It’s no secret that as time goes on, marketing and advertising will become even more complex.
This is mostly due to the fact that brands are constantly trying to create new experiences for their audiences in order to position themselves front and center. We’ve already seen a surge in motion design, animation, video content, and flexible branding systems. This begs the questions, what’s next in brand innovation?
What is Augmented Reality?
Dictionary.com provides a rather technical version. They define AR as “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.”
The more digestible definition of augmented reality is that is a virtual experience that distorts a user’s sensory responses, making them believe that the computer-generated environment they’re experiencing is the real world. In a nutshell, augmented reality seamlessly blends interactive, convincing digital elements into our real-world experience.
You might be familiar with the Pokémon Go craze that was at one point the topic of the hour. Pokémon Go was a game that successfully employed augmented reality allowing users to view and retrieve digitally animated Pokémon in their real, immediate proximity.
If a user was at their local coffee shop, through the Pokémon Go app, they could potentially see computer-generated critters in the seat next to them, or venture down the street to see where others are lurking.
Augmented Reality Tech
Augmented reality is delivered to users in a few different ways:
Just like the Pokémon Go example, users can view computer-generated images through the app that looks as though they’re in their immediate real-world reality. For example, you can point your phone at an actual nearby window, and although there is, in reality, nothing there, the mobile could show that a cartoon bird was on the ledge.
Virtual Reality Glasses/Goggles
Virtual reality glasses or goggles are much more immersive. They can completely encapsulate all the senses to thrust a user into a completely artificial world. A great example of these would be the Oculus product series. Some goggles are used in tandem with AR apps, in which you place your smartphone inside the goggles to experience the effects.
AR can be delivered via computer monitors or television screens. For example, large screens hung at museums may reflect the museum crowd while also showing large CGI dinosaurs parading among them.
Innovative ways brands are using AR
Brands are harnessing AR experiential marketing in a variety of ways.
The first is allowing consumers to interact with products in a very intimate manner prior to purchasing. For example, Gucci launched a try-on app that allows users to point their phones at their feet and see how they’d look in various Gucci shoes.
Toyota did the same thing, in which an app allowed car buyers at the dealership to gain a complete technical understanding of a model’s various functions by viewing it through their smartphone.
It’s also common to see brands using AR in pop-up event marketing. Swedish cider company Rekorderlig sets up pop-up AR experiences at populated festivals and events that allow visitors to experience artificial alternate settings while sipping with the brand’s beverages.
And let’s not forget, AR has completely shifted the retail experience. To drive foot traffic to stores, brands bring ads to life, have virtual helpers, and employ enticing AR attractions to reel customers through the door.
One of the most iconic examples is Foot Locker’s Snapchat AR filter that creates the illusion that LeBron James, famed LA Lakers NBA player, explodes out of an in-store Nike poster. The 2D image transforms into a 3D digital model that speeds up in real-time as James transitions into a slam dunk.
More brands are testing AR in their marketing, whether that be via apps, retail experiences, or event marketing. This is largely due to the fact that AR is a cutting-edge novelty that peaks a lot of consumer interest. It makes us wonder, once AR loses its luster, what will brands come up with next?