Augmented Reality: The Next “Unreal” Challenge for Marketers

By | May 18, 2011

“Augmented Realty” (AR) may be the next big move in marketing, say observers. Sound implausible? Inc. magazine reports that the” Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater” marketing folks are already doing AR via an application that lets users put themselves – or at least an image of themselves – at a hot ‘n wet location via mobile phone.

In partnership with JetBlue, the St.Pete/Clearwater organization started by posting QR codes in the New York subway. A quick scan via smartphone entered New York’s winter-bound commuters in a branded contest to win a trip to the Florida beaches. Later, the augmented reality campaign enabled users to picture themselves at the beach or other popular tourist locations in the area.

How common is the AR technology? Juniper Research predicted that “Enterprise apps with AR elements are expected to account for the third-largest proportion of revenues by 2015.”  In October 2010, Jen Wilson, director at the Project Factory, said AR is where the Web was in 1994.” Considering that everything gets faster every minute, Wilson’s prediction is already behind, leaving AR right about on top of us in the next year or two.

As for more on how marketers are already using AR, The AgencyBlog adds a few more current statistics and cites some edgy applications of the burgeoning technology.

Vivian Rosenthal, creator of GoldRun, an AR application for mobile phones, says marketers should be prepared to deliver more of the same. Hip and edgy, AR campaigns are innovative, inexpensive, and emotionally rich. AR also boosts the relationship connection and offers unique geo-target opportunities to consumers searching for the “best in local.”

Inexpensive, you say? Well, how inexpensive? “It honestly depends on the scope of the project, but AR campaigns can be as inexpensive as $5,000 and as high as $100,000,” says Rosenthal. “That’s nothing compared to print, and in many ways it’s worth the risk in my eyes.”

So let’s see…. A variable data and variable image direct mail campaign with personalized QR code that lands the user on a specially designed mobile web page enabled with AR … followed by a response-sensitive email invitation with discount offer…

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

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