Ok, I confess, I don’t really ‘get’ a lot of the campaigns which are relying on AR codes to bring them to life. I understand that AR codes mean that agencies can be more inventive and creative but I struggle with what that brings to the brand and consumer experience.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the technology is amazing and yet another step towards a world where make believe and reality collide – and this is my point.
Here’s an example, I walk into a supermarket and pick up a product. I scan the AR code and a flashy (and admittedly impressive) animation comes to life in front of my eyes. WOW. I then look at the prices of the products, pick the cheapest – usually the one on offer – and leave.
I will have no greater brand loyalty to the company who have spent thousands on a campaign that uses an AR code because they haven’t given me any reason to do so. I haven’t derived any added value from that animation. I would think it was impressive and probably tell people at work – because I work in PR – but otherwise I wouldn’t think about it again until I read about it in the marketing industry trade press.
This is where I am going to completely contradict myself, well kind of, because Tesco have nailed it. Hannah passed on an example of a campaign using AR codes which is simple, impressive and brings the campaign into the real world, encouraging consumers to engage and most importantly come back time and time again.
The campaign uses an association between Tesco and Iron Man 3. The idea is that shoppers can download a free iOS or Android app, which will allow them to generate an image of themselves wearing the Iron Man armour… now here’s the impressive part. They can then scan Iron Man point of sale in store to ‘unlock’ a further six suits with each showcasing a new weapon that users can fire!
I challenge anyone not to get excited by this app. Come on! Admittedly you will need to be accompanied by a boy aged between around 6 – 12 (the target audience for the campaign) in order for it not to look odd, and remember to seem suitably impressed but not show just how much when you’re ‘shooting’ people in store. I can already see my nephew cringing as I make the noises that accompany my new armour… well, it has to be done.
Taking a digital campaign and putting it into the real world is exactly what a truly integrated campaign is all about and I think this example gives the consumer an experience, while delivering for the client – in this case Tesco.
I have seen other examples of AR codes which take you to more information about a product, which is useful but not overtly exciting – however if it meets with the objective and is what the brands target audience would want then it works and it works far better than a flashy animation.
I think that perhaps we (agencies working for brands) need to think beyond the exciting pretty pictures and think more about the real life benefits of these campaigns. Only then will we start to see real value and results from the work that we do and when clients’ see results they want more and with more comes longer term relationships.
We may all get some column inches in the marketing trade press from a campaign that is impressive to our peers but when we sit back it’s the client we should all be thinking about.