07 December 2009 996 Views

Making Augmented Reality a Marketing Success

by Iain Welford

You might not have noticed, but augmented reality is growing at a rapid pace when it comes to the bleeding edge of technology. As such, advertising companies are trying to keep up, trying to be cool hip young kids. But, they need to watch out, because with new technology there are new perils, new failures, new opportunities missed, and bad ideas. We are may be starting to see this already with the bland 3D models seen lately for Transformers, GI Joe, and other blockbusters from this year. It was very cool when done the first time, but let’s face it, no one wants to play with a virtual 3D interactive Edward Cullen! No, wait……

We’ve talked about augmented reality a couple of times because we are ahead of the curve, naturally, but now everyone is talking about it! Next into the discussion is Imedia Connection , who recognize it as the MOST exciting form of media available right now.

There have been several programs and apps that demonstrated great use of this technology, but it seems the program that really brought this to people’s attention was Yelp’s monocle app for the iPhone. The app came out unannounced in August and was designed to help you find restaurants, bars etc. But, it wasn’t until a hidden Easter egg was found that it became one of the most popular apps on the iPhone. It’s easy to see why! It’s a very classy app. Watch the video to see what I mean:

Imedia has taken a closer look at augmented reality and translated it to marketing potential. They concluded that for the technology to succeed, you need to “forget about the tech and focus on the benefits.” In their opinion it has to be kept simple to work, and you know what? They are right. They make the point that it is a lot simpler to pull up this app, select somewhere and follow the directions on screen instead of researching somewhere, and then having to look up the directions.

So how is this going to translate into advertising? Well, we have already witnessed it to some extent with the recent Coke Zero / Avatar tie-in, but it’s quite a boring concept after a while. There is no motivation to try it again once you have seen it for the first time, but what if you took that first vehicle and could then use it on a virtual battlefield? Sounds a bit more interesting, doesn’t it? But, then you start to get over-run and need to build up your army, so you buy another can for a heavy loader, or a big bottle for a bomb attach, etc. By adding this dynamic into the game it makes you want to buy more, because the more you buy, the bigger your advantage. It’s this kind of concept that needs to be applied to augmented reality to make it a success from a marketing viewpoint. Since viral relies on you actively seeking out new information, it lends itself quite nicely to this idea.

Augmented reality WILL be a success, but how quickly is a different story. I can’t wait to see how the movie industry will use this new technique as the requirements become more easily met.  What do you think? Are you as excited about this higher level of interactivity as I am? Leave your thoughts below or join the discussion in our forums.


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