With the growing popularity of Pokemon Go, the rise of Augmented Reality (AR) has become a subject of much discussion around the world.
All this while Augmented Reality has stayed undercover and not made its presence felt among the brands and smartphone users. This has changed with the introduction of this technology in the highly popular Pokemon Go game.
According to media reports, the Augmented Reality market is expected to reach $117.40 billion (at a CAGR of 75.72%) by 2022. Augmented Reality however, has not gathered enough steam in India as brands have stayed away from using AR as a method to market their products, while earlier this year we saw Tata Motors taking to Virtual Reality to promote Tata Tiago.
We asked Ashish Limaye, CEO – APAC from Happy Finish, the team behind the Tata Tiago VR campaign, if there would be any change in how brands would now approach AR for marketing, he said, “The change will happen on many levels, one being that they will have to start looking at it seriously as a mode of communication, just like you have the conventional media channels. They will have to dedicate their concentration on mobile toward Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality because there is no choice left for marketers today as consumers are shifting to mobiles as their preferred screen. In this case brands will have to shift towards developing technology around mobile which includes AR and VR while creating pipelines as to what they plan to achieve using these platforms.”
On being asked if brands would start spending more on Augmented Reality, Limaye said “I think the spends on Augmented or Virtual depends on the functions and objectives of the brand. Both the technologies are different, while Augmented is much simpler, Virtual is where you transport somebody from the real world into another one. I feel Augmented is easier, and in terms of the engagement factor for the brand, VR would be the way to go. I feel in a ratio of 30:70, 30 would be in the favour of Augmented.”
On being asked if brands would now use AR as part of their marketing strategy, Arnav Ghosh, MD, Blippar India, said, “Pokemon Go represents one of the moments when new technology like Augmented Reality breaks through from a niche toy for early adopters to something much bigger. Pokemon Go surely adds lot of arsenal to AR, but come to think of it, AR was always around at least for last 4 years , and has become much more scalable , all you need is a disruptive idea to scale it up and it holds true for all platforms.”
“Pokémon is certainly a game changer in the way it connects a user funnel from a digital to physical world, brands will no doubt want a similar impact through their investment in AR , but they have to believe in seeing through a finished product and appreciate the cost/investment of building such content. There are great AR campaigns done by various brands which have been disruptive , but Pokémon GO is a surreal account of when a new technology comes of age , and proves AR is about Internet on things and ( not of), this will make AR more mainstream,” added Ghosh.
Apart from Tata Motors, brands like L’Oreal, Times of India and Lakme have also used AR to connect with their consumers.
Times of India launched the Alive app so users can use the phone camera to click or scan any product, logo image or newspaper Ad and let the app discover for similar items and the option to buy selected items online.
L’Oreal also launched and Augmented Reality interactive ad for their hair color line “Casting Crème Gloss” created by WOWSOME. The ad had to be scanned to learn a tutorial on ‘how to apply hair colour at home’
Unilever’s Lakme launched a modiface-powdered AR app available on the Google Play Store. With this app, users are given the ability to try everything from prepping their skin to applying makeup. The app also includes over 250 real-life cosmetics shades, over 75 Pro-stylist looks and over 50 product recommendations.
We asked Anila Andrade, Associate Vice-President, Operations, 99Games if the success of Pokemon Go will change the way the mobile gaming sector is evolving. She said, “Pokémon Go has certainly set stage for Augmented Reality (AR)and that’s where most of the gaming industry will be headed towards. It’s like the new in-thing and everyone wants a piece of it. Similar to how the internet was cluttered with FarmVille, Angry Birds, Candy Crush & Flappy Bird stories in the past, Pokémon Go is good blend of a brand Pokémon marrying AR and in a very novel way.”
While Andrade foresees the gaming industry catching up on a lot of AR, according to her only time will tell how many more innovative AR titles will draw inspiration from it.