5 Augmented Reality Examples Worth Looking At

Lately, it feels like every time I turn around I learn about a new campaign using augmented reality. The technology is definitely impressive, but, as it becomes more common, marketers are going to have to be more creative and thoughtful with their use of augmented reality if they want to make a real impact on consumers.

To illustrate that point, let’s take a closer look as some of the most notable augmented reality examples from the last year and see how they measured up.

Penningtons Styled to Surprise

The Canadian clothing chain Penningtons surprised customers in one of their stores with visits from virtual firemen in the dressing room mirror. The brand recorded customers’ responses to create a very popular YouTube video and raised awareness of the campaign by inviting bloggers to experience the mirror and to award shopping sprees to their readers. While a relatively small number of people had the opportunity to experience the mirror, Penningtons did a good job using social media to increase the campaign’s impact.

National Geographic Live Augmented Reality

National Geographic took the live augmented reality experience to a whole new level last year. The magazine toured shopping centers in Hungary with an installation that let passersby interact with the type of content they might find on the on the National Geographic Channel, including dinosaurs, thunderstorms, spacemen, leopards and more. While it seems the campaign did not fully take advantage of the opportunity for social media integration, the campaign created a huge buzz and fully delighted everyone who came in contact with it.

Lacta Mobile App

Last December, the Greek chocolate brand Lacta launched what is perhaps my favorite augmented reality campaign to date. They played on an existing campaign that encouraged customers to write love messages on Lacta chocolate bars by creating an app that lets customers send and view these love messages through their smart phones. From a social media marketing standpoint, this campaign is incredibly strong because it invites to become involved in the brand’s messaging and then spread that involvement by sharing the love messages they’ve created.

Starbucks Cup Magic for Valentine’s Day

Taking a page from the same romantic book, just this month Starbucks relaunched its Cup Magic campaign. This time the campaign serves as a Valentine’s Day promotion and invites customers to download an app and view special animations when they point their smart phones at Starbucks’ Valentine’s Day themed cups. The app also lets users send personalized Valentine messages and even Starbucks e-gift cards.

Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Cam Game

While all of the augmented reality campaigns I’ve listed so far are each strong in their own ways, they rely on the members of their audiences to either own smartphones or be in the right place at the right time. Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Cam Game, on the other hand, is much more accessible. To enjoy this campaign you don’t need to visit a Turkish or Canadian mall, you don’t even have to download an app; anyone with a computer and a webcam can play. The game lives on the brand’s Facebook tab and invites players to catch virtual pieces of popcorn in their mouth. It even catches you with your mouth open in a candid picture that you can share on your Facebook wall.

Augmented reality is a marketing tool that is here to stay, but as it becomes more common, marketers are going to have to think of smart ways to use it if they want their campaigns to stand out. This means they cannot rely on the technology alone for a successful campaign, instead they must aspire to create campaigns that encourage consumers to engage with the brand, contribute their own content and, most of all, share it with their friends.

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