The marketing industry is constantly adapting to incoming trends and technologies. Businesses have a multitude of mediums to pick from when trying to reach a wider audience, but in such a saturated market, it can be difficult to stand out. Companies are constantly looking for unique ways to grab the attention of consumers, and currently, one of those ways is through the use of augmented reality (AR).
If you are unfamiliar, augmented reality is when a device with a camera is used to add animations, 3D models, and other computer generated images to the screen with the intent to alter how the user is viewing the real world. AR technology has a wide range of uses for the average consumer. For example, AR can be used to help you preview what furniture might look like in your home before you buy it. The technology can also be experienced in a more playful setting such as Snapchat face filters or even something more grand like Pokemon Go, which was an international phenomenon. With so many uses, augmented reality truly opens up the opportunity to create an infinite amount of memorable experiences for consumers. In fact, companies like Pizza Hut, ASOS, and Bacardi have already taken a stab at it.
Pizza Hut has decided to tackle augmented reality by partnering with Bandai Namco, the game developers behind Pac-Man. The companies have teamed together to create what they are calling “Newstalgia” by developing a playable Pac-Man game on select pizza boxes from Pizza Hut. Users can scan a QR code with their smartphones and play a 3D AR version of the classic arcade game. The campaign’s goal is to push the sales of the pizza joints new item called the $10 Tastemaker while simultaneously creating the nostalgia of playing arcade games while eating Pizza Hut like many might have done in person back in the day. The technology has allowed Pizza Hut to create an extremely unique experience for consumers, and has grabbed the attention of many people, myself included.
On the other hand, ASOS has taken a very different approach to augmented reality. If you are unfamiliar, ASOS is an online, affordable clothing retailer similar to H&M. The clothing company has added a feature on their mobile site that will allow customers to get a better look at a clothing item they are interested in. This is done by opening your phone camera and having a 3D recording of a person walk wherever you place them while wearing the item you selected. The character will show off the clothing piece in a fashion show type manner by walking down a catwalk. This creates a fun way for customers to see the product from all angles and help influence them to purchase the product. This type of use of AR can be seen within the furniture industry as well from companies like Ikea and Amazon.
Bacardi is also leveraging augmented reality for their marketing campaigns.The rum producers have dipped their feet into AR by creating an interactive filter on Snapchat. The filter teaches the user a dance to Meek Mill’s remix of the song “Conga”. As you record yourself with the filter on, instructions will appear for a variety of different moves that are paired with correlating animations appearing as you do them. Once the dance lesson is over, users are able to use the moves freely to dance to the song and trigger each special effect when desired. Once the recording is finished, it can be shared out to friends and family via direct message or a their Snapchat story. Of the different AR mediums, filters for social media platforms like Snapchat seem to be the most feasible for the average business to take advantage of due to its accessibility and lower costs.
Augmented reality is an extremely engaging medium so it only makes sense that it would make a great format for marketers. It gives brands the opportunity to create far more memorable experiences than a consumer would have from a google search ad or even a video advertisement. In fact, a study done by Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing in 2020 has shown that “72% of shoppers that used AR in their shopping journey said they purchased stuff they didn’t plan to buy, simply because of experience of using AR”, so it is clear that AR is effective and is likely to improve. As more companies take advantage of AR, there will be more data to support its effectiveness. Moving forward, marketers should start to consider if augmented reality should be the next step to help their brand stand out.