The New York-based advertising agency Ogilvy has started a brand avatar service called Reality, a digital experience studio for researching and formulating new NFT, VR and AR applications.
Dickon Laws, Ogilvy’s global head of innovation, will lead the studio and guide the network's clients through Reality. He estimates the wider market related to Reality’s particular purpose and the studio’s tech expertise to be worth $1.5 trillion by the end of the decade.
“Although most brands have experimented with emerging tech, there is still a lot of IDK and WTF attached to AR, VR, AI, ML, NPC, NFT and web3,” said Laws. “When you think that the metaverse and its associated technologies are projected to be worth almost $1.5trn by 2029, that’s either a lot of growth to miss out on or a lot of mis-invested budget for brand leaders to be accountable for through poor understanding and unfamiliarity.”
The studio will prioritize three principal areas of the emerging technologies concept. The first focus area is AR, including “synthetic experiences” such as virtual humans and brand avatars, followed by “decentralized experiences” the likes of NFT design and lastly, the studio will focus on the vaguer web3 applications.
Ogilvy is only the second network agency to invest in virtual brand avatar design following Dentsu and the virtual identity service it launched for brands. The goal is for brand leaders to invest safely and intelligently in emerging technologies.
“Reality has been designed to de-risk that investment and unlock the value for brands by translating what these emerging and maturing technologies can mean for customers. Although we are emerging technologists, really we want to get technology out of the way and focus on needs-based adoption.”
Ogilvy has already assisted some of its clients through the work of its unofficial “innovation teams.” Some of the more renowned clients of Ogilvy’s emerging tech team include Gucci, VW, PizzaHut, Cadbury’s, Estée Lauder, Greenpeace and Lamborghini.
“Emerging tech is not new, but businesses do not explore its potential. Reality will unlock exponential value that clients can’t access elsewhere,” Laws added. “The industry is drowning in acronyms and umbrella terms that are confusing and misleading. Bringing the focus away from whatever the tech flavor of the month allows brands to focus on what is going to drive real business growth, something that is needed more than ever in periods of slow economic growth.”
Ogilvy's Reality Studio is a testament to the growing potential of AR and VR companies in shaping future marketing strategies and consumer experiences.