Passengers at a bus stop in London recently got more than they had bargained for when they were plunged into a world of science fiction thanks to augmented reality advertising. After one woman was scared out of her seat by a crashing meteor, it was another passenger’s turn to be terrified by a tentacled monster trying to grab passers-by.
“We are immersed in advertisement from morning to evening. We interact with about 10,000 brands each day… 10,000 – that’s a huge number!,” says advertising and marketing professor Julien Intartaglia. “Which means that to stand out from this flood of brands in people’s everyday life, we have to be creative, resourceful in order to attract consumers’ interest and make them relate to the product.”
The question is: does this kind of advertising sell more?
The answer is: it’s still too early to tell. But the strength of augmented reality advertising is that it creates an experience consumers can share with others, turning them into ambassadors for the brand.
“If I am immersed in an unprecedented kind of consumer experience, I will share it with other people, and by doing this, I will raise other people’s interest, and that’s what’s interesting because it’s a new kind of advertising model which allows brands to play with the client’s involvement,” says Professor Intartagli.
It’s certainly an attractive advertising model, which has drawn interest from a wide range of brands, hoping to create a buzz and raise consumer attention.
One of them is major Swiss telecom company Swisscom.
“We have launched operations for several clients, for example advertising campaigns in magazines where we increase the content by adding videos, games, which may be of interest to the consumer and will extend their consumer experience. For a publisher, it’s also a chance to enrich the print edition of a magazine because, as we all know, unfortunately, sales in print editions are declining,” says Swisscom consultant Thierry Kunstmann.
While it’s still in its infancy, augmented reality advertising has a promising future, with consumers of every generation drawn to its unexpected blurring of the line between the real and virtual worlds.
A blurring that allows advertisers to transcend the public sphere and enter potential customers’ own, private world, allowing them to take part in and become the stars of this new form of reality show.