Real in Reality?

Addidas ARMarketers are all looking for the next big thing that will get consumers to take notice and act. A few things have gotten a lot of buzz in the last year – iPads and their apps, Google + and of course, QR codes.  How long will it take each of these to effect the masses is anyone’s guess. But based on history, while we’re waiting for that to happen, you can be sure something else will step up to the plate and demand consumers’ attention. Based on a few recent announcements, the next star may be Augmented Reality (AR).

A few recent applications have caught my eye across really diverse categories: First, I see Adidas shoes launch a line of sneakers that will let you play a game in an AR world by simply holding up your sneakers to a web cam. How cool is that!

Then Cadbury, in the UK, has developed an AR game for smart phones that’s enabled when their candy bar is photographed, bringing the product to life in the game. They say it’s the very first AR game triggered by packaging.

And then, an apparel company develops an AR tee shirt, that animates the design when viewed with either an iPhone or Android device.

It’s not surprising that this unique technology is growing and being adopted by all kinds of “offline” manufacturers. Cause engagement is king, whether in the Social Media world or anywhere else. And augmented reality gives brands another tool to engage. But will it stick as way to ‘really’ add meaningful engagement, or heaven forbid, loyalty? Or will this be today’s version of the mood ring? (Anyone old enough to remember those? Hmmm didn’t stick around, did they?) Is the effect technology like this will have on real, or just AR itself in the end?  Thoughts?

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