Augmented reality has been gaining momentum worldwide due to the quirky brand extension it offers to marketers. The concept was initiated as ‘mediated reality’ and used to create real-time engagement for environments such as scores on television at the time of match.
While the concept has now grown in terms of technology and marketing tactics, it is still in a very nascent and experimental stage in India due to various reasons.
“Augmented reality is enabled by backend calculation on television screens as well as normal video screens. The concept is more convenient on mobile and is still in its nascent stage in India,” said Amitabh Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director & COO, Prisma Global.
Augmented reality initially was used to give 3D view of automobiles and real estate properties. It was successfully leveraged by a number of brands. The Times of India launched Times Alive, an application that gave virtual behind the news access to readers. On holding the application against the news, readers are given options to view related images and videos.
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Nonetheless, augmented reality is restricted to unlocking images and videos in India as marketers are yet to experiment on the platform.
“Though AR sounds very interesting, where you are getting to make a static thing come to life, the consumers still find it a bit confusing. If you are hand holding the consumers to do it, then it’s very appealing to them, however, there are very few who will do it own their own. But yes, the awareness is increasing,” said Rohit Kaul, COO, Mobilox Innovations.
Technical glitches such as low mobile bandwidth and weak internet connection also hamper the growth of augmented reality in India, pointed out Chowdhury. However, if marketers concentrate on the content and go all out with the technology, they can leverage augmented reality to its optimum level.
Going international – way forward
Globally, the concept has grown to an extent wherein users have the convenience of booking a ticket by virtual access to the theatre through augmented reality. Understanding the usage of augmented reality from marketing and technological angles can help Indian marketers get their strategy right.
Find the perfect place: Starbucks Campaign
Starbuck’s Cup Magic for Valentine’s Day allowed users to view a romantic animation from the figure on the cup and send gifts to loved ones. Creating applications that can be used indoors rules out weak internet connection and other reach problems as free wi-fi can be provided.
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Sensible product connect: Volkswagen Up! campaign
To promote the new features of their Volkswagen Up, the brand used the gutter space in newspapers to give them a ‘ride’ across the paper and experience the features. The QR code redirected users to the app that gave users the Volkswagen Up! experience. Use of augmented reality should be in sync with the theme of the product so as to strike the right chord.
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Keep it ‘cool’: ZooBurst
ZooBurst is an application that allows users to create their own 3D story books. The app also offers various quirky features, including being able to flip a page with the motion of a wave. Thus, marketers need to move forward from images and videos and provide the cool quotient to attract the niche.
“Marketers are currently riding on the cool quotient that AR offers, however, the possibility of using it is huge. Imagine, you like the dress someone is wearing at an event, you capture the image and you are directed to an e-commerce store, where you can buy the exact same dress,” added Kaul.
Higher penetration of technology and high speed internet shall take a few more years to create a strong base in the country. Till then, marketers need to make sure that they get their penny’s worth through exploring the space.