Augmented Reality. Fad or Future?

Augmented reality (AR) is cutting-edge technology that allows for a digitally enhanced view of the real world. With the camera and sensors in a smartphone or tablet, AR adds layers of digital information – videos, photos, sounds – directly on top of items in the world around us.

AR is nothing new to digital marketing circles, having been around for a very long time. However, the capabilities and applications have improved immensely, so why does it often get a bad wrap and why isn’t it more widely used? Fear of the unknown is one reason as until recently, there has been little research showing that layered content translates to sales and customer loyalty. Another being, that marketers are still not entirely familiarised with its capabilities. Poor implementation has left a sour taste in the air. Recently, we have started to see some great AR campaigns with proven results from the likes of Kia, Volkswagen, Adidas and many more. According to Juniper Research, augmented reality in marketing across mobile applications will generate 1.4 billion downloads by 2015, as an increasing number of brands familiarise themselves with the technology and its possibilities. AR is definitely no fad.

In fact, I believe that AR is going to become just as prolific as Social Media, which was also coined a fad in its day. It has been predicted that augmented reality will not only undergo a revolution of its own, but will also revolutionise the way we live in modern society. Imagine being able to diagnose a problem with your car, and then whilst looking through your Tablet or Smartphone at your engine, being able to see superimposed labels so you would know exactly what you are looking at and be guided through fixing the issue. Sound a little Science Fiction? Well, you may be surprised to know that Volkswagen has already made this a reality with their Volkswagen MARTA app. Whilst the App is currently only being used by professional mechanics, we expect it will enter the public domain in the near future.

Some great examples of AR being used by brands:

Pepsi Max surprised commuters with an unbelievable experience at a bus stop involving giant robots and UFO abductions!

Here’s a clever AR campaign for Land Rover. A fantastic crossover of Print and Digital.

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