Tag Archives | Augmented Reality

GE Plugs Into The Smart Grid With Augmented Reality

Smart Grid Augmented Reality

GE’s Plug Into The Smart Grid campaign is a fantastic example of how augmented reality can be used to engage viewers and encourage them to interact directly with the message.

Though augmented reality isn’t a new concept, GE does do a few unique and innovative things with it:

  • You have to ‘open the door’ – By twisting and turning the Smart Grid marker, you are actually activating it, so that right from the start you feel like a part of the experience.
  • You can interact with the model – By blowing into the microphone, you actually cause the wind turbines to spin, which encourages you to interact with the experience and experiment with what’s possible. You can also tilt the Solar Energy model back and forth to move the sun and cause the solar panels to follow.
  • You can see through the page – By turning the marker into a ‘window’, GE has added an extra dimension to the experience. Instead of looking at a semi-3D model that pops off the page, it actually looks like it has become a part of the page, and that you’re holding a whole little world in your hands.

In addition to the details of the model, there are a couple of interesting ways that GE has extended the campaign to reach an even larger audience.

  • GE used a YouTube video to demonstrate the technology – By taping into the YouTube community, they opened up the experience to a whole new audience. Plus, it’s such a new and interesting idea that people want to watch and pass along the video demo all on its own, leading to more than a million views in less than a month!
  • GE used semi-interactive Flash banner ads to bring users to the microsite – When users mouse over the ads, the wind turbines begin to spin, giving you a preview of what’s to come at the full site.

    Smart Grid Banner Ad

  • GE provided more information for the curious user – Right below the augmented reality model, they posted a link directly to the source code for the technology used to power the model. Rather than hiding the technology or trying to claim it as their own, they embrace the open source community and encourage others to experiment with their own ‘ecomagination’.

The Good:

  • New and innovative uses of augmented reality keep the already new technology fresh and engaging.
  • Interactive elements encourage users to engage with the ad.
  • Taps into YouTube and the open source movement to reach a larger audience.

The Bad:

  • The augmented reality technology is a barrier to entry for those with computers that can’t support it.

Coraline Raises The Bar For Influencer Outreach

Coraline Box

Wieden+Kennedy’s Coraline campaign is a textbook example of how to build buzz around a product using many different types of outreach.

Phase one was designed to activate online communities that have a reason to be passionate about this film in order to build a groundswell of support. Phase two was to create intrigue on a mass scale — introduce mysterious elements of the film that drive people to [the Coraline] website to learn more. Phase three was to create mass awareness for the film and it’s launch date.

In addition, W+K identified a guiding creative light for the campaign that “everything [they] do should reflect the unique, cool, handmade nature of this film. [They] believed that the more you knew about what went into it, the more you’d get out of it.” Though there are many aspects of the campaign that could be highlighted as examples of how to best do an outreach campaign, I’m going to focus specifically on their blogger outreach for this post.

Blogger Outreach falls under Part 1 of their strategy: Activate Influencers, and W+K knew that there were a lot of online communities that would be (or could be inspired to be) excited and eager to talk about Coraline. To narrow their focus, they began by identifying five separate influencer groups specifically, including Creators (Fans of Selick, Gaiman and anyone involved in the creation of the film.) Craft (Fans of the craft of filmmaking and especially the type used in this film.) Geeks (Comics, animation and collectibles geeks.) Culture (Folks who we knew would be excited about the themes/aesthetics of the film.) and Gamers (People in the video game world.)

Since those communities were already eager to talk about Coraline, W+K just needed to give them something to talk about, so they created 50 handcrafted boxes of movie ‘relics’ taken directly from the film. Each box was designed to link a specific part of the movie to a specific influencer’s passion, and each included a code that gave the influencer private access to an online mini-documentary that was made with them in mind.

Coraline Box 2

Rather than hype up the boxes and their contents though, W+K instead chose to keep things rather secretive, and let the boxes do the talking. On first contact, they simply asked the blogger if they wanted a “free gift” and requested their address. Once the boxes started to arrive however, bloggers quickly jumped at the chance to show off their free gifts, and posted details about each box on their site for the world to see. After a few boxes started to appear, it became a game to see who would get a box next and what it would contain, and a few sites even chronicled the arrival of each box, who had received it, and what the contents were. Had the boxes been equally unique but identical, this ‘game’ would not have occurred, but because each was so unique and so special, the Coraline fan base quickly grew, and then branched out from their first box encounter to other blogs in hopes of learning more about the film and its creative marketing.

Coraline Dunks

In addition to the boxes, W+K also used a variety of cutting edge tactics to promote the film, including street art that used garbage bags and subway wind to create inflatable characters that haunted the midnight streets of New York City, interactive storefronts that used augmented reality technology to place buttons over the eyes of passer-bys, customized Coraline Dunks that had the sneaker world buzzing, and more.

In all, it was a fantastic campaign for a fantastic film that kept the brand experience strong through out and resulted in a successful release of a film that could have been cast off as just another kid’s movie.

The Good:

  • Unique and customized boxes prompted almost everyone who received one to post the full details online and across numerous channels.
  • Very specific targets received different box contents in order to match their areas of interest.
  • Influencers were given exclusive access to additional content and encouraged to share that content with others.

The Bad:

  • I’m jealous I didn’t get one.

The Future:

  • Highly customized outreach matches influencers with their area of interest, and gives them valuable content that they are compelled to share.


Wieden+Kennedy – Coraline

Fanta Uses Mobile Augmented Reality To Play Virtual Tennis


It’s not perfect, but Fanta’s Virtual Tennis is one of the first real examples of a company using augmented reality in a new and unique way to advertise their products:

To play the game, just download and print the Virtual Tennis Court, download the game to your mobile phone from http://m.fanta.eu and get a friend to do the same. Then, start the game, point your phone towards the game board, and play away.

Currently Virtual Tennis only works on the various versions of Nokia’s N81, N82, N95, 6120 and 6121 since it needs a high-quality camera and a high-speed processor to run correctly, but as more and more mobile phones start to meet these requirements, I’m predicting that we’ll see many more mobile campaigns incorporating some sort of augmented reality into them in the future.

For now though, it’s just good to see companies that are willing to push the edge and try out new things, because it means that others will soon follow, and the technology can continue to grow and expand.

The Good:

  • Fanta is using a new technology in a fun and unique way.
  • By trying something that no one has seen before, they can greatly increase their target market.

The Bad:

  • High and restrictive technological requirements eliminate most users.
  • A virtual tennis game is not a good match to the specific product (a soda), so it becomes more of a brand play.

The Future:

  • Augmented reality gets incorporated into a company’s mobile strategy and used in new and unique ways to draw in consumers and give them something fun that they can play with.

Fanta – Virtual Tennis