Augmented reality: Marketing’s bold new frontier

By AdNews | 18 December 2009

The information a smartphone is able to access about its location and surroundings is set to open up a whole new world of interactivity that marketers would be wise to investigate and exploit, Andrew Englisch writes.

You are exploring downtown Sydney, early evening, nicely chilled. Someone takes your eye. You discretely point your smartphone at them. Silent click.

Their cute face instantly fills your camera’s live-feed screen. In a blink you are presented with a full array of their personal data superimposed over their image. Age, profession, favourite foods, sexual preferences and Twitter feed. Your data packed screen says that you share a compatibility rating of 95%.

Quickly you hit the “Drink?” button. What will they do? How will they respond? Seconds later: “Yes!” they ping you back.

Five swift minutes later you are sharing Grey Goose martinis in Surry Hills as the sun arcs down to set.

While the above example is imaginary, the concept is very real. Welcome to Augmented
Reality, an exciting new technology that uses your smartphone’s GPS and internal compass to identify your position and layer “augmented” data over live
images and video.

While some marketers such as Nestlé, Kia and Procter & Gamble have been experimenting with Augmented Reality, the full commercial potential of this technology is just beginning to register with digital marketers. Look beyond the current hype, and some powerful marketing opportunities are emerging.

New and astounding brand engagement beckons for a range of industries: real estate agents, car marques, FMCG brands and retailers could all benefit. Augmented Reality has the potential to create incredible immersive experiences that change not just the game, but the rules too.

What’s in it for advertisers? Your future real streetscape may well be filled with augmented advertising, promotions and 3D characters. Products and people will interact with you, Minority Report style, as you stroll down your local streets.

Sounds frightening? You had better order another martini. Make it a double. l


Andrew Englisch is chief executive & co-founder at Igloo.

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