One of the most compelling uses of computing technology is the make-believe worlds that we can create with it; worlds where magic is real and we are the heroes. A specific form of this type of entertainment is called augmented reality - where the magic (digital content) is created on top of the existing world through your phones camera. One reason even simple demonstrations are effective is because our brains are completely fooled: no matter how much we "know" what we are seeing is not real, our brains respond with wonder.
Just like completely virtual worlds (using games and virtual reality), brands have used the magic of augmented reality to market themselves. Here we look at some examples.
- Brand: Absolut Vodka
- Product: Vodka
- Year: 2012
By scanning neck hangers on Absolut Vodka bottles, consumers can take a 3D tour of the Swedish village Åhus where the product comes from, learn about how the vodka is made, and see cocktail recipes that uses vodka. Many alcoholic beverages use their long history as a differentiator and a way to elevate the brand from a commodity to a luxury item. Using AR to tell this history makes it more interesting, and therefore more effective.
Dutch Lady: Flying Farm
- Brand: The Dutch Lady
- Product: Milk
- Year: 2016
Users scan the Dutch Lady milk pack to trigger a virtual farm world where they can interact with the brand characters. Scanning the 30 different promotional toys that come with the milk pack unlocks new characters and games. Like many food products, the target audience for this was kids, and the purpose was to add a layer of interactivity to the existing toys that the brand was already distributing with the milk.
The app also made the collection aspect of toys more compelling, by making it clear which toys you have and which you don't. (See our article on achievements to see how games and interactive apps use achievements to enhance experiences.)
The app was downloaded 40,000 times and increased product sales by 19%.
The Patrón Experience
- Brand: Patrón
- Product: Tequila
- Year: 2017
Similar to Absolut Truths we discussed earlier, users use this AR application to visit and explore the Patrón Tequila distillery, learn about the barrel ageing process of making tequila, and have a virtual bartender explain the tasting notes of each Tequila. As with the vodka app, educating the customer is central to the purpose of the app.
- Brand: Watt's
- Product: Fruit Juice
- Year: 2017
This is one of the apps we at Plinq made ourselves.
By scanning stickers of popular Cartoon Network characters placed on various Watt’s products, players trigger an augmented reality animation and add the sticker to their collection. The app was downloaded 60,000 times in 3 months and was in the top 5 entertainment apps in Chile. To date 600,000 stickers have been scanned.
This is another example of products aimed at kids, this time tapping into the existing love kids have for the characters. Even though the animations were simple, it entertained and fascinated the young audience; and the app continued to have a large number users even after promotion for the app stopped and the campaign ended.
Living Wine Labels
- Brand: Treasury Wines Estates
- Product: Wine
- Year: 2018
Users scan the bottles of various wine brands to unlock a number of unique AR experiences. These include watching animations of historical figures tell their story, playing games, learning about the wines brand story, exploring the valley where the wines are made and accessing recipes.
As with the other AR apps for alcoholic beverages we have seen before, brand stories play a central part in elevating the brands. What is interesting about this app is that it stretches over multiple brands; this invites exploration and is a different way to tap into the collection mechanic. The uniqueness of the experiences makes the whole thing feel artful and less of a marketing gimmick; wine and art has always been great partners.
Is AR for you?
There are many interesting examples out there of AR being used to promote products. It can be a gripping way to tell customers about your brands history, processes, or ways to enjoy it. It can add a layer of interaction and make existing promotions more compelling. If you are interested in finding what AR solutions we can make for you, request a plan: