Augmented reality is the “live direct or an indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound or graphics” according to it’s Wikipedia page. The basic idea is that you point your phone or other viewing device at some real world location and it will then show you something about it, either information, digital art or advertisements. The concept is still in the process of being birthed but the potential is immense, for any number of industries including advertising and branding.
Imagine you go to your favorite shop, pull out your phone, activate AR app and WHAM, what was once an ordinary store front lights up with information. The types of items they sell, sales events, profiles of people who work there, little commercial videos even your own purchasing history and frequent shopper status. Just imagine the Terminator vision from the movies and you are essentially there.
At the moment you need to use a webcam or a smartphone with the appropriate app in order to see the foundations of this new world. However that is merely a temporary state of affairs. One day we will be able to switch between the AR world and the real world at whim, likely wearing glasses not to dissimilar from the ones pictured below or even using contact lenses.
For now though, let us marvel at some of the imaginative ways branders have started to use augmented reality to give their campaigns that added special touch. Below are some of the most impressive examples I found on the web. Enjoy!
Digital billboards that turn the background landscape into Lego
Angels fall on people in Victoria Station in London.
You can find many more excellent examples of AR campaigns here. Don’t forget to comment and let us know of any other campaigns out there in the wilderness of the internet.
This Monday I was a spectator for one of America’s oldest sporting event’s which is simultaneously one of the countries oldest brands: The Boston Marathon. In it’s 115th year, the Boston Marathon is one of the biggest foot races in the United States and the world. What gives, I hear you ask. What on Earth does this have to do with branding. Well, this year, nearly 27,000 runners participated in the race. Added together with at least 2-3 extra attendants and family members, plus people just traveling to Boston to be a part of the party, the city of Boston is bursting at the seams with people, spending money on hotels, restaurants and on Newbury Street (the cities best shopping street). That, ladies and gentlemen, is one hell of a brand equity. Stores over staff for the weekend prior to the race to accommodate the rush of patrons, and as you see from the pictures, brands like Gatorade, adidas and Bacar
di all make sure that they get as much exposure as possible. In terms of unusual (i.e. not a consumable product) it is probably one of the most powerful brands in the world, along with the Glastonbury Festival and the Kentucky Derby. So for your brand viewing pleasure, some pictures showing the power of Boston Marathon brand.
- by Philip Beickler
An article appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek in December that profiled a man named Adam Kluger. Kluger is the head of his own boutique agency that specializes in placing brand’s names, logos and products into music videos, lyrics “and even song titles”. The article goes on to outline the financial benefits of such a practice for the struggling music industry.
As a music lover, I can’t imagine a more contrived and disingenuous practice than to ask a songwriter to be sure to include a product placement when they are attempting to create art. That said, Run DMC and Korn both loved their adidas and as the article states, Janis Joplin did ask the good lord for a Mercedes-Benz, so the practice of mentioning a company or a brand is not foreign to us. After all those artists were reflecting their lives, environments and (in Korn’s case) sense of humor. But isn’t this really going too far?
Certainly music and commercialism have always had a sort of love hate relationship, with the bottom line often perceived as winning. Modern pop acts have frequently been tagged as the disposable, short lived cash cows that (some argue) support the work of more serious, less profitable artists. Recently, the music industry has been losing the battle against its own consumers, the ones that crave music that is abundant and free. The intellectual property of bands, producers and songwriters is being literally stolen without public acknowledgement of that property’s being someone’s art, someone’s business and someone’s livelihood. So perhaps its only natural that its come to this. Along with the “album model” of sales becoming irrelevant (thank you Apple), it was time that artists and record labels find other ways to pay the bills.
I have to acknowledge that Kluger’s premise is brilliant. He’s not trying to discover the next Bob Dylan or Sam Cooke. He isn’t trying to tell us what music is bad or good, whether or not the songs will be the musical version of the 300-year-old man. He’s simply saying, if you are going to listen to catchy, current pop music, and you want the lifestyle portrayed by its interpreters, he’ll make it easier for you know what to purchase and from whom. And for that simple act of generosity, he’s going to make it easier for those you’re stealing from to make a profit.
We, at YBIS, are mainly concerned with the marketing justification for the companies that use this placement tactic. Is this sort of investment tantamount to celebrity endorsement on crack? Can you really have brand control if you are purchasing your way into pop culture and everyone knows about it? And what if the song that bares your name is a failure, or worst, the newest target of late night comics and social commentators a like? Bottom line: do these brands know what they are buying?
Celebrity endorsements has its own cemetery littered with the many graves of deals gone wrong and the brands that suffered at the hands of bad marketing judgment. Take the example of Pepsi’s disaster endorsement of Madonna, who has arguably been one of the most commercially successful musical artists of the last 30 years. Pepsi joyfully signed Madonna to a multi million dollar deal only to have it blow up in their faces when Madonna did what Madonna does best, sell records and create a controversy at the same time. By all accounts, Madonna was popular and loved by her millions of fans. It should have been a slam-dunk but it wasn’t. Pepsi underestimated the possible fallouts of their situation. While pursuing the powerful youth market, they forgot about the parents and as they say, the rest is history.
It is the same with endorsement in song. It has to be a matter of careful consideration and precise targeting. It will not suit for everyone. I can’t imagine that Jay-Z will ever rap about his investment bank or his preference in power companies. But he might talk about how he’s “BBM”-ing his main chick and rolling up to the studio in his hybrid powered Cadillac*.
Only time will tell what the future holds for this trend. What do you think?
*author’s note: Lincolns and Cadillacs are now cool again so get with it people. It’s like driving around your couch or Lazy-Boy without the gas guzzling guilt of the past!