How Brands Like Audi and Pez Are Winning the AR Game

Augmented reality can fortify marketing efforts

The Audi quattro coaster is the world’s first AR experience to interact with a TV commercial. - Credit by Audi
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Pokemon Go made history in 2016 when it amassed $500 million faster than any other gaming app to date. It then broke yet another record by climbing to $1 billion in revenue in just six months. Although its popularity has died down a bit since, the game is still raking in a profit of between $1.5-$2.5 million per day.

If this little case study has taught us anything, it’s that the general public has an insatiable appetite for augmented reality.

Following in the footsteps of Pokemon Go, Google is set to launch Ghostbusters World, a new game which challenges users to chase after virtual ghosts in their own real worlds and capture them. Sony is supporting this new game with its powerful marketing engine, becoming one of many studios creating AR games for popular TV shows and movies.

The AR gaming market is expected to reach a staggering $280 billion by 2023. And when marketing is mixed with AR gaming, that’s when the magic happens. Consumers are provided with an immersive gaming experience, and brands have a completely captive audience to interact with their products. Just consider the possibilities for the struggling retail industry, losing ground to ecommerce providers.

Beyond brand awareness and increased interaction, AR gaming can fortify marketing efforts and even create new revenue streams. Let’s take a peek at what that might look like:

Audi’s quattro coaster commercial

The folks at Audi are staying true to their reputation for innovation and blazing the trail as usual. The Audi quattro coaster, the world’s first AR experience to interact with a TV commercial, will soon be released on Norwegian television. And here’s where it gets really smart: Upon watching the commercial, the device of the viewer’s choice, whether a smartphone or tablet, recognizes the film and allows the car to race out of the TV and into the user’s living room.

“AR technology is already a part of our products, for example with the head’s up display, providing the driver with information in the front window,” said Øyvind Rognlien Skovli, marketing and communications, Audi. “But we have played with the technology to see how we can make our cars, and our customers’ dream cars more accessible.”

And more accessible they certainly are (virtually, anyway). With the Audi quattro campaign, viewers can place a full-size version of the new A7 in their driveway, or build their own track to test the Audi quattro technology on all driving conditions inside their own home.

When asked how this use of AR will create revenue, Skovli replied, “It’s not a source of income, but a way to let the car customer start their journey in a proper manner in their own home. The quattro coaster is to underline our Audi ways and to invite more people into our Audi universe.”

Pez dispensers

Austrian candy company Pez used AR gaming to help increase sales of its candy refill packs while engaging its audience on mobile devices. They worked with Zappar, an augmented reality platform, to create an app where users are invited to help restore the ‘Pez World’ to its former glory by finding Candy Codes that appear on Pez refill pack inlays.

Scanning a Candy Code unlocks one of six games and characters, including timing and skill-based challenges, as well as puzzle games. The six Candy Codes are randomly distributed across the millions of pack inlays. Why is this important? Because it encourages the consumer to carry on buying until they find a pack with the code.

This always-on connected packaging strategy has provided Pez with a wealth of insights, including the most popular time of day that people engage with its products. This year, a further six games will be released.

The Dutch Lady

The name may not give the location away, but The Dutch Lady is actually a leading Vietnamese brand in the dairy beverages sector. Targeted at children and known for giving away collectible toys with its products, the brand decided to take advantage of the rise in mobile penetration by launching an app, The Flying Farm. By using the app, whenever a child scans the milk pack, they are transported to the magical world of the Dutch farm and Bella the cow.

They can then unlock more characters in the farm by scanning different toys, increasing engagement and driving further purchases. The award-winning app reached over 40,000 downloads and saw a 19 percent rise in product sales during its launch.

The takeaway

More than 60 years after its invention, augmented reality is finally becoming more widely adopted thanks to the rise in mobile phone users and improved technology. Rather than just an expensive party trick, businesses are finally starting to zero in on AR as a revenue stream. Not all brands have quite figured out the impact of AR on profits just yet, but one thing is certain: with its ability to generate such high engagement, it won’t be long before AR will start translating into profits for brands large and small.

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@MollStLouis Molly St. Louis is a freelance writer for Adweek.
Publish date: March 7, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT