Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Help Me Wolf Blitzer, You're Holograms are Dope!

Oh CNN, where do you get those wonderful toys?

So I'm putting this entry into the non-traditional marketing bucket as well as brand building. However, a bit of me is just writing this because of the child like glee I experienced watching the elections on CNN not only to see who would win Pennsylvania, but when the newest real time visual tech trick would occur (aka Star Wars moments).

If you thought that 2008 election's one trick pony in this category would be the multitouch technology, where we saw political specialists playing on their big monitors like some new Wii game craze. You and I would have been extremely wrong.

Seems like CNN had a couple of more tricks up their sleeve last night that they were saving for the historic occasion of the 2008 Presidential election. The two that I'm reffering to is the 3D modeling of the Capitol and the seats in the House and Senate as well as the Hologram Interviews that we saw speratically throughout the night.

Both of these were using the same three-deimensional imaging tech produced by Norway-based Visrt and Israil-based SportVu. They weren't actually holograms at all, but just utilized some very sophisticated as well as expensive hi-def cameras hooked up to a league of computers crunching a ton of real time visual data to give the appearance of a solid object.

You might believe that it's nothing we haven't seen a thousand times on movies since "Jurassic Park". The real jump in technology here is that we were seeing things on live television that usually would be done in post with many days or months of work in the back end.

There's plenty of great geek reading on other posts. I don't think it's my place or this blogs to get into the specifics.

The conversation that I want to have is the one about branding and how CNN's utilization of this tech is their purple cow. It's making them special again, setting themselves apart visually as well as technologically from other news channels.

CNN created the 24 hour cable news product, and that may have been the last time they were remarkable. Since then, others have jumped on board and CNN has sunk farther and deeper into the mediocre.

Hopefully they will be using the 2008 election as a jumping board or basis of a new look and feel for their brand. The news business is a brutally fast and competitive market. Other stations are already nipping at their heels, but I believe they still have this in their corner. CNN needs to claim this as their own and continue jumping to the next level quicker than their competitors can rinse and repeat.

Whatever happens, I know that I'll have a fun time watching it unfold.

So what are your thoughts? Do you see it as a fun new way to experience news or did you find it pointless?

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