15 Clever Augmented Reality Campaigns

national geographic augmented realityNational Geographic’s recent AR campaign let people interact with dinosoars.

Photo: Screengrab from Appshaker Ltd on Vimeo

In a world full of smartphones, augmented reality (AR) campaigns are a very smart and unique way for brands to engage with consumers.Instead of watching a television commercial, looking at an ad in a magazine, or seeing a quick web ad before your YouTube video, AR lets consumers actually interact with the brand.

Whether consumers are test driving a new car model, learning a new recipe, or playing a game, AR campaigns resonate with consumers in a way that most other ad platforms fall short. The ad becomes a game, versus just promotional material. And the product still comes across, which is, of course, the point of advertising.

More and more brands are starting to integrate AR campaigns into their ad budgets.  ABI Research estimates the market for augmented reality in the US will reach $350 million in 2014, which is up  from only $6 million in 2008.  

Check out which brands have put out clever AR campaigns that got people talking. 

Stella Artois' Le Bar Guide app allows consumers to find out how close they are to a Stella-serving bar and how to get there. The app also provides the phone numbers of local taxi services to help users get home safely.

Maybelline's AR app allowed consumers to see see what more than 30 different nail polish colours would look like on their hands without testing it on their nails.

National Geographic's AR app allowed people to swim with dolphins, pet a cheetah, and see ancient dinosaurs up close.

The cars on the cover of Top Gear magazine drove off of the page with the help of an iPad. There were in-magazine features as well.

Volvo S60's AR app allows you to drive the car (using your smartphone) through whatever room you're currently in. So if you're at work, a Volvo S60 will plow through your office and you will have to avoid hitting obstacles, including your co-workers' desks.

BMW's 3D paintbrush allows potential buyers to test drive a Z4 and create art at the same time. Paintings are produced with the colourful Z4 tires.

It is common in Greece to send love notes on a Lacta chocolate bar wrapper. This campaign let people send virtual love notes that were received in a text message format.

Lego's campaign used AR technology to show what toys that were still in the box would look like when assembled.

Nonprofits effectively use AR campaigns as well. This German campaign asked people to scan their iPhone above the photo of a model in a magazine. They would then see how she is hiding the evidence of domestic abuse.

Ford lets you see how their Grand C-Max is assembled and how all of its cool features, like park assist, actually work. It's a full test drive without ever seeing the car in person.

Everyone loves playing the games on the back of a cereal box. Nestle's AR campaign turned the box into a game console.

In the mood for more augmented reality?

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