Op-Ed: AR Is Turning The World Into A Playground For Creative Brands

Op-Ed: AR Is Turning The World Into A Playground For Creative Brands
Op-Ed

Tool of North America creative director Clay Weishaar explores how brands can use the tech to enhance physical experiences in retail, travel, education and more

PSFK Op-Eds
  • 10 may 2018

What if someone told you ten years ago that your everyday surroundings could be turned into something greater through the use of your mobile device? Would you have believed that your phone would be able to transform a street into an adventure, where you can interact with your favorite characters, or turn a bus stop ad into a holographic pop-up shop that offers exclusive products from your favorite brand?

In 2016, Pokémon Go captured the world’s attention and showed a mass audience how our everyday environment can be transformed into a playground. Now, in 2018, the creators, Niantic Labs, are planning to do it again, this time tapping into the world of Harry Potter with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The intellectual property and stories that we have grown to love are about to break out of the flat screen and come alive in our physical space, immersing the viewer in unforgettable experiences that elevate play to a new level.

Google’s recent collaboration with the Unity game engine allows the 3D spatial data within maps to be downloaded and placed on top of the real world, giving us a view of the city and infrastructure through the lens we choose. Augmented reality technology like this, which was once only available to a select few, is now available to a widespread group of technologists and content creators. Today, Apple’s ARKit is available on 380 million iPhones, and Google’s ARcore is on over 100 million Android devices. This opens up huge opportunities for creators, technologists and brands to work together and pioneer a new form of location-based spatial storytelling. Social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat are providing frictionless augmented reality experiences that can be instantly served up to billions of users with the click of a link or launched through a Snapcode. It’s safe to predict that in the coming years, every mobile device will have spatial awareness.

Along with these new mobile technologies, the greatly anticipated Magic Leap One is set to come to market this year, along with Magic Leap World. This spatial computing marketplace will serve as a platform for augmented reality and leave content creators and brands to explore the medium. By connecting us through a seamless and persistent integration of the digital world into our physical world, these technologies are making us closer to our friends and family, more productive at work, more entertained and better informed. As this technology is put into play, it’s important to watch other areas that AR is thriving in, which can inspire the next big step in the space. It can be utilized anywhere with the right idea and context. Other examples where AR can amplify and enhance our physical experience include:

Collaboration: Vuforia Chalk allows users to connect with friends remotely and collaborate to solve a problem, drawing on the world in front of you in chalk as they work together to come to a conclusion.

Education: Google Expeditions are proving another way for students to experience the world and learn about science, history and nature. Students can walk around their own classroom and, using AR, can see a DNA strand up close or look into the eye of a hurricane.

Retail: Brands can reward consumers who stop at certain locations, giving them access to exclusive merchandise and deals. This creates a relationship between the brand and their consumers by giving them a fun and memorable experience, while giving them something for creating that relationship. Although similar experiences have been tested with social media, AR adds another layer and allows the brand to show off its personality.

Travel: Using Cloud AR for city-scale shared AR experiences, users can see the same digital content and interact with each other in augmented reality. Employing this as a way for tourists to explore the city they’re visiting is just one way this technology can be utilized, and the possibilities will only grow as it’s used more and more.

As the technology continues to evolve, the purpose of the experience for any brand will be a huge factor in the success of a campaign or project that wants to implement this technology into its marketing plan. The end user experience should be a shared space that is contextually relevant and provides immersive, informative and delightful interactions.

When creating a experience in AR developers should ask themselves: Does this truly take advantage of augmented reality in a way that can’t be done as an existing mobile experience? What do we want this to ultimately accomplish? How do we design around context? Is it purely for entertainment? Education? Utility? To advertise a product? Though AR has become familiar to the public, its vast uses and best practices are still uncharted territory.

Clay Weishaar is a creative director at Tool of North America. His work has been honored by Cannes Lions, the One Show, D&AD and the FWA. His work has been featured on the Creators Project, Fast Company, Creative Applications, Mashable and many others. Brands he has worked with include Nike, Apple, Google, Netflix and Airbnb. Most recently he has creative directed a variety of VR projects, including IBM, Ford and Adidas.


Lead Image: Pokemon Go augmented reality stock photo from Matthew Corley/Shutterstock

What if someone told you ten years ago that your everyday surroundings could be turned into something greater through the use of your mobile device? Would you have believed that your phone would be able to transform a street into an adventure, where you can interact with your favorite characters, or turn a bus stop ad into a holographic pop-up shop that offers exclusive products from your favorite brand?

+advertising
+Apple
+AR
+AR & VR
+augmented reality
+Automotive
+Brand Introduction
+cities
+consumer goods
+content marketing
+Design
+Facebook
+fashion / apparel
+fitness / sport
+gaming
+Google
+IBM
+Luxury
+mobile
+Mobile
+nike
+op-ed
+psfk op-eds
+Public
+retail
+technology
+travel
+USA
+work

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