Mark Zuckerberg showed once again that he had trouble reading the room with his Metaverse announcement late in 2021, with social media lighting up with people decrying the idea of leaving the real world behind as Zuck encouraged us all to jump into an alternative virtual reality. The vision he outlined was pretty advanced for the average person’s understanding of augmented reality and virtual reality, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t coming, and it doesn’t mean that some of it isn’t already here.
Don’t panic! The Metaverse by some estimates is 10 years away, and what it will look like is unclear at best. In very broad strokes we can see greater interfacing between the real world and the digital one. If you’ve ever played around with Snapchat filters, you have already been playing in the Metaverse. Remember Pokemon Go? Another prime example of augmenting the real world with animated Pokemon you had to capture to progress in the game… even if it led to people stepping out in front of traffic whilst out hunting as they became completely absorbed in this altered reality version of the world*.
The good news is, brands are already beginning to play in this arena – digital ownership is being explored in NFT’s, and AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are becoming more and more mainstream. It’s also pretty easy to begin implementing in your marketing, and as always, it’s much easier to learn the ropes by being an earlier adopter rather than waiting to jump on into a much more sophisticated industry that’s had time to adjust how it does things.
* Not-so ‘Fun’ fact: Pokemon Go is thought to have contributed to nearly 150,000 traffic accidents and over 250 deaths in the first 148 days after its launch.
The key thing AR and VR can currently bring to brands is experiences that engage their audience and provide some additional value to them. In a nutshell – Augmented Reality brings a digital layer into the real world, while Virtual Reality takes you into the digital world. There could be overlaps in the future – with a digital layer over the real world that exists simultaneously, and that is viewable alongside real world. If you have read about the Google Glass project or the Facebook Ray-Bans project you can already see how this might work.
There are a few easy ways to bring AR into your marketing today. Both from Meta/Facebook and available on platforms like Tiktok, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. You might have already used them with the effects and filters that give you cats ears, add a ‘beauty filter’ to your otherwise quite ordinary face or some other fun and entertaining use of this tech. These are all examples of accessible augmented reality implementations that are fun to use in a world where people chase fun. Being able to provide experiences like this helps to create shareable experiences that add emotional value to your audiences’ interaction with your brand. And so, if you are thinking of getting into Augmented Reality, think ‘fun first!’
Last Christmas we had a play around with Augmented Reality for our 2021 Christmas card for our clients. Each Christmas we like to give our clients a small gift to say ‘hey’ and we usually send out locally produced gifts to send out with our season’s greetings.
This year though we created a Christmas card with a difference in collaboration with Abergast and Graeme Smith. The result was a laser cut wooden Christmas Tree that was a lovely desk decoration in its own right but that had an added digital layer that, when our clients viewed the tree with our effect transformed the tree into a decorated 3D digital tree complete with falling snow. Take a look at our video of the tree and the effect in action below:
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It was a fun experiment with a technology that could add that extra layer of engagement to everything from posters and exhibition stands at trade and consumer fairs to making fun in-store experiences with AR enabled packaging that generates user shareable content for brands.
If you want to see how this works in real life, try pointing your phone camera at either the Facebook or Instagram QR codes in the picture below, then point your phone at the Christmas tree.
You can layer digital experiences that add value to something you are already doing to give it some extra magic. Maybe you want to show someone how your product will make them feel, transport them to a different world or, give how you can play with the technology purely for the entertainment of your audience.
Entertained customers are engaged customers, and engaged customers are more likely to emotionally connect with your brand. That emotional connection leads to sales, online chatter and the creation of a buzz around what you have produced. It means positive interaction and an increase in social sharing that can help grow your audience.
For instance, we work with Faith In Nature and think it would be wonderful to have an animated AR butterfly as a hidden part of their packaging when you point your phone at it in stores. Our client Mr Fothergill’s always have a stand at RHS Chelsea featuring a show poster, it would be great to bring this to life with animation and sound to encourage this captured audience to pop by the stand to check it out.
HECK love to have fun with their brand and there are endless possibilities for virtual BBQ fun with AR, or our friends at White Peak Distillery could feature hidden information cards on their bottles about the blend and the story behind their whiskies, gins and rums. As you can see there are plenty of ideas that would be great to bring to life.
Well, this could be it. While we wait for the Metaverse, now is the perfect time to play with some of the technologies that may well feed into it – and AR and VR are potentially the most accessible at the moment. It provides a brilliant way to reinvigorate your social streams and provide an extra layer of experience at events.
If you’d like to learn more about our Christmas Tree, the process, and to talk about how to use AR in your next campaign, then get in touch!
If you’d like help with digital marketing in Derbyshire or much further abroad, we help local businesses close to our Bakewell headquarters as well as big brands from across the UK and further overseas. For a no obligation chat, please email us on email@example.com or give us a call on 01629 810199.
If you’d like help with digital marketing, ads management, SEO, copywriting, websites, branding or social media management… or anything else related to the internet and digital, then get in touch with us. We’re a friendly bunch.