Over the past few years advertising and marketing with augmented reality has gained increasing popularity. Augmented reality involves a real world scene combined with computer generated objects that are displayed on a screen. Depending on the application, the camera ‘s position and orientation may be used to produce the computer generated objects.

Augmented Reality Buzz

All over the world there have been various uses of augmented reality in recent years creating a buzz. Large scale use of augmented reality has had companies use large video screens, sides of building, and/ or bystanders, along with other props to advertise their products. In London, Lynx used augmented reality to computer generate angels falling into a railway terminal. Passers-by saw a sign telling them to look up at a screen. They saw an angel fall to earth and were able to pose with it. Hyundai pulled off a stunt to endorse their new Accent sedan. They hung an Accent sedan off a side of a building and had someone walk down the side of the building to get into it. Then the fun began. The car was turned on and appeared to drive on a road projected onto the side of the building. Hyundai received a lot of chatter from this stunt.

Mobile Devices Used for Advertising

On a much smaller scale, companies have turned to mobile devices to advertise and market their products, engaging their audience over a longer time. To market the Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen created an interesting app. When a mobile device is pointed at a billboard advertising the Volkswagen Beetle, a Beetle would break out of the billboard sometimes onto digital ramps and other times real life objects in the scene. After breaking out of the billboard the car would fly through the air and sometimes perform tricks, flipping on the ramps. The Avengers movie teamed up with Wal-Mart to advertise the movie ‘s release. They created a mobile game in which characters were unlocked in Wal-Mart and used to fight against Loki and other enemies of the Avengers. Players could find objects throughout the store. When the mobile device was pointed at these objects, the character was unlocked for that player. The computer generated enemies also were seen throughout the store through the mobile devices. A couple of years back, Cadbury started a campaign to endorse their products. They created a game called ‘Qwak Smak ‘ that can only be played when a mobile device is pointed towards their brand of product. When the mobile device was pointed toward one of their products, ducks would appear from behind the product for a short time. The goal is to touch as many ducks as possible before they disappear. Although the game is simple, it has far reaching capabilities as prior applications would start based on the shape of the object not the brand.

Augmented Reality & The Future

These are just some examples of how augmented reality has been used in recent years and show a prelude to its future. Users will be able to point at billboards with their mobile devices and not only view entertaining scenes but also be able to buy the products using their mobile devices. With the increase of engaging augmented reality games and applications, there will be a major increase in marketing with these games and companies developing games and applications that work only with their products. This will be a major advertising tool going forward as the only way to play these games will be to buy the products to unlock the games. The more products you buy will also most likely lead to a more engaging experience.