Big brands show how to use augmented reality

05 February 2010

NEW YORK: Samsung, Home Depot and Coca-Cola are among the brands which have made the most effective use of augmented reality.

Devora Rogers, associate director of Interpublic Group's Emerging Media Lab, which focuses on emerging technology, identified these companies as having successfully utilised this new platform.

Rogers argued that it was vital for this kind of activity to move beyond being simply a "gimmick", and provide something of genuine value to consumers.

Samsung, the Korean electronics firm, has developed a tool allowing shoppers to see what one of its flat-screen TV sets would look like hanging on a wall in their home.

Consumers are required to visit a dedicated website, print out a "3D icon sheet," attach it to the area where they are thinking of placing the television, and take a picture of this space using a webcam.

This photograph is then streamed on to their PC screen, with a scaled down representation of the TV set overlaid, so they can ascertain what it would look like when it is put in place.

According to Rogers, "this is the 'magic' element of AR: being able to see digital imagery layered onto the physical world to help you make better choices."

Home Depot, the home improvement chain, employed augmented reality to enhance the cross-channel credentials of its loyalty card programme.

Members of this scheme who visit and "snap" their card with a webcam are then directed to the "3D Project Starter", where they are able to view and buy products and plan their own designs.

As previously reported, Coca-Cola, LG and McDonald's all used AR in promoting their respective tie-ups with Avatar, the pioneering 3D movie.

The soft drinks firm added tags to 140 million cans of its trademark brand, enabling shoppers to access a range of original online content, while the fast-food chain created a game tied to its "virtual world."

"What is important in the Avatar AR executions is the ability to deepen engagement with the Avatar story and brand across multiple channels and partners," said Rogers.

"The more coordinated these efforts, the better the experience will be for consumers."

Data sourced from IMediaConnection; additional content by Warc staff