Is This Real Life? – The AR Argument

While trolling the trades and browsing the blogs I’ve come to the conclusion that the most popular and polarizing topics in advertising and marketing today revolve around QR codes, Augmented Reality and how to properly utilize them in mobile campaigns. While QR codes seem to be gaining more and more support, Augmented Reality, or AR, continues to be a hot topic.

Just what is Augmented Reality? PCMag defines AR as a type of virtual reality that combines real and imagined images in a real-time session.

A very basic example of AR would be the virtual yellow first down line that appears on most football broadcasts. However, as AR relates to mobile advertising and marketing, it revolves around an individual’s smart phone and its camera.

Still a little fuzzy on what an AR campaign is? Watch the video below explaining Starbucks’ recent Cup Magic campaign centered around their red holiday cups.

While the number of AR defenders and detractors is pretty even, you can count non-traditional marketing guru Sam Ewen as one of AR’s biggest fans. In his Mashable post from this past June titled “Why Augmented Reality is Poised to Change Marketing,” Ewen explains the vast promise that AR offers marketers.

“These technologies (and a variety of others) are radically changing the way the physical and digital worlds interface,” reads Ewen’s piece. “Because media and marketing are moving ever closer to the technologies that feature (and often reward) user engagement and user creation, these innovative types of input/output mechanisms will directly lead us into a new era of active and reactive brand communication and experience.”

With iPhones and Android devices flooding the market, the mobile AR campaign’s potential seems limitless; seems being the key word there.

Just like anything in advertising, an AR campaign presents certain barriers. A piece on Digiday outlines these hurdles as the following: Device, Process, Fragmentation, Activation and Confusion. Among the most chief of these problems is the fact that an individual must have both a smart phone (possessed by only 25% of the US population, according to the article) and the correct app for the campaign.

Until there is an all-in-one AR app similar to the recent QR and tag reader developed by Microsoft, this is going to continue to be an issue for AR campaigns moving forward.

Where do you stand on the idea of AR? Is there major potential in mobile campaigns or should AR just be limited to live promotions like this one? Share below!

by Daniel Sweeney | posted | in Advertising & Marketing
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