Does a Hologram Give an Encore? Authenticity in Mixed Reality: An Abstract
While the promise of holograms to create a replicable consumer experience excites some consumers, others express skepticism about the potential enjoyment of watching dead celebrities, fictional characters, and so forth, in a materially “real” environment (Giesler, 2004). Virtual and augmented realities have acted as consumer gateways to consumer-hologram interactions (Jin, 2009; Suh & Lee, 2005; Yaoyuneyong et al., 2015); however, little is known about the state of these interactions. Although Milgram (1992) proposed a Reality-Virtuality continuum spanning from Real Environments to Augmented Reality to Augmented Virtuality to Virtual Environments, marketing scholarship has only recently approached application of these new technologies (Javornik, 2016; Scholz & Smith, 2016).
This current research delves into the underlying factors behind holographic consumption. In particular, we explore four broad questions regarding consumer-hologram interactions and create an initial model of experiential consumption in the mixed reality context. (1) What draws consumers to watch holograms? (2) What aspects or rituals of holographic performances add to (detract from) the consumer-hologram interaction? (3) How does the concept of materiality in consumer-hologram interaction differ from consumer-human interactions? (4) How do the semiotics in hologram experiences contribute to consumer-hologram interactions?
To answer these questions and start developing an emergent ethnographic model (Kozinets, 2002), we used a combination of both participant-observer and interview data. We found that pre-experiential information about holograms pre-acclimates participants to the holographic consumption experience. The holographic consumption experience consists of both reproduction fidelity (the audiovisual depiction) and engagement fidelity (the use of narrative transportation to engage flow). Holographic consumption experiences rich in authenticity lead to consumer value and satisfaction. The research suggests that consumer-hologram experiences can be leveraged not only in experiential consumption and service contexts but also as valuable consumer education, employee training, virtual retailing, and branding touchpoints.