JOHANNESBURG: Burger King has tapped into the enthusiasm for augmented reality (AR) with its own AR game, Defend The King, which is replacing toys as a purchase incentive in its South African restaurants.

"Moving away from toys is an initiative from Burger King to cut down on plastic that will end up in a landfill by finding a solution that is kinder to the environment," said Ezelna Jones, head of marketing at Burger King South Africa.

"We also live in a digital age so … we developed a game that's engaging and interactive," she added.

Bizcommunity described the move as a "bold step", given that many meals are bought in the chain specifically for the plastic toys that have been a marketing feature for some years.

The new approach requires a little more effort from consumers, who will first have to download an app from Google Playstore or the Apple App Store; then, when they buy a Junior Meal, they can gain access to the game by using their phone to scan the game marker in the restaurant.

"Burger King is one of the first brands to understand and embrace the benefits of these games for kids," said Richard Melvin, sales and marketing director at BizAR Reality, which helped develop the game.

"Most are already tech savvy and generally looking for something that is fresh, exciting and entertaining while enabling them to still be aware of their surroundings instead of lost in a screen," he added.

Warc's Toolkit 2017 expects that the use of virtual and augmented reality will be a significant trend in the coming year. Readers can download a free summary here.

Burger King recently extended its African operations into Kenya, opening its first outlet in a mall in the upmarket Nairobi suburb of Karen as it seeks to capitalise on the growth of the country's middle class population.

Data sourced from Bizcommunity, AFK Insider; additional content by Warc staff