Sunday, November 6, 2011

Augmented Reality - a New Opportunity for Marketers

As a marketer, augmented reality[link]  – AR, is a trend we need to follow. While it is still an emerging technology, many major companies or retailers are executing successful AR campaigns that deliver catchy 3-Dimension graphics and even ROI by connecting to people's social networks and providing clear incentives to purchase.

In simple terms, AR is a visual layer of information that has the ability to give individual objects in the real world metadata or tagged properties. This means that anything from a table to a baseball card can have images, information, or even interaction built into it by simply viewing it through a camera, smartphone, or some other type of device. As this technology is gaining momentum on the digital marketing world, we can have a glance from the 3 successful examples below to see how it is used in the consumer sector for marketing, social engagement, amusement or location based information:

1. Dentsu Inc. iButterfly Campaign
photo source via    

iButterfly[link] is a mobile couponing platform created by Dentsu Inc.[link], Japan's largest advertising agency, providing customers “butterfly” shaped augmented reality coupon given their GPS information. On the mobile application, user can look through the mobile app to the town and find butterfly. These images are layered on top of the physical environment so the butterflies look like they are flying around the user. By shaking phone like using butterfly net, user catches the virtual butterfly carries coupons and contents related to the location. The mobile app also provides customer with the experience of collecting butterfly of different patterns and to exchange with friends. (watch iButterfly video below)

2. Burger King’s $1 Menu Ad Campaign
photo source via    

Crispin Porter + Bogusky[link] adgency created an online augmented reality banner in 2009 promoting Burger King’s $1 value menu. The application brings the novelty of the experience, especially since this was one of the first augmented reality ads to hit the web. In the campaign, viewers can easily hold up a $1 note to their web cam and then a range of sandwiches appears to replace the note. In addition, users can superimpose the Burger King character's face on to theirs.[Try here yourself]

3. Lego Digital Box Kiosk
photo source by Antje Verena    

Lego also brings augmented reality into stores by teaming up with 3D animation company Metaio[link], which devise the system Lego Digital Box. The Lego Digital Box[link] is an augmented reality kiosk that can show customers what the Lego set will look like when it’s fully built. When bringing the unbuilt Lego set in front of the Digital Box, it shows customers holding a 3D model of the finished set. The difference with the picture on the Lego set is that customers can also look at every angle and detail of the assembled bricks without taking them out of the box.

Augmented reality should not be considered a just gimmick but the future. It has the ability to play with the technology helps consumers foster a deeper emotional connection to a product or brand, or even to create moments with consumers and brand.

Alice Ya-Ching Lee (@aliceyclee), Graduate Northwestern IMC


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  3. Even when Legos are fantastic and in most of their fields a named success, Lego Fusion seems like a rock they need to stumble so they can achieve something better; when building Legos the creativity is what comes to you and hence you create something new and better, but by merging it with a digital environment, there is no room for creativity, it feels like the Kinect version of Star Wars, something with great potential but not practical. You can red more about LEGO history here - .