Throw together Honda, augmented reality, Facebook's new "Did You Know" feature, Frappuccino Christmas trees and Tarantino's upcoming R-rated "Star Trek" movie and you just know it has to be another episode of...
HONDA'S ULTIMATE AR HOLIDAY CARD, TARANTINO'S R-RATED 'STAR TREK' & MORE
Augmented reality-based marketing initiatives seem to have lost some altitude in 2017 compared to recent years—and that's probably a good thing.
Once a "me-too" phenomenon, a growing number of brands' AR initiatives have a solid reason for being or are exceptionally well-suited to the target audience.
Indeed, though it's often mistakenly called "virtual reality" (sorry folks, AR and VR are still two different things), the former is expected to eventually eclipse the latter because of an endless number of possible applications.
With AR viewers now available in the checkout line at even the smallest gas-'n-sip, perhaps they'll hit the 3.7 million units projected to be shipped in the next year.
Whatever the case, when brands do AR right, it can be a blast. Here's a look at some of our picks for the year's best (at least so far):
Okay, we're cheating here—there's nothing AR about the experience. Instead, it's a movie featuring a dystopian vision for our AR-infused future. Here, it's all from the POV of "Glassholes." We have not yet seen the movie, but the trailer was too fun to leave off our list.
Longtime readers know John Lewis often makes our annual "Best of Lists." And they almost always involve the British retailer's integrated holiday campaigns, which are always crowd pleasers. This time out, spots featuring Moz the Monster (#MozTheMonster") and are amplified by a soft Moz took, branded mugs, PJs, storybook downloads and a Facebook AR selfie filter (alas, described by at least one pub as a VR filter, which it is not).
It's hard to tell how much of this is just video or actual gameplay, but this promo from THE VOID and Sony Pictures looks like a lot of fun. A couple of key points: THE VOID develops experiences for certain venues. This was not a game you could download and play on your own. It also underscores the difference between AR and VR. Both WIRED and The New York Times referred to this game as being VR. From the promotional video at least, it appears to be AR-based, which helps explain how people move through it without the disorientation that often comes with VR-based experiences. For those new to this, AR layers digital elements on top of the real world, while VR immerses the user in a 100% digital world or experience.
To help promote the launch of M&M's new caramel flavor, the ever-popular Mars candy transformed a dozen billboards into an AR arcade that people could access via mobile phone. According to ADWEEK, it resulted in more than 466 million consumer impressions.
Pokémon Go's got nothing on England's Forestry Commission. Its "Grufallo Spotter" AR app got kids to get excited about the great outdoors by getting them engaged with fun characters and activities based on the best-selling picture book. Check out a behind-the-scenes look, here and read more, here.
Readers may know that we're big fans of "Stranger Things" (Be sure to check out the latest "Rick & Rick" Podcast's season two recaps here). We're also fans of Snapchat (and more recently, Facebook) AR filters as promotional devices. So we were doubly pleased with Netflix's AR and VR-based filters for Snapchat. On the AR side, the filter applies Eleven's signature nosebleed to your face. Just don't raise your eyebrows—or you're thrown into the Upside Down. In the VR side, you're planted in Joyce Byer's season one living room, complete with creepy message lights.
It's like Pokémon GO—with beer. Earlier this year, Dutch beer brand Amstel teamed up with the mobile AR treasure hunt app known as Snatch to give away 10,000 free pints to people who "snatch" and hold onto their prizes for up to six hours. In addition to the free bear, there were also 20 bikes at stake, as well as three free trips to Amsterdam. But honestly, they had us at "AR" and "beer." But those other prizes work, too.
First there were the NFC-enabled album covers you could tap with your mobile phone to bring up a website featuring one of her singles. This year, Beatie Wolfe launched an augmented reality-based live streaming experience to promote her latest album, Raw Space.
You gotta love this campaign, which was awarded the Gold Lion at Cannes this year. As you enter the app, it superimposes elements from the make-believe band's albums onto your real-world surroundings, acting as gateways to an immersive Gorillaz House in celebration of the group's return after a seven-year hiatus. The festivities included more than 500 geo-located "House Parties" that saw 125,000 fans in 146 countries search for AR Gorillaz houses in their markets to stream Gorillaz' new album, Humanz. Let's just say it was a bit of a success. Kudos to all involved.
Hats off to Honda and agency RPA for this personalized AR experience for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation at the Children's Hospital of Orange County. The idea: bring an augmented reality surprise to sick kids in hospitals over the holidays. Be proud, people—a touching and truly meaningful application of this technology.
The Ricks revisit "Stranger Things" Season Two episodes 3 through 5—and discuss a Duffer Brothers comment about the possibility that Hopper is a character from the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi actioner "Predator."
'Stranger Things 2'—Eps 3-5; and is Hopper a character from 'Predator'?
A recent article in The Atlantic postulates that the history of Sears Roebuck & Company predicts nearly everything Amazon is doing.
It's a fascinating and apt notion when you look at the evolution of first Sears and now everyone's favorite online retailer.
Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten discuss the similarities and how a retailer once deemed too big to fail got disrupted by another—and wonder about what's ultimately in store (pardon the pun) for Amazon.
Why create a blockbuster new show and then hide it away where nobody will ever watch it?
Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten assess the first episode of "Star Trek: Discovery," the first new show developed for CBS All Access, a kind of Netflix dedicated exclusively to CBS properties.
It must have seemed like a great idea at the time—create a show with a built in, hardcore fan base to draw new viewers to this new app. But is it enough to pull in the Ricktators, both lifelong Trek fans?
The first episode is solid, the 15-episode first season surely enjoyable, and a second season has already been greenlit.
Yet the Ricks have yet to watch another episode.
See what they have to say about the show and the legacy of Trek. Then let us know your own thoughts about "Star Trek: Discovery" and CBS All access.
The ever-popular coffeehouse chain scores a seasonal hit with its Pumpkin Spice Lattes and now every brand and its mother has to have its own pumpkin spice something. Anything. It doesn't even seem to matter what it is.
Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten aren't having any of it. And when they audit some of the ridiculous products brands are offering this year just to jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon, you're not going to believe what they found. But fair warning: Its not for sensitive stomachs.
Movie fans love a good sequel. Here are a few of the films that may (or may not) have upcoming sequels in the works, along with hints of what their plots may hold in store. Get the details on the podcast.
Wonder Woman had better hope her mother's name is Martha. Or Else.
Blade Runner: Can Decker travel back in time to stop the inventor of the first replicant?
New ambassador Amy Adams: "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to outer space?"
The Queen's coming, and only a revolution will stop her.
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