As we see Augmented Reality become more mainstream we have to also acknowledge that its powers maybe be used to influence buying decisions. Right now this comes in the form of marketing campaigns, and more than influencing it seems AR is being used as more of a branding tool than anything else. Not that this is a bad thing, but it’s sort of a poor use of such a powerful medium. Especially in today’s multitasking multi-distracting world I think AR can be seen as a gimmick rather than an effective tool.
IS IT MEMORABLE ENOUGH
There are few AR marketing experiences that have made it to the status of viral acceptance. One notable exception is the Augmented Reality experience that UK AR company AppShaker created for BBC. Appshaker was commissioned by BBC Worldwide Americas to create an immersive event system to promote the launch of the Frozen Planet DVD across the United States of America. Not only did they complete the task but in doing so raised the bar for marketing companies around the world wish to create a truly engaging marketing campaign.
IS IT SHARE-ABLE
Part of making marketing effective is it’s memorability, but in recent years the share-ability is the true mark of effectiveness. Virality (the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another) is now the true benchmark of a successful campaign. With Augmented Reality marketing campaigns there are two potential sharing events, i.e. that by the participant (immersed in the AR experience) and the second is that by onlookers. You can see why AR is first being used as a marketing tool.
Mahindra and Mahindra partnered with Hungama Digital Media to bring to life an augmented reality campaign at the Auto Expo 2012. As the digital agency for Mahindra XUV500, Hungama Digital designed, conceptualized and executed the entire campaign. As part of the initiative, a life-like virtual cheetah can be seen perched on top of Mahindra’s newly launched vehicle, the XUV500, interacting with the crowd.
What I love about this particular AR marketing experience is that the participant engagement is purely mesmerizing. The fact is that the majority of onlookers are distracted with a virtual cheetah that is actually interacting with the bystanders at the vehicle. The cheetah was the inspiration behind the XUV 500, so as such the AR experience is immersively engaging a captive audience in the marketing message. Genius!