KIA: augmented reality TV ads

Despite the release today of a new Juniper Research report outlining how global revenues for Augmented Reality applications are expected to approach $1.5 billion by 2015, the must see technology innovation utilised by brands across the board in 2009 and into 2010, is still somewhat stuck in first gear.

However, with the global install base of AR capable devices rising from 8 million smart phones in 2009 to 100 million smart phones in 2010, is now the ideal time to innovate beyond the mere novelty value of the new technology?

General consensus suggests that web-based and kiosk style AR campaigns currently have more merit than mobile configurations, primarily because of ease of use and the ability to build a campaign around an AR element as opposed to it being the core of the promotion.

One recent mobile AR campaign from automotive brand Kia is worth mentioning though, not so much for its content, but for the way it attempts to address a dual screen TV and mobile consumer.

The brand utilised its existing sponsorship with the Australian Tennis Open to push an AR code to viewers’ mobile devices during the game. Viewers simply pointed their Smartphone (iPhone or Android based) at the Kia logo on their TV screen in order to active an AR app, bringing forth a 3D representation of the Kia Optima vehicle for them to interact with on their handset. A unique ‘snap to screen feature‘ enabled them to retain the AR content once the logo had left their TV.

The interactive elements, however, were purely product based, with the ability to change the vehicle colour way, view specifications and turn the lights on and off.

Although the ability to connect TV and mobile with 3D content is an interesting one, it is a shame the brand didn’t build upon its audience's emotional interest in the broadcast itself (i.e Tennis) and develop a AR element that provided some form of memorable interactive entertainment.

Some have speculated that AR will not come into its own as a widespread marketing tool until 2013. If you’re eager to be among the brands that will set the benchmark in this still infant area then the focus will need to be on content and not reliant on the ‘innovation’ of the medium itself.

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