Saturday, 12 February 2011

♔ The Evolution of Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound or graphics. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified to enhance one’s current perception of reality.  For any of you (luddites) who still haven't seen some of the things brands can do using AR, we've compiled a few examples below.  

The first example isn't really AR at all. It is however the first example of mixed/ augmented reality in the midst of an otherwise formally conventional feature film, but also in relation to the recent proliferation of text treatments in motion graphics work.  The overlaying of text on screen in this scene from David Fincher's Fight Club bears an uncanny relationship to recent experiments with information graphics in augmented reality research. It also offers a clever and self-reflexive meta-commentary on the conventions of product-placement that is increasingly common in contemporary feature films.  (See below)

[ Fight Club Ikea Catalogue Scene ]

Transformers - We Are Autobots AR
Augmented Reality (AR) Promotional used to build excitement around the launch of the latest Transformers movie. It was the first good example I’ve seen where facial tracking technology is mixed with Augmented Reality to enhance the experience.

Mattel: Avatar Toys
Toy maker Mattel’s solid AR example that got some serious hype with the launch of Avatar.  It can be used with Mattel products or as a product itself, and as the technology becomes more advanced, we’ll be able to have toys like this interact in a very “game like” way - making them even more appealing.

Adidas Originals Shoe AR
This Augmented Reality Shoe App provides one of the most detailed AR models while combining a lot of functionality and interactivity into the app. However, the downside is it’s so detailed that it seems to be a little slow (just sayin’) in the gaming area.

Stella Artois Le Bar Guide
Stella’s Augmented Reality App blends real world places with directions, promotions, and other useful features. 

GE’s Smart Grid AR
As featured on the front cover of Popular Science magazine in early 2009, this robust app is responsible for sparking the big push from brands and agencies into Augmented Reality last year.

Rayban Virtual Mirror
Try on the entire range of Rayban sunglasses from your very own computer. Like the Transformers AR app, it works with some facial recognition.  The app maps key points of your face then utilizes these as the directional markers to track and size the sunglasses perfectly on your face.  Perfect to enhance sales and introduce new product lines.  It’s even tied into an e-Commerce application.  Smart.

This Augmented Reality Example was one of the first to allow you to take an AR model in your hands, place it on your desktop and then control the car from the keyboard and webcam while you drive it around your desk!  The AR app also allowed you to save out the graphic you created and share with your friends on Facebook & Twitter.  It’s really the BMW of AR apps. Go figure.

Although the correct description "mobile markerless tracking algorithm optimized for dual-core chips" sounds very complex, the demo shows how easy life can be with AR.

The Future - AR 2.0
Currently in the prototype stages, this technology demo by researchers at the University of  Tokyo are using ultrasound technology to give holograms a solid feel. Sensors detect when you’re touching the hologram making the whole experience truly interactive. 

2011 Mobile World Congress MWC Teaser 
Here is a taste of what we’ll be seeing at this 2011 Mobile World Congress (MWC). This video demos the world`s first integrated markerless 3D object tracking on a smartphone. Or, to you and me, it shows us where Augmented Reality is heading: robust, smooth and useful everyday experiences. 

Iron Man 2 Augmented Experience 
Much like the Trasformers example, users can use their webcams to get suited up with either an Iron Man or War Machine helmet, as well as take a look at what the HUD (heads up display) would look like through Iron Man or War Machine’s perspectives.

Microsoft Live Labs
Blaise Aguera y Arcas TED Talk on Augmented Reality (AR) Maps.

Have examples of great AR you'd like to showcase?  When we say great, we mean at the level of say a North Kingdom or Total Immersion.  Still not sure?  Take a moment and check out Total Immersions Reel on their website.  Send examples to

Thursday, 10 February 2011


Virgin Mobile is attempting to gain over one million Facebook likes with a contest to become an official VIP tour blogger for Lady Gaga's next tour - Portfolio 

The Old Spice Case Study (by Wieden+Kennedy) talks us through the insight around targeting men & women at the same time to generate buzz around body wash - More

Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Kraft Foods' Oreo brand have all shown steady growth on their Facebook pages due to engagement, interest, and constant connection with their fans. - eMarketer 

Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) 2011 Digital Marketing Outlook - Report 

The VW GTI Project (by Tribal DDB London) fun, viral advergame promotes the new Volkswagen Models - Website

Remember the Harlequin Romance? The brands new site ( breathes new life into the brand by letting you patent your kiss. Also integrated with FB - 

Mobile brands Samsung and HTC are looking to broaden their social media efforts by going global and experimenting with new platforms for social media campaigns. - BrandRepublic 

Coors Light’s (by Razorfish) used SnapTag technology (by SpyderLynk) to allow consumers to interact with branded tags using their mobile - More

Chili's promoted a coupon for a free brownie sundae on their Twitter and Facebook pages that did not require customers to like their fan page. - ClickZ 

Mutual-fund companies Putnam Investments, MFS, and Vanguard are using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to build brand loyalty, educate investors, and help with customer service. - The Wall Street Journal 

The BMW ActiveE campaign (by Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners) drives an ethical movement to reorder our priorities - Website

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut cereal debuted in the U.S. with the world's biggest cuckoo clock comedy event. Fans were encouraged to follow the action, interact with the performers, and watch streaming videos of the event on Kellogg's Facebook page. - Drinks Media Wire 

By combining Microsoft's Surface with this new Apple iOS app, Razorfish's latest innovation that change the way you share and interact with digital content - 

NPR's Facebook page's success is driven by the 1.4 million fans who comment and share stories regularly. - Nieman Journalism Lab 

We had to add this - A QB telepresence robot that allows you to roam the halls of your empire and bark orders - no matter where you are!? Awesome. The self-balancing robot is controlled from a web interface and runs about $15,000. -

Since it linked Windows Live Messenger with Facebook, Microsoft has been responsible for powering more than 2.8 billion minutes of Facebook chat. The software has also led to doubling figures in connections with LinkedIn, YouTube, and MySpace. - Softpedia 

The Power Of Social Authenticity - Volkswagen’s latest clever campaign “The People’s Reviewer” (by Tribal DDB London) crowdsourced reviews using YouTube, Blogs, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter - 

Online condom store 'Condomerie' leverages Chat Roulette's large number of exhibitionists - More 

Pfizer is communicating via social media with a well-developed and implemented social media policy. - Vimeo 

TAT - The Astonishing Tribe explore the future of captive touch screen technology - and what our lives may look like in 2014 - More

Esquire Magazine and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with augmented reality platform GoldRun to launch a campaign that allows fans to take a seemingly real picture with Brooklyn Decker on their smartphones. Images from the app are shareable on the brands' Facebook pages and Brooklyn's Twitter account. - Promo Magazine 

Honda's innovative interactive TV Ad (by Wieden+Kennedy UK) uses “screen hopping” whereby the TV's sound is recognized (and synced with the mobile App) essentially giving you the ability to interact with the TV ad in real time - 

For ten days Lingerie retailer Aubade Paris got a female model to strut, strip and tease - all in full view of a window in central Paris that was only concealed by a gauzy screen. Crowds gathered in the street below staring at the sexy silhouette. Once the 10 days were up, the model removed the screen (revealing her Aubade Lingerie) and replaced it with a banner showing the URL of the brands site - 

One cannot underestimate the power of the “wow” factor – that elusive element that disrupts, amazes and creates real buzz. Hand it to Hyper Island students tasked with connecting a streetwear brand to music/art (hosted by rockstars @NorthKingdom) and B-Reel - 

The New York Times iPad App (HTML5 Game banner) adds a new dimension to a tired format by embedded ciphers - 

The gameification of advertising, automated geo-location, social curation, and more - Social Media Marketing Trends Redux (Y&R-2011) - 

Check out the latest addition to NIKE’s Kobe's Black Mamba site (by EVB). Clever use of FB Connect - 

Branded Entertainment - M&M’s (Denmark) creative browser enhancement lets you trash ANY website using M&M’s. ;) 

Have Case Studies to share?  Please send them to 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

♔ The Power Of Social Authenticity

Unless being demonstrated in activities like professional sports (where you actually can see the product in action), celebrity product endorsement has become pretty irrelevant today.  Add to it you can get Snoop Dog, Mark Cuban or any number of Kardashian’s to tweet about your brand ( for as little as $5,000 – and it becomes pretty clear – authenticity is king today.  Savvy advertisers are recognizing the power of social authenticity.

This transition has taken place over the years because consumers enjoy watching and empathizing with people just like themselves.  Why? Simply because its easier to connect and identify with them.  Average (real) looking people seem more inviting and suggest an authentic back-story.  Fueled by our desire for authenticity, life itself has effectively become the ultimate reality show – and social media our broadcast channel. Brands today are making their customers the hero and primary focus.

A phenomenal example of this is Volkswagen’s latest campaign (by Tribal DDB London) “The People’s Reviewer”.  Volkswagen crowd sourced reviewers for their new Tiguan, across a range of social mediums including YouTube, Blogs, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.  The campaign started with thousands of YouTube auditions to find interesting people who’d potentially make a good reviewer. Then, they were split them up into heats and taught how to use Twitter, Facebook and Flickr to build buzz around their review of the Tiguan (to win votes) while they were driving it for the week.  The incentive? The winning reviewer drives away in the Tiguan they reviewed.

This is a great example of an integrated (through the line) campaign that leverages social media to create good buzz, while also employing a participatory vehicle that forces users to utilize and demonstrate knowledge of the product’s features and benefits to generate content.  Moreover, to vote for the winner, users had to review others reviews – thus viewing the same content over and over again.  This has to influence sales. Check out the website here or the YouTube auditions.

The results? After over 1000 applications, 3 entertaining heats and 1 challenging final, users decided who should be crowned ‘The People's Reviewer’.   From the finalists users chose their favorite reviewer – 33-year-old Harriet Gore.  Watch her winning video below.