As a marketer, have you ever thought that your kismet is lying on the super imposed lines of any Sunday afternoon NFL football game? Probably not (especially if you’re not a sports fan). Well, these first-down lines, not only, provide a more accurate spatial orientation of games for home viewers but they are also the foundation of Augmented Reality (AR). To elaborate, AR directly takes physical real world images, modifies them using computer generated software and creates a whole new world. AR adds elements to the participant’s ordinary life to enhance their experience through means of enjoyment, intrigue and, recently, convenience.
For years, marketing and advertising agencies have strained themselves trying to isolate the most effective, meaningful and lasting image to sell their product. Now, brands are able to visually and audibly foster experiences to which their consumers can be a part of. As AR is within its infancy stage, there are no limitations to form of communication it embodies. Whether it’s an experience like walking around the top of Toronto’s CN tower or a product like a Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma! giftcard. Through its dynamism, AR has already showcased services, goods and entertainment, which have shifted reality from relatively normal to bigger, cooler and more fake.
By employing GPS software in mobile devices, companies are able to target exact locations to specify their message to that geographic region.
eBay partnered with AR platform Junaio to launch an app that displays all nearby classified ads. The app allows you to filter the listings with keywords to avoid clutter in busy areas. The ads appear on your screen as you change your phones direction and take it one step further to dial the number posted to set up an appointment. Something as daunting as apartment hunting is made simple by this app, all you do is hold your phone to the building of your dreams and then sign a lease!
Wikitude World Browser
This app scans your surroundings using the camera and GPS sensors in your mobile device to provide all points of interest nearby and tags them on your screen for easy navigation. The app goes one step further to provide you with the Wikipedia information you need to know about those locations. Therefore with World Browser, you have the capacity to know anything about everything anywhere in the world.
Product advertisements are becoming invisible to consumers as they are blocked by clutter. By experimenting with AR, brands are able to bring their product to the consumer and allow them to sample the product in their own space.
Ray-Ban collaborated with FittingBox to develop the technology behind the virtual mirror. They use landmarks like nose, ears and eyes to place the products in real time. This takes online shopping to a new level allowing customers to virtually try the product on before deciding to purchase it. Another great opportunity to determine if the black Wayfarers are too Risky Business with your hair cut.
Hallmark Gift Cards
Nothing says ‘cheesy’ like a Hallmark gift card. But Hallmark is making the recipients of their gift cards say ‘cheese’ by bringing their cards to life through AR. After the purchase of a gift card, the recipient can log on to the website display the card on webcam and become part of the animated party. This adds an interactive element to gift cards that has never been seen before. Hallmark identified that most people enjoy a party, especially those receiving condolences cards, so they are hosting one and invited everyone to it through AR.
Companies have been using forms of AR for years now to make games and simulations feel more realistic. Previously, they have brought the users into their games, but now they are incorporating games into real life.
The MotionBeam project is developing new character interaction through projection controlled by gesturing of hand held devices. The projections can be applied by linking them to physical attributes in the environment that become part of the game. Although this project is still in the works, Disney has identified that they would like to incorporate this projector into cell phones to turn the real world into a playground. As if life isn’t already crazy enough without Captain Hook.
Augmented Reality is field that should be considered by marketers globally as consumers are actively seeking brands and, in some cases, trying them on. As for being location based, AR will add a digital overlay to real world experiences and give a different perspective on life as the consumer relocates. It may add background information about places like Times Square or Union Station, or give customer reviews on products during shopping trips through WalMart or even act as a distraction from a boring keynote speaker. Whatever its uses will be, AR has the ability to change the world as we see it. Or, in the least, will add computer-generated pieces to it.