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Smart Materials = Smart Marketing

Smart materials are still in their infancy, but the promise they are showing even in these early stages is very exciting. We’ve looked at what’s on offer and speculated on a few ‘smart marketing’ possibilities.


The crux of marketing is to give your brand a competitive advantage. To disrupt the status quo and stand out from the rest. And nothing cuts through the competition like bleeding-edge technology.

Enter stage left: smart materials. You may have heard of them, they come in all shapes and sizes. They are materials that can change colour when exposed to light, change shape in response to magnets, become bigger or smaller in different environments or produce an electrical charge when touched. They have more than one purpose, what’s known as “increasing levels of functionality”.

They can do all of these things because they have the sense to respond and adapt to their environment, to change their molecular structure and evolve into something else. This is the future of marketing and will no doubt be the future of all things.

Why? Because the opportunities and possibilities that smart materials enable are almost infinite.

Imagine FMCG packaging that changed when it was picked up? Or when it was reaching its sell by date? Imagine two different items of food that go well together, and when brought closer together their packages change to the same colour, or were attracted to each other? E.g. like a pack of sausage being physically drawn to a pack of potatoes (bangers and mash!).

I’m just spitballing here, but however it is implemented, it will bring a whole new dimension to partnership marketing.

Imagine OOH channels like billboards and posters, only being seen from a certain angle or spot in the street. The exclusivity of such an event would generate a buzz that no standard billboard could create.

We’ve seen elements of this smart billboard activity with BA’s #lookup billboard campaign. Pepsi have also made noticeable ground in this area with their 'unbelievable bus shelter', which boasts over 6 million views on Youtube.

The interactive capabilities of smart materials will change the marketing game forever. We’re seeing big brands with big budgets taking the first steps. And I for one am very much looking forward to seeing more and more of these innovative campaigns and hopefully, in the not too distant future, being able to plan some for our clients.

For a marketing campaign that will stand out, contact our creative director Terry on terry@westhill.co.uk or call 020 7631 0274.


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