The smartphone today is much more than just our most personal device, with which we spend a lot of time. It is also a mobile entertainment platform that virtually accompanies us around the clock, connecting us continuously with our families, friends and the world. The telephoning function has moved into the background for many.
Instead of talking classically, most of us use text and voice messages through messenger services. Also by means of own photos and video functions more and more is communicated. The mobile camera is playing an increasingly important role in capturing and sharing snapshots, selfies and stories.
Recently, we have also seen the first augmented reality (AR) experiences. The smartphone camera helps to interlink real and virtual realities in order to create completely new experiences and immersive shared moments.
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Advanced realities for brands
But what’s behind the buzzword, what’s possible, and how can brands make the best use of AR to not only reach their audiences with a different format, but to thrill them in a unique way? How should brands shape advanced realities?
- Gamification – give users something to play: AR experiences can score with two things: with fun and added value. The former can be achieved mainly through gamification. If the user deals playfully with your brand, he combines positive experiences with it. In general, people are better at remembering things they associate with strong – at best good – emotions. A good way to awaken these feelings is through personalized offerings and playful shared experiences. In addition, people spend more time with games than with traditional advertising material or contributions. Through the mobile phone camera, they take an active part in the event instead of just consuming it passively. In this way, immersive experiences can be created that ensure a particularly high level of engagement through intensive user involvement.
- Create a virtual added value: Use AR to create added value for the user. Let him virtually test something before he buys, give him additional information, create shared experiences with people who are not or can not be there. Help him risklessly with his home furnishings, make-up or clothing style to experiment. Show different or even all options: from testing a lipstick, trying on a pair of sunglasses, placing the new sofa in your own living room, to the virtual omniscient expert – the possibilities are as varied as never before.
- Create shared experiences: AR experiences and features always use the built-in smartphone camera to expand the real world. Through this connection the experiences often invite to sharing and creating common moments, like hardly any other formats. Advertisers should also take advantage of this and consider the social aspect – the shared experience – as an integral part. An integrated call to action can also be helpful to stimulate even more interactions.
- Story before Technology:Despite all the possibilities and gimmicks: Lost AR and camera-first enthusiasm, not losing sight of the goal, whether it is about strengthening and anchoring the brand values in the minds of consumers or even boosting sales. The relationship to the brand or the product must always be in the foreground, so also here: form follows function – not vice versa.
- Be brave and create alternative realities: AR is still at the beginning. The possibilities are endless, the terrain barely explored. Take advantage of this, experiment as a first-mover with unprecedented formats and forms of storytelling – and do not be afraid to miss out on it. Courage makes you wise, experience too.
AR, chips and football
Hardly any other food is so much associated with the reputation of football games as chips. Also typical for football games are sometimes very emotional fans who cheer with their teams, celebrations or, optionally, mourning. Based on these two ideas, the chip manufacturer Lays developed a very good example of the use of AR in brand communication.
The campaign, designed specifically for football-loving consumers, combined AR with the Facebook Messenger and gave fans the opportunity to share their current emotions through AR masks during or after a game with friends. Via Facebook Ads Lays football fans on the action attentive and put them after a click on the advertisement over a Messenger Bot three AR masks to the selection, which cheered cheering, celebrations and mourning. The fans were able to record a video with the mask of their choice and send it via the messenger to friends.
The successful combination of playful elements and a – for many people – emotionally charged theme ultimately led to the success of the action, making it a true benchmark for any brand thinking about broadening their brand experience through AR.
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Christina Keller leads the Creative Shop for Facebook and Instagram in Central Europe. Together with her team, she supports companies and agencies in developing innovative ideas for the Mobile First environment. Before joining Facebook in August 2015, she worked for several advertising agencies – including Jung von Matt, TBWA and DDB – and later on for Deutsche Bahn.