Could an alliance between 3D printing company Makerbot and one of the most innovative ad agencies in the world finally bring 3D printing mainstream?
Well, they’re certainly going to try.
Makerbot, a subsidiary of 3D printing stock Stratasys (SSYS), has partnered up with Droga5 in an effort to make 3D printing attractive to the average consumer.
It’s not an easy sell. Although Makerbot’s 3D printers are certainly cheaper than the ones aimed at professional industry users, which can go for tens of thousands of dollars, they’re still not the cheapest around. The Makerbot Replicator 2 printer — its lowest-priced product — is $2,199, compared to $1,299 for competitor 3D Systems’ (DDD) entry Cube 3D printer.
Cost isn’t the only barrier. To create new objects (as opposed to downloading blueprints from Thingiverse or 3D-scanning small items), programming knowledge is needed. To overcome those barriers, Droga5 will have to convince consumers that there’s a real use for 3D-printed items in their lives.
However, Droga5 Vice Chairman Andrew Essex says that they’re starting on the right foot with Makerbot. He was quoted by Ad Age saying, “We’re certainly aligned in vision. [Makerbot is] looking at the innovative nature of their products and they want their communications to be as compelling.”
Game-changing ad campaigns are Droga5′s claim to fame. If anyone could make 3D printing more than a novelty, they’re Makerbot’s best bet going out of the gate with their first wide-scale campaign to bring 3D printing to the people.
And there’s the key for investors in SSYS and other 3D printing stocks like DDD and ExOne (XONE): If the campaign results in an increased customer base for SSYS, investors will not only see the benefit in SSYS revenues — but 3D printing will be one step closer to being more than just a fad investment.
As of this writing, Carla Lake did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.