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AR Shakes up Marketing

Augmented reality is one of those up-and-coming technologies that get people excited. While we often think about “AR” in terms of gaming, the technology is being applied to several different vertical markets—ranging from healthcare to education. Companies are particularly looking to adopt this game-changing technology for marketing and advertising purposes.

For instance, when Ford,, was looking for an innovative approach to revealing its 2013 Ford Fusion, it created a smartphone app with augmented reality. The app allows a virtual test-driving experience; as you complete courses, the design and features of the new model are slowly revealed. To activate the app, you must find a Ford logo and capture it using your smartphone’s camera. The app augments the logo, turning it into an onscreen button that, when pressed, begins the program.

Another company using AR as a form of connected, interactive marketing, is Tic Tac, The brand’s latest campaign, called “Shake It Up,” will take advantage of traditional mediums such as TV, billboards, and print advertisements, with the added flair of augmented reality. The company launched a free app, Tic Tac Viewr, for iPhone and Android that will bring its advertisements to life.

Consumers will be able to interact with product packaging, outdoor billboards, and print ads by downloading the app, then pointing their device at the ad to see “colorfully illustrated, tongue-in-cheek tips on how they can shake up their everyday life,” all using markerless AR, which does not require AR “markers” (2D objects that prompt a 3D experience when viewed through the lens of a device).

Tic Tac says each ad will offer a different experience. The app will also enable games, such as “Tic Tac Tibby,” which turns the box of Tic Tacs into a background for a game where the user scores points by tossing mints into the mouth of a 3D-rendered character.

Thanks to the widespread adoption of connected devices with integrated cameras, GPS chips, and compasses, it is more plausible than ever that augmented reality technology will take off. The question is, what will drive adoption?

According to Jay Wright, senior director, business development, Qualcomm,, media applications and interactive marketing campaigns have the potential to be AR’s “killer app,” so to speak.

Wright says the technology allows marketers to engage consumers at three different points: the point of advertising—usually a print ad or a poster; the point of sale—perhaps AR-enhanced product packaging or interactive retail displays; and the point of use—by providing additional content or services such as how-to demos or games once the product is purchased and taken home.

The possibilities are rather endless, and Tic Tac is just the latest company aiming for a cutting-edge marketing campaign that takes advantage of connected devices and technologies. If you live in New York City, be sure to keep an eye out for the second phase of Tic Tac’s AR campaign—a three-tiered billboard in Times Square featuring “an AR experience with an unexpected social twist.”
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