal Tatis

3D printers may have been considered a novelty a couple of years ago, but the technology has become increasingly prominent not just in manufacturing, but also as a capable marketing tool. Companies are incorporating 3D printing into their branding efforts in various ways, from fun gimmicks to useful and viable innovations. For example, Coca Cola in Israel used 3D printing in a contest that created for the consumer a “Mini-Me” model as a fun gimmick to raise awareness in the country.

3D printing offers a wide range of applications in industries as diverse as consumer products, industrial products, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, education and culinary. The 3D printing market has been analyzed by many companies across different geographic regions including North America, Europe and Asia. The most popular elements that get companies interested in entering the 3D printing market are reduction of errors, high degree of accuracy, efficient use of raw materials, ability to build customized products, efficient use of production time and financials, and competency over traditional techniques. Globally recognized brands like Lowes, Disney and Subaru have attempted to get a competitive edge on their rivals by implementing innovative processes and products.

COKE MADE A MINI ME 

To promote and celebrate the launch of Coca Cola’s new Mini Bottles in Israel, the company teamed up with the innovation agency Gefen Team and set up a pop-up 3D printing lab in Coca Cola’s main factory in Israel. Coke lovers were required to download a special mobile application, log in and create a small, digital version of the participants. Afterwards, each one of the participants had to take care of their “mini me” in an online game by keeping their virtual person happy and healthy by picking out clothes and shopping for food (think Sims meets Tamagotchi). Lastly, a few winners were chosen for a trip to the Coca-Cola factory, where they could create 3D print-outs of their digital selves. They would step inside a special lab to create their figurines made of colored sandstones. A 3D scanner photographed each person in minutes before transforming the images into a 3D model. Take a look:

WHY IS THIS A GOOD IDEA MARKETING WISE?

In this world where everything could be recreated in bulk and sold to the mass market, customization is magical and appreciated. Coca Cola did this first by putting your name on Coke bottles and then Coke turned Israel’s most visible billboards into interactive signs that greeted you by name. Now, Coca-Cola is taking customization in its brand to a new level.

This could be considered a good example of how new technology can help a giant company, like Coca Cola, create a positive buzz around their brand in a very cost-effective way. The company didn’t have to reinvent their whole marketing strategy to provide this experience. Coke combined an mobile app, 3D scanning, 3D printing and some sweet secret formula soda and joined forces to raise awareness in the Middle East. Consumers, even those that haven’t heard of you, want to experience something that will make them recall your brand in the future and that is done by sharing a unique experience with them that is not pushing sales in front of them.

WHAT’S NEXT?

In my future blog posts, I will navigate through how different companies, mainly globally known brands, have implemented 3D printing into their marketing strategy.

Photo taken from designtaxi.com

To look at more projects from Gefen Team, click here

To look for more innovation inside Coca Cola, click here

To look at my other blog posts, click here