Last week we looked at how Pokemon Go has changed the shape of augmented reality (AR) for marketers. Yet, for all the furore around the campaign and its undoubted success, AR has been around for some time.

In fact, the older members in our office remember campaigns from as far back as 2012. This got us thinking, and debating, as to which were the most engaging, entertaining and memorable augmented reality campaigns we had seen. Here’s where we got to – cue Top of the Pops countdown music…

  1. Snickers – Hunger Bar

This made the cut because everybody knows somebody that gets hangry (angry about being hungry). Last year, as part of its long-running “You’re Not You” campaign, Snickers launched a mobile app that enabled consumers to create images related to their particular hunger symptoms and share them socially calling out family and friends for acting “snippy,” “loopy,” “cranky,” “confused”.

  1. John Lewis – Man on the moon

No countdown is complete without ‘a John Lewis Christmas advert’, even in the height of summer. Last year’s tearjerker had its own mobile app, which included, among other things, an AR feature that, when held to the moon, delivered interesting factoids. Lovely.

  1. Pepsi – “Unbelievable” bus shelter

In at number eight, the old bus shelter trick. Back in 2014 Londoners witnessed a number of surreal and unbelievable street scenes on New Oxford Street, ranging from flying saucers to promenading tigers. The video of the AR campaign went viral, with over six million views on YouTube, making it one of YouTube’s most viewed advertising campaigns that year.

  1. Cadbury’s – #FreeTheJoy

2014 was good year for AR. Cadbury also made a cracking play using Europe’s largest digital screen it took over Waterloo Station with Augmented Reality game, which invited passengers to interact with the Motion@Waterloo screen.

  1. Sony – Headphone Music Festival

This makes the cut based on sheer cool value. Back in 2013, In Shibuya, Tokyo, people who wear headphones (or wanted to try them) were treated to a one of a kind Music Festival called the ‘Sony Headphone Music Festival’. Activated off typical band tour posters in key locations, The AR Music Festivals were created using Sony’s proprietary technology with four best-selling local rock groups.

  1. ASOS – Blipp to Buy

In the earliest example on this list, clothing e-tailer ASOS used Blippar to bring its consumer magazine to life in 2012. It presented its readers with click-to-buy icons so they could purchase the items straight off the page through their smartphone. While simple, this makes the cut on the basis on perfect targeting to its target demographic and straight-up links to sales.

  1. Pokemon – Pokemon Go

The AR campaign that seems to have reinvigorated both the medium and the brand is the talk of the town right now. And why not. But for us, it only makes it to number four.

  1. The Royal British Legion – #MyPoppy

In 2015 The Royal British Legion wanted a campaign to get more people buying poppies and engage young people in the cause. It used Blippar on posters, ads and newspaper mastheads where the poppy revealed a poignant video as well as unlocking compelling stories, the opportunity to donate, view the campaign gallery and to get involved with the Legion’s social campaign #MyPoppy.

  1. Volvo – Driven by augmented reality

In order to promote its new S60 model Volvo created an AR experience that allowed users to drive a virtual car. It was activated by scanning a YouTube video, and the user could then drive the car round a track by tilting their smartphone left and right. Volvo said the results were “outstanding”, with a traffic increase of 293% to volvocars.com. Now that’s congestion.

  1. National Geographic – The Adventurer

In terms of both early benchmarking and being a cool, engaging and interesting use of the technology, this was our stand-out number one. Back in 2013, National Geographic allowed people to embrace their inner David Attenborough to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of National Geographic Society. By interacting with a digital screen, commuters were able to “Step into the World of National Geographic” and see themselves in some of the most amazing scenes that nature has to offer, from playing with dinosaurs to going on a spacewalk with astronauts.  


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