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.
- 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’.
- 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 augmented reality technology is a barrier to entry for those with computers that can’t support it.
- Interactive augmented reality allows users to engage directly with a brand and that brand’s message in a fun and unique way.