Augmented reality offers enormous potential for capturing attention, virality, and important data. Because attention spans are considered to be dropping, AR offers important cut-through with average ‘dwell times’ on AR experiences of 75 seconds and above. With the AR market predicted to reach almost $200 billion globally by 2025, if you’re not on the AR Express, you’re already behind.
AR can instantly create rich and immersive brand experiences for consumers without the need for extra technology or even downloads. However, deploying AR can be daunting and it can sometimes be difficult for brands to see how it might fit into a campaign or brand experience. The need to engage properly with the technology is key and working with an agency who has a deep knowledge and understanding of the potential for the tech is essential.
So where to begin? It’s important to first consider what kind of AR experience your brand ought to provide. Novel and exciting experiences like Cadbury’s advent calendar are excellent in their social media potential. However, the technology also allows brands to create valuable informative experiences as well. IKEA uses AR to show how their range might look in the consumer's house, something invaluable in driving consumer understanding. The versatility of AR is also something to consider, as the power to personalise the individual experience can bring the consumer closer than ever to your brand. Consider MONA’s app that allows people to customise their museum experience via the information they choose to receive.
We’ve lined up 5 brands in the Asia-Pacific region who are doing it best to give you an idea of just what can be achieved when AR is deployed effectively.
I think we can all agree, nothing quite beats a great live music experience... so what happens when we augment the world of live music? Coachella. In 2019, Coachella debuted it's first interactive AR stage. The Sahara tent at the music festival was transformed into a cosmic playground where punters could experience transient objects including astronauts, planets, and spaceships. However Coachella isn't the only brand jumping on board the AR band-wagon.
The year prior, Eminem launched his "Eminem Augmented" app for his Coachella set. It was a move to co-exist with the momentous use of mobile phones in live music settings. The production company involved designed an app that embraced and incorporated technology to enhance the way punters are consuming entertainment. Only those within a certain distance were able to witness the augmentation at the time through geo-tagging and time-stamping the content.
Those fortunate enough to experience the app were able to interact with fun Eminem music puns like tossing spaghetti at food vendors across the festival site through image recognition.
The Sydney Cricket Ground
The SCG Sports Trust, Steve Waugh, and digital studio Avanade have combined forces to bring visitors to the famous sporting site with an immersive walk through of the grounds complete with historic footage and commentary from Waugh himself. Users can take selfies with the cricketing legend through their phones, bringing the magic and history of the game tantalisingly close to the avid fan.
The app has broad campaign synchronicity by encouraging users to share their experience through a dedicated hashtag and provides an exciting and detailed experience replete with cricketing information that will certainly be the highlight of any trip to the SCG - meaning customers are likely to share their experience further.
Rekorderlig Cider’s ‘Rekorder-land’
Drinks companies have the opportunity to create engaging brand activations using AR as the technology well lends itself to the ‘experience’ side of brand engagements that drinking is primarily about. Working with Havas London, the Swedish cider brand created the UK’s first mixed-reality bar experience to capitalise on this aspect.
Visitors wore mixed reality headsets that allowed them to virtually interact with flavours of Rekorderlig depending on where they looked and what they touched. To follow this, Rekorderlig created Snapchat lenses that augmented users Rekorderlig Botanical Ciders which were rolled out nationally and achieved a huge 91.81 second average play time - 70 seconds longer than the platform average.
Havas said they know millennial consumers value experience over possession and thus ‘delivering a memorable brand focused experience for our consumers in a sociable setting was key’.
Hyundai’s i30 Hatchback
Hyundai have been using AR for some time now to assist buyers in their decisions by being able to fully explore and understand the features of their cars. This one is slightly different in that the app used here is handheld on iPads used by car dealership assistants. The camera is pointed at the car and the screen displays colour options, accessories, and safety features of their vehicles.
This is a cost-effective way for retailers to demonstrate extensive product ranges without the need to hold physical stock. It also allows for the explanation of angles of the product that might be difficult to otherwise grasp, like the i30’s ABS system.
The Njulgang Project
The tech giant Microsoft partnered with startup Indigital to use AR to preserve Aboriginal culture. Working with Dharawal tribal leaders, they recorded traditional dreamtime stories, sacred sites, and landscapes and brought these to life using motion capture, 4D rendering and animation. Students at five primary schools across South-West Sydney use the technology to learn the story of ‘How the Animals Came to Dharawal Country’.
Microsoft have trialled this project as a pilot test but aim to roll it out across the country later this year. The use of AR to capture and recreate Aboriginal language and culture is viewed as hugely important for Microsoft Australia’s Managing Director who argued the use of this technology will be vital in education in the future.
Augmented reality has already proven to be of limitless potential and possibility for brands. With the continued rise of mobile ubiquity across the globe and the dominance of mobile in marketing domains only set to increase, AR is something that marketers need to take seriously.
As the technology comes into its own over the coming years, brands will need agencies with knowledge and understanding of tech who can incorporate it into their campaigns. Don’t get left behind, the rise of AR is just getting started.