Augmented Reality (AR) has seen a huge growth over the past few years and is increasingly adopted by advertisers to create engaging experiential campaigns.
Consumers are more and more open to augmenting their world with useful content, information and offers, while establishing deep emotional connections with brands. In fact, the number of mobile AR users is predicted to reach 200 million by next year, which means we will surely be seeing much more advertising experiences powered by AR.
From mobile apps for interactive catalogues to one-off publicity stunts in shopping malls to augmented product packaging ‒ the options are limitless.
We decided to compile a list of our favourite Augmented Reality campaigns from around the world in chronological order, starting from 2011, leading up to this day.
1. Lynx: Angels Will Fall (2011)
Agency: Grand Visual (United Kingdom)
To promote the Lynx Excite fragrance (a brand also known by the name AXE in some countries), a two-day marketing stunt was set up in Victoria Station (London) and New Street (Birmingham), where commuters were able to interact with virtual angels that appeared on a giant digital screen when they stood on the signs that read ‘Look up’. The campaign won two Bronze Cannes Lion awards in the Outdoor and Media categories and was inducted into the Outdoor Hall of Fame.
2. TG Mag Extra: Augmented Reality Magazine (2011)
Agency: Engine Creative (United Kingdom)
Top Gear Mag’s December 2011 issue brought together print and video through seamless engaging covers and content that came to life with AR technology. Besides winning the Editor’s and Reader’s choice awards at the FIPP awards, they published over 8 issues with 50,000-100,000 views per issue and 27% engagement rate and a CTR of 25%.
3. Absolut Truths (2012)
Agency: Great Works (Europe)
The campaign consisted of an app that users used to scan the neck hangers of Absolut vodka bottles, or downloaded from the campaign website. Once they scanned it, they were taken on a 3D tour of Åhus, a small village in Sweden where the product comes from. While they explored the region, they were also shown a step-by-step guide of how vodka was made, and they received a free drink recipe.
4. Coca-Cola and WWF: Arctic Home (2013)
Agency: Lexis Agency (United Kingdom)
Coca-Cola partnered with WWF to create awareness and raise funds for the conservation of the Arctic, which gives home to the polar bear. They set up an AR stunt in the London Science Museum for three months, where visitors were able to get close to a virtual family of polar bears through a big screen, creating an emotional connection. The campaign appeared 388 times in media with over 900 comments surrounding the topic.
5. Pepsi MAX: Unbelievable Bus Shelter (2014)
Agency: AMV BBDO (United Kingdom)
Pepsi MAX brought an unbelievable experience to London commuters. AR technology, they made people believe that they were looking through the bus shelter’s glass wall, when they were actually seeing a live video-feed on a HD screen with 3D animations. In just 7 days, the video had received over 2 million views and more than 24,000 shares, and the campaign won several awards.
6. Pizza Hut: AR Menu Experience (2014)
Agency: Engine Creative (UK)
This campaign integrated Augmented Reality to create engaging experiences that families and friends would enjoy during their ‘pizza nights’. By downloading the Oggle app, users could scan images on the pizza boxes and menus to access a family Trivia Challenge, browse through the interactive menu and even place an order directly from the app.
7. Lacoste LCST: Augmented Reality Retail Campaign (2014)
Agency: Engine Creative (Worldwide)
Engine Creative developed an improved app for Lacoste’s brand LCST with the mission to ‘bringing color to life’. Users just had to scan the image whenever they saw the campaign’s special Lacoste icon to try on the different shoes while interacting with extra branded content. The campaign used Image Recognition and Augmented Reality to bring an interactive product-viewing experience to over 15,000 users.
8. Stockholm is your Canvas (2015)
Agency: M&C Saatchi (Sweden)
This campaign for the Stockholm Art Week brought the city’s art scene to life through an Augmented Reality app that allowed everyone to submit their work and have it displayed in the official catalogue. Users just had to scan the Stockholm Art Week symbols to view the surprise artwork on their phone.
9. The Walking Dead Scary Shelter: Zombies Attack (2015)
Agency: Move 121 (Austria)
An award-winner Out-Of-Home (OOH) installation was built to promote the fifth season of The Walking Dead. A tram stop in Vienna’s 7th district was transformed into a “Scary Shelter” that superimposed zombies onto a live video stream of the bus shelter’s environment, making it seem like as if it was all actually happening on the street.
10. Next for Nigeria (2015)
Agency: AR&Co (Nigeria)
This Auggie Award winner campaign consisted of an app to support the presidential candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC) during the most recent Nigerian elections. Users pointed their device at any APC logo to unlock a special message for Nigeria and take a picture with President Muhammadu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
11. Hector&Karger: RE_ALITY Lookbook (2015)
Agency: Tap2C (Poland)
The Polish brand Hector&Karger used Augmented Reality to market their AW 15/16. Partnering with Tap2C, who use our Image Recognition and AR tech, they created an interactive lookbook named RE_ALITY. Readers had to scan the Viva! Moda magazine cover to view photoshoots, be able to see models from all angles, and even purchase items from the collection.
12. New Look: AR Campaign UAE (2015)
Agency: Engine Creative (UAE)
The UAE has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world. UK’s fast-fashion brand New Look decided to tap into this opportunity by developing the first AR campaign for students in the Middle East. The campaign allowed students to scan their New Look card to access special offers and interactive additional content, such as ‘creating their own look’ with New Look products. It resulted in great engagement rates, with almost 7 minutes spent in the app per session.
13. John Lewis: Man on the Moon (2015)
Agency: Stinkdigital (United Kingdom)
As part of the Man on Moon Christmas campaign for John Lewis, Stinkdigital created an app that used Augmented Reality to bring the moon to life. Users could point their phones at the Man on the Moon image on branded packaging and shopping bags to unlock a 3D interactive moon that released daily facts and animations.
14. Mandiri & WWF: Saving Rhinos (2016)
Agency: Redspace and AR&Co (Indonesia)
With only 55 Javan rhinos left in Indonesia, this campaign aimed to address the issue of their extinction by developing an Augmented Reality game. Users had to register to Mandiri e-cash by directing their phones towards a Mandiri ATM card. By doing so, a rhino appeared. Users could take care of the animal by submitting donations, which unlocked food, medicine and other treats in the game.
15. Dutch Lady: Flying Farm (2016)
Agency: AR&Co and Leo Burnett (Vietnam)
The Dutch Lady is a leading brand in the Dairy Beverages category in Vietnam that gives away toy collectibles with their products. Given the rise in mobile penetration, they decided to launch an app that, when scanning the Dutch Lady milk pack, transported kids to the world of Matt Truitman, the Dutch farm boy, and Bella the cow. As they unlocked new characters by scanning different farm toys, the game would become more fun, building awareness, engagement and interaction. The app achieved over 40,000 downloads and a 19% increase in product sales during its launch, as well as winning multiple awards.