Brands map out new ways to engage attendees as AR infiltrates the mainstream
Consumers may still be holding artificial intelligence at arm’s length, but when it comes to augmented reality, they’re finally welcoming the technology with open arms. Thanks to apps like Snapchat and Pokémon GO, and platforms like Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, the technology has entered the mainstream. So the question is no longer if brands will find a way to seamlessly incorporate AR into their events, but how. Here, we bring you five fresh ways to leverage augmented reality to elevate live experiences.
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SHOWCASE CUTTING-EDGE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES
Sprint has a history of innovation in technology, but when it came time to illustrate how its 5G cellular network will operate, the brand hit a hurdle—the cutting-edge tech is not yet commercially available. So to demonstrate how its 5G solutions will operate at Mobile World Congress, the company turned to AR. Equipped with three vignettes designed to mirror a futuristic city, Sprint created an attendee journey that began with the current state of its mobile network, then advanced to the future of IoT and ended with a 5G AR demo created in partnership with Helios Interactive.
“It’s impossible to demonstrate something that doesn’t exist in a meaningful way,” says John Heiman, director-experiential marketing at Sprint. “PowerPoint presentations and stuff like that just don’t do it. So we thought we would use AR, which is futuristic in and of itself, to be able to articulate what the world will be like when 5G is available. It allowed us in a futuristic, believable way, to demonstrate that 5G world.”
BOOST FAN ENGAGEMENT
Like many organizations, the College Football Playoff (CFP) aims to be at the forefront of technology, so for the 2018 championship game in Atlanta, the CFP added a location-based AR component to its mobile app created in partnership with Mandt Media. By scanning CFP brand marks located inside and outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium with their smartphone cameras, fans could trigger interactive AR experiences and content related to sponsors, the game and the venue. Fans could leverage the app to unlock a selfie experience, for instance, that placed an AR version of sponsor Dos Equis’ beverages in their hands.
The AR feature was also used to educate fans on CFP itself, including scanning one of several brand marks designed to look like an apple in downtown Atlanta, which triggered content about the organization’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative, a platform that supports teachers and educational programs.
“AR has gone from information-based solely, where you have an extension of your website, to something we’re looking at on an annual basis and how we can integrate that so that there’s a greater experience for our fans,” says Gina Lehe, senior director-communications and brand management at CFP. “Sometimes people put us into a bucket from August to January, and we really are challenging ourselves on how we can make it more of a destination year-round.”
ENHANCE LIVE PERFORMANCES
Go to any concert these days and you’re certain to find slews of young attendees experiencing the show not with their own eyes but through their mobile phones. Instead of fighting the phenomenon, Coachella headliner and notorious prankster Eminem built an AR app that enhanced his performance. Developed in partnership with Drive Studios, the exclusive AR experience was geo-tagged and time stamped. Through the app, fans could watch a massive digital cleaver appear above the stage and fall onto the audience, for instance, or scan the logo on a container of “Mom’s Spaghetti,” a pop-up restaurant the artist brought to Coachella, which unleashed an AR version of Em vomiting virtual meatballs.
ELIMINATE PAIN POINTS
Waiting in line is painful enough, but when it comes to waiting to participate in a live experience, the delay can be particularly agonizing. It was a notion not lost on Ben & Jerry’s. In anticipation of Free Cone Day and the hour-long lines it generates, the brand teamed up with PHD and Shazam to create an AR experience at its Australia locations that would keep customers occupied while they waited for their free scoop. By scanning any audio-, visual- or location-enabled assets associated with the event using the Shazam app, consumers could access immersive content about their favorite ice cream flavors. The strategy not only helped Ben & Jerry’s eliminate the pain of waiting in line, but extended the experience beyond the free treat.
REACH NEW AUDIENCES
Luxury cognac brand Rèmy Martin tends to attract a sophisticated older consumer. So in an effort to connect with millennials, the company collaborated with American designer Matt W. Moore to develop an AR experience that leveraged the artist’s proprietary kinetic art style, Vectorfunk. Through the ARt by Rèmy Martin app, consumers could participate in two different kinds of experiences. The first was a more traditional AR experience in which the app could be used to scan the brand’s new Limited Edition VSOP packaging to reveal virtual animations.
But Rèmy Martin took the tech a step further by allowing users to scan the world around them and place Moore’s artworks, which were inspired by the complexity of cognac, wherever they chose. The brand leveraged the more advanced functionality across its worldwide ARt tour, which features appearances by Moore, to give attendees a chance to experiment with, celebrate and share creative content using the app.
“The app was a way to share this collaboration with the largest possible audience,” says Florence Puech, global communications and digital director at Rémy Martin. “This collaboration is about reaching a new audience. It’s about talking to millennials on their own terms, [which includes] digital, personal creativity, social networks and sharing with friends. So the objective was to maximize the echo of a collaboration we’re very proud of.”