In the last several weeks, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about augmented reality. It’s as if it just popped out of nowhere all of a sudden and is now seemingly attacking with force. Every marketer is now keen on knowing more and getting involved. In China, there are increasingly more and more agencies exploring augmented reality innovation.
Augmented reality, simply put, is a mixed reality of real life + virtual computer generated imagery. It has been used in other fields, such as military or architecture, but is now breaking ground in the advertising industry. Marketers desperate to discover the next new way to connect with consumers are clamoring to get a piece of the action and see how it can be applied to their brands successfully.
It’s too early to tell whether augmented reality has staying power and will deliver ROI (how would it be measured though?) or if it’s merely a passing fad. I don’t think there’s any way this is just a passing fad. The implications and consumer involvement are far too interesting for it to simply come and go. Plus the number of computers and smartphones globally are climbing with rapid speed.
Here are some cool examples of recent augmented reality examples by some of my favourite brands:
1. Coke Zero + Avatar
Firstly, I have to confess to being the biggest Coke Zero fan. I was a Diet Coke drinker before Coke Zero came out and as soon as it did, I fell in love. I tried it as soon as it came out and told everyone I knew about it’s brilliance (Diet Coke that tastes like real Coke… what’s not to like?!). Anyway, I digress. We’re talking about augmented reality, not my silly obsession with Coke Zero.
Coke has partnered with Avatar for a cool cross promotion that is taking place globally. I recently noticed the ‘AVTR’ cans here in Hong Kong.
Coke Zero cans will be printed with the special AVTR logo and once you hold this in front of your computer’s webcam, you will see an interactive image appear on your computer screen and be able to “take a ride” on the Samson Helicopter from the Avatar movie. Coke is hoping this will create great buzz (it already has been!) and resonate with youth. Check out their TVC here for an example of how it works:
2. McDonald’s and Avatar
McDonald’s will be doing something similar, starting on Avatar’s opening weekend this December. It appears that they are offering Avatar cards that achieve a similar effect as the Coke Zero campaign. This time, with a robot. See this clip to understand how it works (whooa!):
3. Always Infinity “Magic Show” campaign
This campaign came out earlier this year and supported by print and also via a page on their website.
Once again, consumers hold a sheet up to their webcam, but on-screen a magic show appears on the paper. This is how it works (click here to see it in action on the Always Infinity site):
Still much more to see
There is still so much more in the wonderful world of augmented reality. These are just examples of computer screen based campaigns and capabilities. There’s the whole area of smartphone augmented reality that I haven’t touched upon yet. Will discuss that in my next post, cuz there’s just so much to talk about with that (hellooo iPhone applications!)
But seriously – this stuff is exciting right? It will change the way marketers think and interact with consumers for good!