By Rachael Ireland, Junior Account Manager, Tangerine PR
The first time I was introduced to augmented reality (AR), I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. It was when my boyfriend was flicking through GQ magazine and came across a watch advertisement that featured AR. Keen to see what all the fuss was about, as instructed I placed the plain white paper template around my wrist before hovering my iPhone over it and to my amazement, I was the proud owner of an extremely expensive watch.
Keen to find out more, I did a quick Google search and learned that AR superimposes graphics, audio and other sense enhancements from computer generated sensory input, such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data, onto real time environments.
AR is increasingly being used in online shopping and mobile phone apps and, like the watch company, many other brands including H&M and SpecSavers, allow you to ‘try on’ their products via AR. Mobile phone apps can even offer services such as instructions on how to change a printer cartridge – cool ‘eh?
As Gratterpalm, the North’s leading advertising agency, is one of Tangerine PR’s clients, I’m only too aware that visuals are an important part of advertising. It’s not surprising that so many companies have jumped on the augmented reality bandwagon, offering tools that visualise their products in a magical and memorable way.
BMW, Doritos, Wrigley’s and Ray-Ban are just a few brands that have used AR as part of their campaigns, but my personal favourite is Lynx’s advertising of their deodorant, which bears the tagline ‘Even angels will fall.’ The company used AR marketing for an ‘Angel Ambush’ at London Victoria station whereby passengers standing in a certain area would see their image appear on a screen and an angel would fall to earth next to them and interact with them. This is just one example of how creative advertising is starting to catch up with rapidly changing technology, to maximise the engagement of viewers and create highly memorable brand interaction.
From what I’ve seen, AR really is all about enriching the consumer’s experience and creating a fantasy that people can interact with. A perfect example of this is Playstation’s recently launched ‘Wonderbook™: Book of Spells,’ which transforms the world around you and allows Harry Potter fans to become wizards through AR. The possibilities of AR really are endless.
According to figures from ABI Research, the market for augmented reality in the US alone is expected to hit £218m in 2014, up from about £4m in 2008 – it’s definitely here to stay. AR is not only mind-blowing, but it is definitely a sign of what media and communication experiences will look like in the near future.