Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Increasing Value of Augmented Reality (AR)

In our modern marketing paradigm, it’s a given that a message must ‘disrupt’ and break through the noise.  Adding technological innovation is one way to do just this.  Enter Augmented Reality.  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.  A number of brands have successfully used AR technology for utility-based and innovative applications that amplify their customer’s experience.   Here are some of the best examples from 2010.  

Adidas turned Originals sneakers into a game control device by adding an AR code on the shoe’s tongue. When held in front of a webcam, the code provides access to a number of different interactive games on Adidas website which the players can navigate with their shoe.

Ben & Jerry’s iPhone app with the Moo Vision augmented reality feature generates images related to the flavor you’re scanning which you can click on to find out more info and share with your friends on social networks.

Toyota topped off its digital campaign for the 2011 Scion tC with an AR game on scion’s site. The user prints an AR marker that is used as a steering wheel to race with the new tC, (and potentially win a spot in the global top 100 high scoreboard.)

In November, Airwalk used an augmented reality app from GoldRun to launch invisible pop-up stores, which sold a limited edition of the Jim shoe in New York and LA. To access the invisible store, customers had to use the app to locate virtual Jim shoes at dedicated locations and take a photo of the shoe to gain a pass code to the Airwark e-commerce site. Airwalk reported that since then its e-commerce site has witnessed the most traffic in the company’s history.

Volvo and EuroRSCG 4D teamed up for the promotion of the Volvo S60 by organizing five secret parties in Berlin, London, Paris, Milan and Madrid. In order to get an invite one had to find one of the code cubes, hidden in “naughty” locations around the city. The project was in collaboration with hand picked lifestyle bloggers and blog readers were given clues to discover the hidden cubes by using the Layar Augmented Reality browser.

Toyota enabled car enthusiasts to create a virtual track, by printing off special markers to place around, and take a virtual Toyota Auris for a virtual test track. They also could record their test drives and share the clips on social networking sites, as well as the Auris micro site. Toyota offered a prize for the most innovative track with the winner receiving a super-deluxe home entertainment system to encourage a larger participation.

By printing off a special symbol BMW fans could drive their own BMW Z4 around their desk and colourful designs with its tires. The videos and images taken could then be shared on social networks.

Yet another virtual test drive, this time transforming the user into a rally driver, making it more like a race car game, rather than a regular test drive ride. The user can then share his lap time with friends on Facebook.

Nestlé Kit Kat Augmented Reality Gig
Agency Skive Digital of London created an Augmented Reality campaign for Kit Kat UK. Holding one of the special AR Kit Kat “4-Finger” bar packages in front of a webcam unlocked a one-off Scouting for Girls performance. The special packs also offered consumers the chance to win one of thousands of £100 Ticketmaster vouchers through Kit Kat Music Break.

Virtual mirrors: Created by IBM and EZFace.
The special kiosks were placed in stores in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, covering major cosmetics brands like L’Oreal, Maybelline, Covergirl and Revlon. The shopper can take a picture and virtually try on makeup, while the “mirror” takes into consideration such things as skin tone, facial features, and product colour. The mirror can make recommendations and allow the consumer to share a virtual makeover image with friends online.

Unilever created an interactive ice cream machine that asks consumers to share a smile on Facebook to get a free ice cream.

Neuvo, a collaborative company from Montreal has created a free “try it before you buy it” iPhone app, which connects to Neuvo’s website and on-line store.

Olympus created a viral product demo with which you can virtually explore the camera’s features and also allows you to take pictures and using the camera’s various filters. Afterwards you can share your pics and videos with friends online.

H&M used Goldrun’s app to enable shoppers in New York to try on virtually the clothes it features in its shop windows. The shoppers this way gained a discount code and share their looks with their Facebook friends.

As part of their back to school campaign, Seventeen and J.C. Penny launched a virtual dressing room through which teens could “try on” clothing using a webcam, and shop their items of preference through the J.C. Penney website.

Through its website Tissot lets users print and cut out a paper strip in order to try on virtual watches. Tissot showcased the application with an interactive Selfridges window display. This reportedly resulted in increasing in-store sales at Selfridges by 85%, while the YouTube views of the campaign have surpassed 70,000.

Swiss watchmaker Hublot launched an iPhone application that allows consumers to view the Hublot collection, design their own models and digitally trying them on.
Girard-Perregaux: Yet another watchmaker that created an iPhone app that allows users to “try on” watches.

The French jewelry house lets potential customers virtually try on products with use of their webcams by downloading an application from its website developed by Holition.

US real estate agency ZipRealty through its iPhone application HomeScan allows its potential customers to look through their phone and instantly discover which homes near them are for sale (or recently sold). Homescan provides info like the asking (or sold) price, photos and distance from where the user stands.

For the promotion of Iron Man 2 Paramount and Marvel invited Iron Man fans to take a look inside the Iron Man’s head. Through the movie’s website and a webcam, fans can try on Iron Man’s helmet take photos to download or share over Facebook and Twitter.

The Dutch government placed augmented reality billboards in Amsterdam and Rotterdam to raise awareness about violence against public service employees. The billboards augmented a live street view with a violent altercation, making onlookers realize the impact of their inactivity against violence.

In an effort to raise awareness around the plight of the Siberian tiger, WWF printed special t-shirts and distributed them online and to key stores in Moscow, with placed AR video mirrors that would instantly active the AR experience the moment a WWF t-shirt was detected. The idea was to simulate what a Siberian tiger experiences when it gets shot.

Fashion brand Forever21 installed an augmented reality billboard in Times Square this past June, in which a model dressed in Forever21 clothes seemed to interact with the crowd by taking photos of the passers by or selecting people, picking them up and throwing them into a Forever21 bag.

Museum of London’s iPhone app overlays specific locations around London with historical photographs mixing past with present. The app guides the user to these locations with the use of map or GPS.

Condé Nast Traveler spiced up its iPhone apps by adding an augmented reality feature, which allows the traveler to discover nearby attraction simply by scanning the area around with the iPhone camera. created Virtual Vacay that enables users to take a virtual tour of ten US cities and find out information about local events and hotels in a fun way. The virtual tourists can even send personalized post cards from their virtual travels to their friends.

IBM’s Seer application helped its users navigate Wimbledon 2010. The users could find information about the closest cash machine’s location; the wait time for certain services and even sees live video from the matches, through their iPhone or Android camera.

Our favourite 2010 AR campaign?  H&M’s Augmented Reality Campaign (using GoldRun) because it combined several technologies at once; augmented reality, geo-location and mobile apps. The GoldRun app is designed to drive traffic to physical and online destinations, increase product sales and enhance brand engagement within a certain geographic location for a predetermined amount of time, in this case – 10 days in New York City. In 2011, we should see more brands combining AR and QR Codes into their Geo-location Marketing strategy and campaigns. 

More from GoldRun:

·      AIRWALK -
·      NIKE -

The key to developing successful AR campaigns that provide customer engagement as well as translate to sales will be making sure that they support the local communities. Campaigns that combine these technologies in ways that take the online consumer offline and make the transition of that experience seamless will have nailed it. The best way to predict the future is to create it.  Need some help adding branded utility using Augmented Reality (AR) to your brand?  Goodbuzz can help.  Contact to get started.