Augmented Reality Continues to Gain Popularity

The most recent wave of Augmented Reality (AR) applications has provided some of the most impressive and innovative uses of this technology to date – and is sparking greater conversation about the unlimited potential AR has to promote products, educate consumers and even create advertising revenue.

In Business Week’s recent article, Augmented Reality Helps Sell the Product, several examples are cited ranging from a Cheez Doodle band targeted to tweens to an application launched on Facebook to promote Kia Motors.

Home Depot jumped into the world of Augmented Reality this holiday season by launching the first interactive gift card. The card allows the recipient to browse featured products, build a shopping list and ultimately redeem the card online.

The most innovative and high-profile use to date is the December issue of Esquire magazine.  The experience begins with the cover as Robert Downey, Jr. leaps to life on your screen to promote everything from the contents in the issue to his soon-to-be-released film “Sherlock Holmes” – including a clip from the movie. The issue contains several other AR symbols allowing you to interact with a Lexus Car ad, listen to music, look at photos and watch actress Gillian Jacobs tell a joke.

This issue creatively does something that has never been done before – seamlessly launch the print world into an enhanced interactive experience.  It shows the possibility of these two mediums accenting each other in a way never before imagined and captivates the reader in a one-on-one brand focused experience that is both entertaining and memorable.

Click the links below to read more and to visit Esquire’s AR site where you can download the player and experience the magazine first hand.

Godin’s Brands in Public idea hits a snag

Picture 38The launch of Seth Godin’s “Brands in Public” service through Squidoo last week has created quite a bit of conversation.

Brands in Public describes itself as the ultimate (unofficial) web dashboard featuring everything you need to know about what people online are saying about a brand – then encourages you to add your own comments for “debate” and join the conversation through “shout out” forums.

It’s actually a really fascinating site.  Brands in Public even proactively set up more than 200 brands just for the launch of the project.  But they did make a couple of mistakes.  First, they failed to ask the brands for their permission.  Second, they told the brands in order to maintain control of their dashboard they would have to pay $400 per month for the service.

While companies obviously recognize the importance of monitoring online conversations about their brand, turns out they don’t really want to make it quite so easy for the rest of us to read up on them in such a concise “unofficial” manner – and be required to pay for it.

Godin has quickly back peddled and agreed to remove the brands that were created without permission but will maintain the website as an opt-in.  Several high-profile brands remain active on the site including Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Company.  Visit Brands in Public to read more or to start a brand profile.  Visit Seth’s blog to read his apology.

(EDITORS NOTE:  The site pages for Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Company have all been removed since the original posting of this story.  The following links still remain as of 9/28/09 – Home Depot, Allstate, Molson and Mini Cooper.

Click here to visit Brands in Public