One of the biggest impacts AR has made in the commercial sector is in marketing and advertising. Augmented reality marketing was nearly unheard of 5 years ago, and today is de rigeur among huge organizations and tiny mom-and-pop shops alike.
There are many reasons for that, as clearly laid out by Digi-Capital analyst Tim Merel in his great video. In essence, the technology attracts attention. And as always, attention leads directly to customers.
Companies who have not yet come onboard with this trend may still be struggling to find the right application. Therefore, we’ve compiled ten of our favorite augmented reality marketing examples. They run the gamut from the splashy to the practical, and they each make excellent use of AR to get their point across.
1. Augment – A Versatile Platform for AR Marketing Apps
One of the most popular tools used in AR marketing is the prosaically named Augment. Augment really only does one thing, but it does it well. Clients create custom “trackers”, which are printed or on-screen icons, that are then scanned with a white labeled app to trigger a video or a 3D model overlaid on the real world.
It’s a very simple concept, but Augment’s execution is flawless. The company has landed clients ranging from Samsung to Paradise Wildlife Park. Their platform is versatile enough to allow for trackers to be placed in print catalogs, for the purpose of “trying out” furniture or other items at home, or on more novel objects like stuffed animals, in the case of the wildlife park.
2. AMC Theatres Leverages Augmented Reality for Marketing Movies
US-based movie theater chain AMC Cinemas has dipped their toe into augmented reality marketing with an AR app that keys off of movie posters. Moviegoers can point their phones at a poster, either in the theater lobby or in magazines, and immediately bring up information that includes a trailer and cast info. Of course, the app also allows customers to easily buy tickets for the film.
AMC’s app is a great update to the time-honored, if stale, tradition of wandering around a theater lobby looking at posters while waiting to enter the screening room. Posters, always an attention-getter, can now do much more than simply advertise the existence of a movie. They serve as a jumping-off point to take real action, such as buying tickets or visiting a studio website.
3. The US Postal Service AR App
The United States Postal Service is a surprisingly tech-savvy organization. They were one of the first to adopt online tracking and shipment creation, and have kept their website and other online features on par with competitors in the private sector like FedEx and UPS.
At the end of 2014, the organization launched their take on augmented reality marketing. The USPS AR app let users scan collection boxes (the big blue mailboxes) with their smartphones and be treated to a holiday display ranging from dancing penguins to Christmas lights. The video ends with the opportunity to order boxes, stamps, and other USPS supplies.
The post office isn’t typically fun, so the app was a welcome opportunity to inject some humor and sizzle into the experience.
4. The Simmons SIMulator
The Simmons Bedding Company, the company behind the popular Comforpedic and Beautyrest orthopedic mattresses, has successfully leveraged AR to help educate potential buyers on the selling points of their products. Using the SIMulator app, mattress shoppers point their phones at products in store, and are treated to interactive animations that detail the materials and advantages of each piece of bedding.
Mattresses are a high-ticket, infrequently purchased item. The market conditions are highly competitive, and manufacturers and retailers must seize every advantage they can to capture the customer’s dollar. The SIMulator app has been a great success, as many customers prefer to explore information at their own speed, rather than engage with sales personnel for their entire visit to a store.
5. Weather Forecasts and Augmented Reality
That old standby of the local news broadcast, the weather, has shifted to include augmented reality in their presentations. Weather forecasters have long used green screens, a forebear of augmented reality, to add some interest to their discussions of heat waves and storm fronts. With Max Reality, a new software product by The Weather Channel, weather forecasts have been brought into the 21st century.
Max Reality uses AR to seamlessly integrate 3D imagery into televised weather news, bringing animated rain clouds, snowstorms, and even traffic maps and humidity graphs into the space formerly occupied only by a weather man or woman.
AR marketing analysts are already savvy to the opportunities offered by this technology. In an interview with EMarketer, The Weather Channel’s Bill Dow brainstormed ideas for direct product placement in this new type of weather segment.
6. Pokémon GO - a Rich Source of AR Marketing Ideas
Although the Pokemon GO craze has cooled if not ended entirely, its impact on local marketing will last for years. The monetization scheme of the app, in which users could buy lures to attract Pokemon to specific regions, was a boon for local businesses. Buying a lure to sit in one’s coffee shop or bar is the very essence of augmented reality marketing. It places a digital object in the physical space of the business, and invites players to come interact with the object... and patronize the business while there.
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Augmented reality company Niantic Labs, creators of the game, were quick to capitalize on the trend. In July, they announced that they would partner with businesses to create “sponsored PokeStops”, taking money in exchange for spawning monsters at particular locations. Jamba Juice takes the trend even further, giving players 10% off a purchase if they show their game to the cashier.
7. Modiface Makeup Marketing
Augmented reality makeup “mirrors” have been a fixture in Sephora and other cosmetics retailers for several years. Although they began by simply superimposing a splash of color onto a photo of a customer’s face, the technology has greatly advanced since then.
Today, companies like Modiface use AR to completely map the user’s face and re-render it as a photorealistic 3D object. This allows the mirrors to accurately show the precise effects of makeup and even extended-time skin care regimens on the face.
As anyone who has ever shopped for cosmetics knows, choosing between the vast array of products available is time-consuming and difficult, and there are no guarantees of success. Using AR, Modiface lets buyers “try before they buy”, simulating a full application of makeup or months of skin care in the space of a moment.
8. The Starbucks AR Stunt of 2012
The latte wizards at Starbucks have been leveraging technology in the pursuit of the perfect cup for years. They pioneered the use of mobile pay, allowing customers to pay for drinks using their phones starting in 2011, years before the advent of Apple Pay. Over the years, they have also launched a number of amazing marketing campaigns that used the latest technology to wow visitors.
One of their best marketing stunts used augmented reality. In early 2012, the “Everylove on Every Cup” campaign turned every Starbucks cup into a Valentine’s Day card. Visitors used a dedicated Starbucks AR app to scan their cups and watch the design come to life, spreading wishes of love and the opportunity to purchase Starbucks gift cards.
9. Augmented Reality is Entertaining Marketing
Universal Studios, as well as being a popular theme park, has always doubled as a way for Universal to market their upcoming films and franchises. The park takes in over 2 billion dollars annually, and it’s no surprise that the park loves to use AR and other cutting-edge technologies in their attractions.
At Universal Studios Orlando, park visitors can now engage directly with the dinosaurs of the Jurassic Park franchise, including the upcoming Jurassic World 2. By standing on a Hollywood star, visitors trigger an AR display on overhanging screens as a variety of dinosaurs walk up to investigate the humans. This is augmented reality marketing at its most impressive, the sort of experience that can only be achieved at a destination.
10. Leveraging AR to Save the Earth
As any marketing professional knows, it’s not always about profit. Marketing can be a force to make the world a better place, as well. By using augmented reality and other techniques and technologies to market causes and practices just as they do products, advertisers can help to save the planet.
In Buenos Aires, that is exactly what happened. In an augmented reality campaign sponsored by the city government, attendees to a concert were treated to an AR game in which they had to catch falling trash in a recycling bin.
The campaign, along with other efforts by the city, were a great success. Today, Buenos Aires is on its way to becoming a zero waste city.
AppReal-VR – Your Augmented Reality Development Partner
Augmented reality application development, especially for marketing, requires expertise, planning, and flawless execution.
AppReal-VR, based in Ukraine and operating globally, has years of experience and is ideally suited to bring any AR marketing campaign to fruition.
The company is able to work in any industry and market. Under the expert leadership of CEO Yariv Levski, AppReal-VR has won and kept happy clients in fashion, gaming, and of course, marketing. For companies at any stage of growth, AppReal-VR makes a stellar partner to leverage augmented reality, virtual reality, and other emerging technologies for brand awareness, sales, and success.