L’Oreal Taps AR To Let You Try On 64 Red-Carpet Looks From Cannes

What Happened
L’Oréal continues to embrace augmented reality technologies to promote its beauty products. As part of a cross-promotion with the Cannes Film Festival, the cosmetic giant is allowing users of its popular YouCam Makeup app to project 64 glamourous red carpet makeup looks from the festival onto their own face and learn makeup skills. In addition, the app also shared livestream directly from the event, hosted by beauty influencer and L’Oréal’s brand ambassador Liza Lash.

What Brands Need To Do
Increasingly we are seeing beauty brands incorporating AR technology into their services to optimize their customer experiences. L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app and Covergirl’s BeautyU app are good examples of how beauty brands can leverage the advanced capabilities of smartphones to provide extra utility throughout the consumer journey. With Apple introducing mobile AR to iOS apps with the launch of ARKit, brands should now be more even incentivized to explore AR so as to add a little reality-bending magic to their mobile experience.

 

Source: Glossy

Rémy Martin Develops HoloLens AR Experience To Promote High-End Champagne

What Happened
Spirits brand Rémy Martin is embracing augmented reality with the roll-out of a unique experience powered by Microsoft’s HoloLens headset. The AR experience, named “Rooted in Exception,” is designed to introduce customers to elements of its Cognac Grande Champagne and Cognac Petite Champagne vineyards in the Fine Champagne region, with a voiceover from the brand’s Cellar Master. Rémy Martin worked with AR studio Kazendi to create this AR experience, which is set to launch at a private party in Los Angeles on June 15 before rolling out to luxury retail stories and events worldwide.

What Brands Need To Do
This is the latest example of brands experimenting with augmented reality technologies as an eye-grabbing way to demo their products and craft an engaging brand narrative. While AR headsets, such as the HoloLens, are still far from mass adoption, they are already great tools for this type of experience marketing efforts. Given that all major tech companies are already starting to support mobile AR functions on their respective platforms, now is a good time for brands to formulate an AR strategy and start leveraging this reality-altering technology to supercharge your campaigns and add value to your customer experience.

 


Source: PressWire

Header image courtesy of Microsoft’s promotional image.

Blippar Announces AR Ad Unit & Visual Search For Cars

What Happened
Augmented reality solution provider Blippar announced two big additions to its platform. First up, the company is ready to launch what it claims to be “the first AR digital ad unit” that doesn’t require an app. This new ad product, named Augmented Reality Digital Placement (ARDP), will work with standard rich media banner ad units. Upon clicking, it would open a web-view window that, after users grant permission to access the camera, can superimpose ad creatives over the environment that the camera captures, and is viewable in 360-degree view. The creatives can be 3D models or static cut-outs from a 360-degree video. 

Secondly, Blippar is adding a “Shazam-for-cars” feature to its free mobile app that allows users to identify the make, model, and year of any U.S. car made since 2000 simply by pointing their camera at the car. The app will then surface relevant content such as average customer rating, price, a 360-degree view of the car’s interior. Blippar says it has achieved over 97.7% accuracy in automotive recognition, making it the highest in the industry. With this launch, the company is releasing a Car Recognition API that is available globally for companies to license and integrate into their own apps and products.

What Brands Need To Do
Although the AR experience delivered by ARDP seems to be pretty rough and limited in functions according to Blippar’s demo video, it is nevertheless an exciting development that marks the commence of the AR advertising arm’s race. The fact that this AR experience doesn’t require any specific app to run is obviously a plus for the potential reach of this ad unit. Mobile-based AR is a great way for brands to deliver interactive content and feature to drive active engagement and showcase products, and AR ads would be a great tool for brands looking to enhance their mobile ad experience.

For auto brands, the car-recognition feature and its API should be a great tool to transform any ordinary environment into a virtual showroom. It would be a great tool for event activations, pop-up promotions, and engaging car enthusiasts. According to CEO Rish Mitra, the company is working to expand this visual search feature to cover more sectors, with fashion being its next target.

For more information on how brands may tap into the rapid development in AR to create engaging customer experiences, please check out the Advanced Interfaces section of our Outlook 2017.

 


Sources: MarTech Today & TechCrunch

Featured image courtesy of Blippar

Instagram Adds Snapchat-Style AR Selfie Lenses And Tests Location-Based Public Stories

What Happened
It looks like Facebook is not done copying Snapchat just yet. With its latest update on Tuesday, now Instagram users can try out so-called “face filters” in the Instagram camera, which works similarly to the Selfie Lenses that Snapchat popularized. Instagram users can tap the new face effect icon to try out eight different filters, including animated crowns, cute animal features, and other AR effects that track your face and respond to motion.

In addition, Instagram has also started testing a new feature that allows users to view all publicly shared Stories with same location sticker. Users can then visit that business, landmark or place’s Instagram page and watch a slideshow Story of posts from there shared by strangers they don’t follow. Snapchat used to have a similar local Stories feature that compiles together user-generated content based on locations, but it has discontinued the feature to focus on more on live events.

What Brands Need To Do
Both new features are part of the homogenizing trend in social and messaging app design, led largely by Facebook’s relentless efforts to curb Snapchat’s growth. For brands, the rapid growth of Instagram and its camera-focused update signal the increasing opportunities for brands to conquer the smartphone’s camera screen. With the quick advancement of machine learning and AI-powered solutions, we are starting to see examples of brands primarily using the camera as an input source of the mobile user interface and leverage images to learn about user intent. Combined with the upcoming developments on Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform, announced last month at its F8 developer conference, this trend means brands should be looking into camera AR features as a way to update their digital user experience to be more intuitive and convenient for mobile users.

 


Source: Amazon Alexa Blog

Snapchat Debuts Sponsored World Lenses And Readies Branded Stickers

What Happened
On the heels of a less-than-optimal earnings report, Snap Inc. is releasing two new AR camera ad products as it aims to drum up more ad revenues. The popular messaging app introduced a new World Lens feature in February to let users embellish their surroundings with cute animations, now brands can sponsor those World Lenses in the same way they did with the face-altering Selfie Lenses. The sponsored lenses can now be targeted to specific audiences with a guaranteed number of impressions. Netflix and Warner Bros. are among the first advertisers to try out the AR-powered ad unit.

In addition, Snap is also making it easier for brand advertisers to customize Sponsored Geofilters down to specific locations, such as a school or a movie theater. Warner Bros. is promoting the film Everything, Everything with a branded geofilter, in addition to the sponsored World Lens, targeting high schoolers by featuring the name of their school. Moreover, the company is also reportedly ready to unleash branded stickers such as ones that feature Hello Kitty.

What Brands Need To Do
While slowed installs of Snapchat have worried some brand advertisers of the platforms’ growth potential, recent studies and surveys commissioned by TechCrunch concluded that U.S. Millennial and Gen Z users are staying loyal to Snapchat and in no hurry to jump ship to Instagram. As Snapchat continues to lead the charge in exploring AR camera effects and monetization, brands should consider taking advantage of the new camera-based ad products it offers to reach younger users active on its platform.

 


Sources: Marketing Land & AdWeek & Mashable

 

Audi Sponsors The Washington Post’s First Entry Into AR Content

What Happened
The Washington Post is launching a new mobile content series that uses AR technology to learn more about cool stories behind famous buildings around the world. The first installment is a 10-second-long AR experience that readers can activate on their smartphone via the Post’s iOS app to learn about the unique ceiling design in the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Germany. Audi is the sole brand sponsor of the series. Its first ad will appear as a visual, but the Post it will work with Audi to create branded AR stories in upcoming installments.

What Brands Need To Do
This is an exciting example of a brand leveraging a publisher’s AR efforts to experiment with new ways to reach mobile consumers. While Snapchat has been credited as the pioneer in popularizing AR camera effects, Facebook made a big AR move last month with the launch of its Camera Effects platform, which offers brands a platform and the tools they need to create interactive experiences which use the camera as an input. As more and more media platforms and publishers start to get on board with mobile-based AR technology, it is up to brands to find the right content creator to partner with to explore camera-based AR experience to reach customers.

 


Source: Digiday

Canadian Coke Uses AR To Add Spotify Music To Bottles

What Happened
As part of a returning marketing campaign Play a Coke, Coca-Cola and Spotify is teaming up to offer Canadian consumers a unique product experience. Customers are encouraged to download a special mobile app and use it to scan the special a promotional label on a Coke or Sprite bottle, which would unlock one of 189 themed-Spotify playlists such as BBQ Time and Nothing But Net. Users can browse through different playlist by rotating the bottle in their hand, making it an interactive AR experience. Coca-cola says thirty million such bottles are expected to ship for the Canadian market during this campaign.

What Brands Need To Do
Last summer, Pokémon Go introduced mobile AR technology to mainstream consumers, but brands are only starting to explore the possibilities that AR marketing brings. This is the latest example of how brands, especially CPG brands, can leverage AR technology to add interactive experiences to products and deliver a rich customer experience. Such a mobile-based interactive experience offers an easy way to introduce AR technology to your brand’s digital assets and deliver an engaging customer experience. Brands should take advantage of this trend to experiment with camera-enabled AR interfaces and interactive experiences.

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VR Focus

 

Home Design App Houzz Adds AR Preview Mode

What Happened
Home design and furniture shopping app Houzz is the latest ecommerce player to add an AR twist to its platform. The Palo Alto-based company updated its iOS app to add a new virtual preview mode that supports 3D objects. With this new feature, viewers can get a better idea of how the furniture items would look in their own space before making a purchase. As of now, only about 300,000 items out of the eight million products available on Houzz’s marketplace support this new AR preview mode, but Houzz says it will work to add more items.

What Brands Need To Do
Besides Houzz, other furniture sellers such as IKEA or Hutch have also been exploring AR as an online shopping aid for their products. This new feature provides yet another example of the ongoing shift in designing mobile user experience, where the camera becomes a prominent input source that enables virtual product sampling. As more and more companies start to realize the potential of augmented reality, more mobile-based AR use cases can be applied to enhance ecommerce and marketing. Brands looking to update their digital user experience should take note and start thinking about how to use AR to add value to the customer experience.


Source: The Verge

Images courtesy of Houzz

Microsoft Brings Augmented Reality Feature To Windows 10

What Happened
If you think augmented reality is something that has to be experienced with pricey smart glasses, think again. Microsoft is integrating an augmented reality viewer in Windows 10 later this year, which will allow WIndows users to interact with 3D objects that are created in 3D Paint against the real world via live video captured by a webcam. This feature is announced on Tuesday during Microsoft’s education-focused Windows event in New York City, where the company ran a demo showing how 3D objects can be displayed on a tablet via an AR viewer.

What Brands Need To Do
Championed by major tech players such as Snap and Facebook, augmented reality is quickly gaining momentum as the next frontier for digital interactions. Microsoft also has a solid lead in AR with its HoloLens headsets, which the Lab has one ready for demo. Bringing AR to laptops should help further propel adoption. Even though we are still in early stages of AR development, brands looking to stay ahead of the curve need to start thinking about how your brand may leverage AR to engage with consumers and offer extra value. For a CPG brand, that could be surfacing additional AR content via smart packaging, whereas an autobrand may leverage AR to enhance the test drive experience at dealerships.


Source: Engadget

 

Snapchat Launches World Lenses As It Pushes Deeper Into Augmented Reality

What Happened
Snapchat has started rolling out new “world lenses,” a twist on its popular face-altering selfie lenses that you can now use to add some pizzazz to your surroundings. Starting today, tapping the camera screen while using the rear-facing camera will bring up the new lenses, which let you add 3-dimensional, animated objects to your snaps. At launch, the lineup includes a crying cloud, a smiling rainbow, blossoming flowers, and a colorful “OMG” sign. Snap says the lineup will change daily, presumably to encourage usage. Snap first started testing these new lenses in November.

What Brands Need To Do
This update comes at a time when Snap is facing mounting challenges from its major rival Facebook, whose aggressive tactics of cloning Snapchat’s camera-oriented features have seemingly started to take effects. The timing is even more deliberate considering today is the first day of Facebook’s annual developer event F8, where the social network is expected to double down on camera-powered mobile AR features similar to the “world lenses.”

As Facebook and Snap continue to duke it out over adding AR features to their apps, more and more mainstream consumers are starting to get accustomed to using these camera-powered AR features as a result. This is what is laying the groundwork for mobile-powered augmented reality to take off, which will allow brands to infiltrate their target audience’s photos and videos via sponsored Lens or branded AR objects.

Besides, this is a good time to think about ways for augmented reality to drive new opportunities for your brand. AR can, for example, be a great way for customers to envision your products in their lives and to launch digital experiences from signage or product packaging. What we can do now through a smartphone is just the beginning. As Microsoft’s HoloLens, Magic Leap, and the rumored Apple glasses roll out over the next few years, lots more will be possible.

 


Source: The Verge
Header image courtesy of Snap’s YouTube video