I’ve never been a big fan of reality.
Ever since seeing Minority Report, I have become increasingly aware that our current reality is underwhelming.
Recently I have discovered Augmented Reality, which will eventually make Minority Report type technology a reality.
Augmented Reality (AR) basically blurs the line between the real and the virtual world, enriching our reality by assigning meta data to physical objects.
Using Augmented Reality in a marketing campaign has been on my wish list for a while, but like social media, it is not something you should just do because it is the cool thing. It has to deliver on your business objective.
So until I have a business objective where I need to use it, here are the top 10 ways companies are currently using Augmented Reality as part of their marketing strategy.
As a heads up this post contains a lot of videos, because words don’t really do this technology justice.
1. Enrich your in-store/Point of Sale experience
Microsoft Surface is really leading the way for Augmented Reality in this space.
My favourite application will be the simplicity of splitting the bill at the restaurant just by putting your credit cards on the surface.
The video below show some of the capabilities it will bring to in store/point of sale.
In April 2008, AT&T was the first to launch Microsoft Surface in several of its flagship stores in the US in order to transform the way people shop for mobile phones. Just by placing your desired mobile on the screen, the interface gives you access to everything you would ever want to know about the phone.
2. Enable users to try on physical products virtually before purchasing online
In an eBay world, finding the right sized box to send your sold item in is critical. In response to this need, Priority Mail have developed an Augmented Reality Simulator that helps you pick the right box.
The one thing holding back fashion retailers online is the understandable desire to try on their clothes, shoes or accessories.
As the video below shows, Augmented Reality can really bridge this gap. I can see this technology working in-store as well, especially during the sales when you cant get anywhere near the change rooms.
Ok, so Zugara enables trying out clothes online, but how about trying out different hairstyles before heading to the hairdresser?
3. Mash up your search with the real world
Searching for something online then having to go out into the real world to see it for yourself is a hassle, so why can’t we combine to two experiences?
With Layar, the worlds first mobile Augmented Reality, now we can. Just think how this will revolutionise property search!
4. Change the way people travel
By far the most popular mobile Augmented Reality application is Wikitude AR Travel Guide that launched with the G1 Android Phone, with about 50,000 downloads to date.
Its like you have a tour guide in your pants.
5. Make your events easy to navigate
Anyone who has attended a large scale event knows that you can often miss the best parts of the event, and not realise until someone tells you afterwards.
Schematic’s multi-user, multi-touch wall developed for Cannes 2009, ensured that attendees were always in the right place at the right time.
Taking the wall idea mobile, the Sekai Camera iPhone application helps attendees navigate their way around the event and find out more about what they are looking at, including how other attendees have rated it.
6. Put your brochures on steroids
I think brochure-ware is critical in the sales process as it allows customers to take something away with them, that will sit on their coffee table as a reminder.
But on the whole brochures are static and boring, so these examples of using AR to enhance encyclopedias and brochures show how to take your print material to the next level.
7. Throw out your instruction manuals
No self respecting man wants to look at a car’s instruction manual, but with engines starting to look like motherboards, sometimes you need some help.
To solve this problem, these sunglasses under development by BMW could help you look cool while telling you how to fix the car.
8. Integrate your offline and online strategies
This is often the biggest challenge in developing any campaign. Just putting a URL on your press ad doesn’t do it.
These these examples of using press advertising, pizza boxes and baseball cards to launch Augmented Reality campaigns are killer!
9. Bring your online campaigns to life
The problem with monitors is that they are two dimensional, which doesn’t feel real. So here are some examples of how corporates have used Augmented Reality to bring their digital campaigns to life.
10. Give your campaigns the finger
MIT’s Sixth Sense is by far the closest Augmented Reality has come to that promised in the Minority Report.
I can’t wait for marketers to figure out how to use this to their advantage!
And before you ask, no, you wont see dead people.
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