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Bringing augmented reality marketing to life

January 17th, 2011 by www.immix.net

For the importance of making your brand’s website accessible on mobile devices, read our page on “Designing for mobile users.” The truth is, however, that mobile devices open up marketing opportunities going far beyond what’s possible on a laptop or desktop computer. The emphasis is on the “mobility.” Smartphone users are out there in the world, and whatever they’re looking at on their device is only one component of their environment. Realizing this, several brands have begun experimenting with augmented reality marketing, which seeks to integrate what the user sees on their phone with their actual environment.In many ways, augmented reality is the perfect tool for companies in today’s technology-driven world. Many smartphone users are already familiar with the concept through apps and games. Augmented reality marketing builds on those basic experiences while adding the brand to the mix in an exciting way.One example is Ben & Jerry’s Scoop of Happiness app, which includes the Moo Vision augmented reality feature. Scan a code from your favorite pint of ice cream to see your world burst with related images. You can then click on those images to find out more information. Another example was the Volvo S60 campaign, a collaboration between Volvo and EuroRSCG 4D. Volvo placed secret cubes around five European cities and placed clues on various blogs. Using the Layar Augmented Reality browser, it was possible to track down the code cube and gain access to secret parties within the city.The attraction of augmented reality marketing has even led companies to backtrack and offer similar experiences for users on laptops or desktops. The Toyota Auris virtual test drive is a noteworthy exampleusers could print out special markers, place them in front of their web cam, and watch the new Toyota Auris in action. The company billed it as the “World’s Cleanest Test Drive.” BMW and Fabia tried similar campaigns, while Adidas did something completely different. The company placed special codes on their Originals sneakers, which purchasers could enter on the Adidas web site. These codes unlocked several different games which the player controlled using the sneaker.The augmented reality marketing industry is growing, with companies like Zugara offering their services to anyone willing to pay (some of the agency’s clients include Nesquik, ESPN, and Muscle Milk). Some feel that augmented reality is a passing fad, but with smartphones becoming more and more popular, we predict that AR marketing is a real technological change in the way companies interact with their customers. When your marketing department considers new ways of reaching customers, make sure AR marketing is on the list.