A Very Augmented-Reality Christmas

The holiday season means big marketing campaigns that often feature cutting-edge technology. I recently wrote about Starbucks’ cool Cup Magic promotion, which uses augmented reality to bring the coffee chain’s products to life. Other brands are using AR to grab attention at the end of 2011. Here are a few, along with the reasons I admire them.

Chanel
The famous French fashion label is promoting its J12 line of watches with an iPad and iPhone app that includes an augmented reality feature. By holding their phones over their wrists, or by holding their wrists up to their iPad cameras, shoppers can virtually try on the luxury watches.

Why I like it: Many prospective customers are too intimidated to go into a store and try on Chanel watches. Augmented reality makes it easy to see what these gorgeous timepieces look like on your wrist. And seeing yourself wearing a Chanel product is a powerful motivator for purchase. Studies have shown that if you touch a product or try it on, you’re more likely to buy it.

Bratz
The Masquerade line of Bratz dolls comes with one mask for the doll and another for the child. The mask launches an augmented reality feature on the Bratz website. While looking at herself via a webcam, the girl can get a “virtual makeover,” adding lipstick, face paint, and a wig to her masked look. The image can then be saved, shared, and printed.


Why I like it:
No toy has ever included an interactive element like this, so it stands alone in the holiday gift marketplace. Also, it lets girls play with makeup without any mess!

Debenhams Stores
This British department store added a gaming element to AR. Shoppers visited one of five pop-up stores and used an app to find ten “invisible” party dresses. Once they did, they could take a picture of themselves virtually “wearing” the dresses and then share the photos with friends.

Why I like it: Turning shopping into a game is one great idea. Letting shoppers see what they look like in the dresses is another, since it increases the likelihood of a purchase. And a third great idea was that anyone using the app received a 20% discount on the Debenhams mobile site, which encouraged participation and drove awareness of mobile shopping – a big trend for 2012.

Macy’s
Our Herald Square neighbors have a fun interactive promotion for the holidays that ties in to their “Believe” campaign, benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Shoppers download an app and point their phones at an in-store camera. The result is a photo that includes a character from the charming animated special Yes, Virginia. The photo can then be shared on Facebook or through a holiday e-card. Shoppers can even post the image on the Macy’s Facebook Page. Each week, whichever photo gets the most “Likes” will become Macy’s Facebook profile picture for that week.


Why I like it:
Obviously this campaign brings kids into the store, but the Facebook photo competition keeps the promotion alive days after you’ve left. In fact, you don’t even have to visit the store to participate: by printing out a marker and pointing the app at it, you can see an animation of Virginia ice skating.

Get ready for more AR campaigns as the technology improves, the price comes down, and agencies come up with more exciting ways to use it. Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving and a very augmented-reality Christmas!

For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.

P.S. Speaking of Macy’s, we’d like to wish good luck to Katie, our Director of Client Services, who will be a handler for the Uncle Sam balloon in tomorrow’s parade. Stay warm!

photo by Kevin Harber

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