26 November 2009 1431 Views

Advertisers Lose Grip on Reality

by Iain Welford

As technology moves forward, Internet gets faster and the public wants more, media companies are increasingly looking for new ways to advertise and make it more interactive. The latest form of advertising to fill these criteria takes shape in the form of augmented reality, and it seems more and more companies are looking to dip their toes.


For those who haven’t seen augmented reality before, this uses a photographic device, such as a webcam, to take a picture of a everyday scene and layer a static or moving image over it which you can then control. The best use I have seen of this so far is Eye Pet for the PlayStation 3. Take a look at the video below to get an idea of the potential this shows.





We’ve already reported Star Trek and Transformers 2 trying this out and have recently found out that Avatar and Coke Zero have also teamed up to produce special edition cans which show one of the new air-support vehicles following the can when shown to a Webcam.


This new kind of advertising makes the kind of scenes seen films like Minority Report seem tantalizingly close and the British paper, The Telegraph, reports that the budget for advertising using this method is set to jump from $6 million spent this year to over $200 million in the next five. Big Companies are seeing huge potential here, with Coca-Cola spending on Avatar and also McDonald’s creating a “McWorld” on-line using special vouchers found in happy meals.


For more practical applications fo augmented reality, look no further than the iPhone. New apps designed for travellers use the iphones camera in conjunction with the built-in GPS to show real time data layered over video from the camera. Imagine a more advanced jet fighter hud where you have a clear screen and the information layered over it and you have the picture. Or you could watch the video below of a commuter testing it out in Tokyo.





I’m sure you will agree, the potential is astounding, especially for 2012-type real world pick-ups. This was only available to U.S. residents, but using this technology to find things and unlock rewards online could be done all over the world by downloading an App. I hope to see better use of this in viral campaigns. It seems to me that the two are a great fit for each other!


Have you had any experience of these apps yourself, and if not, is this something you would try? Join the debate below, or visit our forums.



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