While Starbucks was among the first when it integrated an augmented reality app into its 2011 holiday marketing, many consumer brands have followed suit and launched their own augmented reality offerings in early 2012. What is augmented reality? Simply put, it’s when technology takes what’s happening in real life to the next level and enhances the user’s experience.
Among the latest to integrate augmented reality into their marketing efforts is Tic Tac whose ‘Shake It Up’ campaign features billboards in Times Square and a complementary mobile app. Whether users will see the billboards, and accompanying print ads, and download the app remains to be seen.
For Starbucks, augmented reality appears to be a worthwhile marketing endeavor. Following its holiday campaign, Starbucks adorned its cups with Valentine’s Day-themed décor. By using Starbucks’ Cup Magic App, consumers can turn the static art into an animated video.
While augmented reality offers a value-add to static marketing efforts such as print ads, people’s willingness to take the next step still relies heavily on more traditional components – strong copy, a compelling call to action and a satisfactory answer to the all-important question, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Despite the ‘ooh-aah’ factor, which will surely bait some consumers, there is still a need for brands to integrate proven-effective communication strategies into their augmented reality campaigns.
Back in December, USA Today rated augmented reality as one of ‘Five tech trends to watch in 2012, noting that 25% of all app downloads in 2012 were anticipated to have an augmented reality component. Not surprisingly, large, reputable consumer brands are among augmented reality’s early adopters. These companies have the benefit of a loyal fan base already being in place and mobile-savvy consumers populating their target audiences.
As the buzz surrounding augmented reality continues to build, it will be interesting to see how smaller, less iconic brands fare with this technology. Additionally, how business-to-business companies will integrate this new technology into their social media and marketing campaigns remains to be seen. (How) Do you foresee augmented reality being used in business-to-business marketing?