Getting real, with AR

Sravanthi Challapalli | Updated on January 25, 2018

In the flesh ... but not quite. These are augmented versions of Vodafone’s popular mascot.

A look at some campaigns using augmented reality, being hailed as one of the next big marketing trends

In a campaign launched earlier this year, Vodafone brought back Cheeka, its pug. It didn’t stop there, adding several more of them in its #StrongerTogether campaign, which says Vodafone has been adding a tower every hour to enhance connectivity for its over 210 million customers. A few days later, it launched augmented reality avatars of its pugs on Live TV during the final of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League matches, through a specially created augmented enclosure where TV viewers could see the pugs mingle with the players and commentators.

Augmented reality (AR) is slowly taking hold in the Indian marketing scene. In fact, it is supposed to be one of the biggest trends in marketing in 2018. Discovery and commerce platform magicpin has tied up with a few brands to engage customers with AR on its app. Using methods reminiscent of the Pokemon Go game that became a rage a couple of years ago, it has tied up with brands such as McDonald’s, Decathlon, Chaayos, Smaash and others.

Customers are required to find treasures, such as a dancing burger at a McDonald’s outlet, and redeem it right away for a reward at the store.

Siddharth Banerjee, Executive Vice-President, Marketing – Vodafone India, said AR came in handy for the brand to get on with the 360-degree campaign. The badminton court is out of bounds to animals, so AR allowed the pugs, a prized Vodafone property, “to crash the party”, says Banerjee.

A special software which shaped the frame and motion path of the pugs helped create the AR animation. After the pugs were set up, the final output was then fed into another software, which was embedded into the camera used at the badminton court. It overlaid the 3D animation of pugs onto the camera’s output, which resulted in the AR pugs being live on court along with the commentators. Their ‘conversation’ was shot earlier and inserted into the live telecast later.

Anshoo Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, magicpin, says using AR for local commerce increases customer engagement for the retailer and creates video content that increases the retailer’s visibility and gets them more business. He adds that the scope for repeat use of an AR feature from one retailer could be limited.

The users’ hunt for these virtual objects at the store turns into a video that plays on their feeds on magicpin and Facebook, creating a buzz about the experience and shows off the stores too. Customers check in with a picture of their bill and selfie/video from wherever they go, be it eating places, fashion and beauty stores or service providers. This earns them points for their spending, which can be redeemed for vouchers.

The pictures and videos enable discovery and display of the store. Merchants not only get business but also actionable intelligence around competition, loyal customers, popular SKUs, work/home locality of customers through magicpin.

In November 2017, in the case of a prominent brand using AR, PepsiCo’s nacho chip brand Doritos collaborated with Snapchat to bring a snack-based face lens available for 24 hours to the consumers across India. The company said that in a day it gave them as much impact as a six-week campaign would.

AR campaigns came up as far back as 2012, with major retailers such as Shoppers’ Stop and Titan using it. When the chain store announced its sale through print advertisements, it used AR to give customers more details about various offers by taking them to a web store. When Titan launched its HTSE watch which could be powered by a light source, it marketed the watch through an app for Android phones, iPhone and Facebook. The app enabled users to see the watch lighting up gradually, to experience the powering up aspect.

Published on January 25, 2018

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