It was almost 3 years ago when I first wrote an article about the uses of augmented reality, and then quickly proceeded to try and sell it to my clients. We have had many conversations about the use of Augmented Reality in advertising and marketing, but without much success, as everyone has been waiting for others to take on the adoption of an innovator. Many would be companies have been trying things out, thinking how they could capture the market, and trying to steer clients down these paths, without really knowing the value, and potential on how the medium could and should be used.
Most people dismiss the idea as being too far-fetched or argue that the technology actually gets in the way of the message. Although that may have been true in the past, our personal technologies are so complete now, that it’s much more feasible and realistic to develop. It’s also not necessarily in the six figures of advertising budgets that one would think.
Augmented reality, while it sounds very 23rd century, is simply using technology to superimpose computer generated content (images and sounds) over a live view of the world. It’s something we have been doing already for over 30 years, just in a far more acceptable medium than you thought. Now with 360-degree camera technology, virtual reality is offered on both Google and Facebook platforms.
In 2014 Ikea took their catalog so that it uses augmented reality to allow you to put virtual furniture from the pages into your home. You could download Ikea’s app on your smartphone or tablet, scan the pages that have the furniture you want to “test drive” in your home, put the catalog in the specific spot in your room and then choose which piece of furniture you’d like to appear there.
When Volvo launched their new S60, they decided they wanted to capture a younger than usual audience, so they created a YouTube masthead that let users play an augmented reality driving game with their phones. Inside the game, there were spots where users could click for more information. The game drove a 290% increase in traffic to volvocars.com. This is the new form of a mixed reality for customers.
When concertgoers downloaded an app by Bon Jovi and used their smart device to hover over spots in the concert program, a whole world came to life. Music played, a guitar-toting soldier marched, go-go dancers, appeared and Bon Jovi’s heart logo pumped to the beat. Within four months of launching the app, had been downloaded half a million times. Fans could interact with the content by tapping, swiping, listening and watching.
Smaller companies and street smart businesses have been building campaigns for under $50k, for the last 3 years now. Using Digital signage, a simple app, and the power of viral messaging audiences can quickly download an app to their device. Once they do that, they can point their device at the banner or billboard and it comes alive with music, images and the “company success” campaign message. In the end, the viewer can touch the screen to be taken to a special landing page with more information. These forms of a mixed reality are far more useful than what we first imagine.From a marketing perspective, a mixed reality gives businesses a far more friendly and viable opportunity to target audiences. They can leave the banner or billboard up and change out the video or content, remotely whenever they want to.The biggest investment in bringing a mixed reality to your marketing is that you’re going to have to think bigger than you have before. You’re going to have to embrace the idea that marketing isn’t just about getting your facts and features in front of your target audience. First, you have to earn their attention and interest.
The new audiences of the selfie generation, tweenies, X and Y, have all grown up with Snapchat, Tinder, Whatsapp, and a host of other applications, so they will embrace it easily, but us older baby boomers (who are now dying off), are no longer the target audiences. While we may think it’s cool, our buying habits have grown up with MacDonalds, Pepsi and Coke, KFC, and Subway. We tend to think retail, instant gratification, and disposability. To be actually immersed in the idea, is pretty new to us, whereas our children take it more for granted.
See for yourself what’s available now. In a very short space of time, it will change the way we view movies, see TV, and experience business applications and workflow. Wearables are now a common occurrence.