A chain of shopping malls announced it's giving students send family and friends a new way to send back-to-school wish lists. The trick? A personalized wish-delivering virtual version of themselves - an Avatar.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. - A chain of shopping malls announced it's giving students send family and friends a new way to send back-to-school wish lists. The trick? A personalized wish-delivering virtual version of themselves - an Avatar. With the help of digital photo technology, shoppers can transform a regular photo of themselves into a virtual talking cartoon-like representation of a person. The talking characters may be customized down to their clothing, hair color and background. Users can also record a personal voice message, type a message for the computer to speak or select a clever pre-recorded message that tells parents why they need the attached wish list to succeed in school.
The shopping avatar, may be emailed to friends and family as well as posted on a user's MySpace page, blog or website for others to view.
Not only will parents get to view their child's wish list and access weekly sales information organized by shopping categories, they can also learn about back-to-school items and voice their opinions by voting on featured products.
"Students, particularly teens, like to be heard and this talking avatar and trend poll are two ways for them to voice their thoughts," says David Goldberg, Taubman Vice President, Marketing and Sponsorship.
To launch the avatar program, Many of Taubman's shopping centers will host in-mall events that feature Pixman -- salespeople equipped with LED screens suspended over their heads via a backpack-like device. The Pixman will walk among shoppers educating them about the avatar program.
Adi Sideman, CEO of Oddcast, the company that makes the avatar software says "This deployment is a perfect example of digital and nontraditional coming together for an innovative and inspiring campaign that empowers and entertains shoppers. The students are going to think it's cool and the parents will be wowed. It's the perfect viral marketing mix."
The shopping centers to debut the Auto Photo technology are: Fairlane Town Center, Dearborn, Mich.; Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, Va.; Northlake Mall, Charlotte, N.C.; Regency Square, Richmond, Va.; Stamford Town Center, Stamford, Conn.; Sunvalley, Concord, Calif.; Twelve Oaks Mall, Novi, Mich.; The Mall at Wellington Green, Wellington, Fla.; Westfarms, Farmington, Conn.; and The Shops at Willow Bend, Plano, Texas.
The avatars will be available for three months.