Advertising in the Age of Google Glass

Google Glass is still a largely inaccessible technology, with a small release limited to a select group of “explorers”, and a $1,500 price tag. However, the devices will allegedly be available to the public sometime later this year. Early analysis suggests that it will become a mainstream product, with an $11 billion market by 2018. All of history tells us that brands will find a way to get in on the action.

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While Google execs insist they they’re focused on perfecting the hardware rather than advertising opportunities for brands, it’s undeniable that this kind wearable tech has a place in the marketing mix of the future. Some pioneering brands and agencies are already on board, taking advantage of the small user pool to experiment with what may be the future of advertising campaigns.

Fashion house Kenneth Cole is one such early adopter. They are now the first advertiser to incorporate a Google Glass app into a marketing campaign, for the release of their new men’s fragrance “Mankind”. The app supports a contest: users are supplied with a daily “good deed” and are asked to record the completion of the good deed with their Glass. When they submit their completed deeds, they are entered into a drawing to win a “Mankind Toolkit” worth over $1,000.

This app is a good example of how marketers will need to rethink advertising in the world of wearable tech. The use of a product like Google Glass is very intimate and personal, even more so than a smartphone, and users will become highly irritated with content that even slightly resembles spam. In fact, because the screen is constantly in the user’s immediate line of sight, Google will not allow advertisers to employ tactics like pop-ups that could surprise viewers; they will have to explicitly opt-in to receive your content.

Advertising has already been moving in this direction, but as smart glasses like Google Glass become more mainstream in the future, viewers and advertisers will develop a much less passive and much more mutual relationship. Providing content that enriches the life of your target audience, beyond providing them with a coupon for instance, will become critical if you intend to reach anyone at all