Augmented reality (AR) is poised to transform the world of interactive advertising. According to a report from Research and Markets Global, the AR and mixed-reality markets are forecast to reach $198.17 billion and $3.68 billion globally by 2025, respectively, representing a major opportunity for brand marketers in APAC to form deeper and more lasting relationships with their customers.
AR provides customers with a unique experience through their mobile handsets, said Jamie Gilroy, executive producer with AR studio Catalyst. And when customers enjoy their experiences, they’re apt to share them on social media, extending a brand’s reach to potential consumers. In addition, he said, AR enables brands to glean new insights about their customers, which they can use to improve engagement.
One brand that has doubled down on the AR experience is the Sydney Sixes cricket team, which competes in the Big Bash league around Australia and in APAC.
Its first foray into AR was in 2017, when the brand placed an AR ad in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, with the aim of boosting fan engagement. Consumers who downloaded the Sydney Sixes app pointed their smartphones at the ad, launching an AR experience that announced the start of the season and provided an avenue for fans to buy tickets. Gilroy said the campaign resulted in a significant increase in the number of tickets sold, as well as an associated rise in the value of merchandise delivered to customers.
“[The Sixes] are very innovative when it comes to using AR in their campaigns,” said Gilroy, whose studio worked on the project. “They are currently working on a second AR campaign that will use AR to help fans find their seats at the stadium. When they point their phones at posters, they will see life-size renders of key players appearing in front of them.”
Fun And Games
Other brands across different industries are also experimenting with AR.
Bandai-Namco, for example, is the storied video game developer behind such famous games as Pac-Man, as well as more recent titles including Tekken 7 and Ace Combat 7. The aim of its recent branding campaign in APAC was to help consumers make the connection between its older games and its current roster.
Working with VMLY&R, Singapore, Bandai-Namco created an interactive video asking people who they would like to become through the power of video games. Consumers were invited to look for “Easter eggs” in the videos; those who spotted the hidden messages were in the run to win a variety of prizes.
Bandai-Namco then worked with an AR developer to create an AR Facebook page filter, which allowed gamers to try out the hairstyles of their favourite characters and experience the transformation firsthand. They were then encouraged to share these looks with their friends, with prizes offered for doing so. Social media activation was also included, with the hashtag #WhoWillYouBeToday developed for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
“We were looking for a fun way to capture how every Bandai-Namco Entertainment game is immersive for the player, while seamlessly featuring all the various titles that make the brand so great," said Joaquim Laurel, creative director at VMLY&R Southeast Asia and India. “We were inspired by the in-game character selection screens because that’s where players have the chance to be someone new and become part of all the epic worlds Bandai-Namco Entertainment’s franchises offer.”
’Tis The AR Season
In Canberra, Australia, Marketplace Gungahlin, a major shopping mall in the region, has been using AR to attract customers during the busy Christmas season. One of the ways is with an AR filter on shoppers’ phones that transports them to Santa’s Workshop to meet Santa and a cheeky Elf.
More than 12,000 customers experienced the AR engagement in 2017, according to Martin Pascoe, head of marketing and customer experience. He expected that number to grow this past season.
“We wanted to offer local families a different experience this year, and could not be happier to [offer] a virtual Santa photo experience,” he said. “Christmas is stressful enough, so we wanted to provide a solution for the ‘screaming child Santa photo’ that many of us parents have experienced at some stage.”
Marketplace Gungahlin uses a variety of metrics to measure ROI, including reach, engagement, and sentiment analysis. “We also analyse overall centre foot traffic and sales comparisons for the campaign period,” Pascoe said.