Snapchat Teases Secret Filters, Hints At The Future Of AR Marketing

What Happened
Snap Inc. has started testing a new hidden feature that let users unlock secret filters when they point the camera to the charging case of Spectacles, the camera-embedded sunglasses the company introduced last year. As the twitter video below demonstrates, when one opens Snapchat and points the camera to the “Spectacles” printed on the charging case, the app unlocks a special filter that shows floating bubbles of snaps, similar to the circular videos captured by Spectacles.

What Brands Need To Do
Fun and innocuous as this new feature may seem at first glance, it might just be hinting at the next big ad product for Snap. It is easy to imagine how Snap Inc. would soon follow the roadmap set by its branded Geofilters and come out with “sponsored secret filters” for brands to buy. Looking beyond that, however, a bigger opportunity lies in the fact that this feature can transform ordinary objects, and by extension, the physical space they reside in, into an AR-enhanced branding opportunity. For example, an auto brand can use this feature to drive car enthusiasts to dealerships to unlock special themed filters while a retailer may work with Snap Inc. to turn an in-store installation into a trigger for unlocking secret filters that contain special offers or branded content. 

With the launch of Spectacles, Snapchat changed its name to Snap Inc. and rebranded itself as a “camera company,” aiming to liberate cameras from smartphones and integrate them into other wearable products for a more frictionless user experience. As it continues to improve its existing ad products, more and more brands are joining Snapchat to reach mobile consumers. In fact, a new report by digital marketing firm L2 found that Snapchat’s brand adoption rate grew 50% from January to October last year, with 64% of brands now established a presence on the app. As Snap continues to bring augmented reality technology to the mass market with its camera-centric products, brands will need to start to think about how AR may add value to their products, services, and marketing efforts.


Source: Twitter @MosheIsaacian & AdExchanger


CES 2017 Day 2: Brands Start To Apply AR Tech Across Industries

What We Saw At CES
Yesterday, we rounded up some of the biggest announcement in augmented reality on the hardware front at CES. Today, three in-market example emerged that once again demonstrate the versatility and great potential AR technology holds for various industries. Let’s look at them one by one.

First, BMW debuted an app called BMW i Visualiser that uses AR to create virtual showrooms at local dealerships, allowing prospective car-buyers to check out some of its latest electric and hybrid cars in 360-degree views even when the dealership don’t have those models in stock. Users will also be able to personalize the virtual models to see what they would look like with a different set of tires or in a different color. Built upon Google’s AR platform Tango, the BMW app will be available in select BMW dealerships across the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan, and it will be available to download directly from Google Play later in the year to transport the showroom to wherever the customers may be.

Second, Gap unveiled an AR app named Dressing Room at Asus’ CES press event yesterday in conjunction with the gadget maker’s new AR-ready smartphone. The app, which is also developed with Google’s Tango platform, lets shoppers select a virtual mannequin close to their own body type and try on different sizes of Gap items for comparison. Shopper will be able to discover some details such as how a fabric may drape on the body or the differences in fit between sizes.

Last but not the least, New York Times is jumping into the world of AR with a branded app it developed to promote an upcoming movie from 20th Century Fox. The publisher’s branded content team worked with IBM to create a Pokemon Go-style mobile game to promote Hidden Figures, a movie that tells the real-life story of three female African-American mathematicians who contributed to NASA’s 1950s space race. Except instead of catching animated monsters in the real world, players will be directed to science-focused destinations in 10 U.S. cities, such as the NASA Langley Research Center and Kennedy Space Center as well as some major universities, to unlock special in-app content, including 3D renderings, written histories, and audio and video about historical leaders in the fields of science and math.

What This Means For Brands
As we noted in our Fast Forward analysis on Pokémon Go when the AR-enabled game first blew up this past summer, augmented reality has some potential use cases that could greatly enhances the user experience in retail, home improvement, fashion, and beauty, while the game did a good job introducing AR tech to the average consumers. Thus, it is encouraging to see at CES more examples of brands leveraging the reality-bending magic of augmented reality to better serve their customers. As AR technology continues to evolve and mature, we expect to see more in-market examples like the three listed above.

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 Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


CES 2017 Day 1: What’s New In VR & AR

Welcome to the Lab’s coverage of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest annual tech trade show that sets the consumer tech trends for the coming year. As with previous years, the Lab has a team on the ground in Las Vegas scouting the show floors to bring you the most noteworthy discoveries and announcements that marketers need to know.

What We Saw At CES
Though the exhibition floors won’t officially open until tomorrow, there have already been a number of high-profile announcements coming out in the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality arena.

On the headset front, Lenovo unveiled its first VR headset, a light prototype device that works with Microsoft’s Windows Holographic platform, whereas ODG debuted two sleek AR glasses powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 chip. HTC didn’t update its Vive VR headset, but it did introduce a series of add-ons to enhance its flagship headset, including an add-on that can power a wireless VR experience, a Deluxe Audio Strap that provides a better headphone solution for the Vive, as well as a Vive Tracker that can turn any physical object into a VR controller.

Then there is the HoloLamp, a lamp-shaped projector that brings 3D animated objects to life in the real world with no headset or glasses required. Similarly, Merge VR created a holographic toy called the Holo Cube, which lets users interact with holograms through its headset.

As with last year, 360-degree and VR-ready cameras are also getting some major updates. Ricoh’s new 360-degree camera can live stream for 24 hours, whereas China’s Insta360 created a camera accessory that can clip onto any Android smartphone and turn it into a 360-degree camera. To bring more interactivity to the existing headsets, uSens developed $100 hand-tracking module for VR and AR headsets that simply clips onto a headset and tracks hand movements down to the finger level.

Besides standalone devices, we are also seeing a lot more VR/AR-ready smartphones and PCs at this year’s CES. The ZenFone AR from Asus is the first phone to support both Google’s mobile AR platform Tango and Google’s Daydream VR platform. Asus also debuted a compact VR-ready desktop PC that will retail for just $799. In addition, Lenovo unveiled two new Legion gaming laptops ahead of CES that are VR-ready.

All these latest products from CES demonstrates that VR and AR technology are quickly advancing and becoming more and more attainable for mainstream consumers. As the hardware continues to develop, alternate reality, particularly VR and 360-degree content, is a medium that brand marketers can capitalize on to attract consumer attention with innovative storytelling.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

Blippar Transforms London’s Covent Garden Into An AR-Enhanced Shopping Destination

What Happened
London-based augmented reality startup Blippar has transformed the city’s popular shopping destination Covent Garden into the site for an AR-enhanced physical retail experience. Partnered with over 140 stores and restaurants in Covent Garden, Blippar created an interactive map of Covent Garden that shoppers can use to navigate the shopping district to unlock various discounts and rewards from retailers, see the tags on select items in-store, and receive contextual fashion and beauty tips from Hearst Magazine’s fashion editors.

In addition to an interactive shopping experience, Blippar will be also hosting AR-powered special holiday events to draw in shoppers. Planned events include a digital hunt to find eight hidden reindeer for a daily prize, an AR Christmas tree and Santa experience that unlocks exclusive rewards, and Blippable stickers on restaurant and shop windows that reveal special offers.

What Brands Should Do
This initiative is a great showcase of the immense potential that AR technologies can transform brick-and-mortar retail. In a similar manner, French department store chain Galeries Lafayette is using mobile-powered AR to create a unique in-store narrative to lure in holiday shoppers. With more and more consumers now shopping with their smartphones, brick-and-mortar retailers need to start exploring ways to use augmented reality to create a next-level shopping experience. Beyond retail, AR can be a great way for customers to envision your products in their lives and to launch interactive digital experiences from signage or product packaging.

The Lab has extensive experience working with retail, beauty, and CPG clients to create and implement digitally-enhanced experiences for their stores. Our recent work with NYX Cosmetics incorporated the brand’s social assets into its in-store experience and offered an innovative take on sampling with a digital beauty bar. Please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) if you’d like to learn more about how to develop a mobile-driven retail strategy that bridges the gap between physical and digital shopping experience.


Source: PSFK

Lead image courtesy of promotional images from Blippar

French Department Store Deploys Augmented Reality For In-Store Experience

What Happened
French department store chain Galeries Lafayette is using mobile-powered augmented reality to engage shoppers with a unique in-store experience. Working with startup Sky Boy, the retailer has launched an AR experience that turns its Paris flagship store into a winter wonderland. Shoppers can follow the story of a family of polar bears leaving home for Paris due to climate change by downloading a free mobile app or with tablets provided by Galeries Lafayette when they are at specific spots on the store’s second floor.

Sticking to the campaign’s arctic theme, Galeries Lafayette will be offering a number of handbags in ivory or pastel hues from brands such as Dior, Gucci, and Chloé as part of its holiday shopping guide.

What Brands Should Do
This holiday campaign serves as a cool example of how retailers can leverage emerging technologies to engage with shoppers with a good story. With more and more consumers choosing the convenience of online shopping over physical retail, brick-and-mortar retailers need to shape up and embrace digital technologies to attract customers to visit the stores.

The Lab has extensive experience working with retail, beauty, and CPG clients to create and implement digitally-enhanced experiences for their stores. Our recent work with NYX Cosmetics incorporated the brand’s social assets into its in-store experience and offered an innovative take on sampling with a digital beauty bar. Please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) if you’d like to learn more about how to develop a mobile-driven retail strategy that bridges the gap between physical and digital shopping experience.


Source: Luxury Daily

Lead image courtesy of Galeries Lafayette‘s Instagram

HTC VIVE Partners With Condé Nast China To Let You Read A Travel Pamphlet In VR

What Happened
Physical pamphlets are about to get a lot more exciting thanks to the “Vivepaper” product from HTC. The Taiwan-based tech manufacturer has teamed up with Condé Nast China and created a digitally enhanced pamphlet for the December issue of Condé Nast Traveler (China Edition). Using the front-facing camera on Vive headsets, viewers can read the Vivepaper-enabled pamphlet in what the company calls “Augmented Virtual Reality,” where they can activate interactive content such as 360-degree photos and videos, 3D models, 2D content, and additional audio simply by touching and turning the pages.

More Chinese publishers are working with HTC to release Vivepaper-enabled interactive printouts of their content, including China Daily 21st Century English Newspaper, Caixin VR, and the Publishing House of Electronics Industry. Vive is also in discussions with major western publishers to bring Vivepaper to a global audience soon.

What Brands Should Do
This cool invention promises to bring new dimensions to print materials, giving print media companies and brands a way to incorporate digital content into existing print products. Combining the immersion of VR with the haptic interactivity of print material, it creates a powerful tool for grabbing consumer attention. Therefore, brands seeking to make their print marketing material more engaging should keep an eye on this product’s availability and consider working with content creators to develop interactive experiences suitable for this new VR opportunity.


Source: PR Newswire

British Fashion Brand Uses HoloLens To Showcase New Collection

What Happened
Martine Jarlgaard London found an interesting way to showcase its new collection during London Fashion Week. Instead of a typical runway show, attendees will enter a seemingly empty space and strap on a Microsoft HoloLens headset to see the new collection populate the space as holograms. This will allow attendees to walk around and check out the items from all angles. Working with the Fashion Innovation Agency and 3D capturing company DoubleMe, the brand hopes the use of HoloLens can help reimagine the runway and remove “the barrier between the physical location and the audience.”

What Brands Need To Do
This initiative is the latest example of an early-adopting brand exploring augmented and mixed reality to showcase their products and content in an innovative way. The viral success of Pokémon Go has been familiarizing millions of consumers worldwide with augmented reality technologies, and brands that wish to stay ahead of the curve should consider partnering with tech providers and content creators to start working on augmented and mixed reality now.

The Lab has extensive experience with AR technologies and how they apply to marketing. For anyone that has yet to experience augmented reality, the Lab has a HoloLens that is ready for demo. Please get in touch with our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) if you’d like to request a HoloLens demo or have a client opportunity.


Sources: Forbes

Header image courtesy of Martine Jarlgaard London’s Twitter

Hershey’s TAKE5 Bar Delights With Interactive Packaging

What Happened
Hershey’s is experimenting with innovative packaging to provide customers with a delightfully interactive experience. Working with IPG Media Lab, ad agency Barkley, and haptics tech startup Novalia, the company created a limited-edition “Remixer” package for its TAKE5 snack bar that lets customers play DJ and create their own unique tracks with no app required. As part of its “Respect The Remix” campaign, the confectionery giant is hosting a sweepstakes on Twitter to give fans a chance to win Remixer-packaged TAKE5 bars.

What Brands Should Do
Hershey’s is commendable for this innovative use of conductive ink technology in packaging, which adds some fun and interactivity to its product. Other CPG brands should take a cue and start exploring ways to apply new technologies such as haptic feedback or augmented reality to inject some extra value to their packaging.

If you would like to learn more about how your brand can use new technologies to add some interactive fun to your product packaging, please reach out to our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: MediaPost

Header image courtesy of Hershey’s YouTube Video

How Rebecca Minkoff Used VR And AR To Promote Its New Line

What Happened
Rebecca Minkoff leveraged virtual and augmented reality technologies to engage online shoppers and promote its Fashion Week event. The NYC-based fashion brand broadcast a 360-degree live video to allow fashion lovers to experience its fall preview show at Fashion Week this past Saturday from the front row. Viewers could also see how new items would look on themselves thanks to integration with AR try-on app Zeekit. Fans could upload a full-body photo of themselves and Zeekit would overlay selected items on them based on the color and size they chose.

What Brands Need To Do
The fashion industry has been quick to embrace 360-degree videos and live streaming to reach a wider audience for their fashion shows. Brands such as Balenciaga, Hussein Chalayan, and Dior have all tried their hands with 360-degree videos or live streams to reach customers. The partnership with Zeekit brings some interactivity to Rebecca Minkoff’s online experience to further engage fans.

The Lab has extensive experience in designing interactive experiences for beauty and fashion brands. Our recent work with NYX Cosmetics includes a digital beauty bar that uses AR technology to create a virtual sampling experience. If you’d like to advance your strategy to incorporate new technologies and further engage shoppers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: TechCrunch

Header image courtesy of Rebecca Minkoff’s YouTube video

Fast Forward: Everything From Apple’s iPhone 7 Event That Brands Need To Know

Your guide to tech-driven changes in the media landscape by IPG Media Lab. A fast read for you and a forward for your clients and team.

The Highlights:

  • New dual-lens camera on iPhone 7 Plus opens the door for improved AR and 3D scanning.
  • Apple Watch Nike+ shows possibility for other brands to partner with Apple for branded products or Watch faces.
  • iOS 10 will be available next Tuesday, with the new, extensible iMessage, cross-device Apple Pay, and an option for limiting ad-tracking.


What Apple Announced

Apple kicked off its September press event on Wednesday in San Francisco with a two-hour keynote presentation. The Verge has great coverage of all the announcements that Apple made today. The announcements from the keynote that are relevant to brands and marketers include:

  • Apple eliminated the headphone jack and introduced wireless earphones called Apple AirPods, which come with tap-to-enable Siri support and should further familiarize consumers with voice-activated conversational interfaces.
  • The iPhone 7 Plus features a dual-lens camera that enables a new depth-of-field effect and opens the door for improved augmented reality (AR) and 3D scanning.
  • Apple announced APIs for capturing and editing Live Photos, allowing app developers to take advantage of the animated format.
  • The new Apple Watch Series 2 features faster app launch times, built-in GPS, and a “swim-proof” design.
  • Apple partnered with Nike to introduce a special Apple Watch Nike+, complete with personalized motivations for runners and custom NIke-branded watch faces.
  • The upcoming Mario game for iOS may be most notable now due to something not mentioned in the keynote: it features a “Notify” button in the App Store today, and tapping it will send a notification when the app becomes available.
  • iOS 10 will be available on September 13, bringing new features such as extended Apple Pay support, revamped iMessage, Siri support in third-party apps, and an option for limiting online ad-tracking.

FF iPhone 7 - cover

What Brands Need To Do

Get Ready For iOS 10
With its official release set for next Tuesday, iOS 10 will bring some of the most immediate changes and opportunities that brands need to get ready for. For starters, Siri support for third-party apps should come as welcome news as it enables brands to further integrate their services into Apple’s ecosystem. If they are in one of the supported domains like messaging or payments, branded apps should be extended to work via voice control.

The new iMessage allows brands to develop messaging-based apps as well as sell stickers based on their IP to promote their content in Apple’s native messaging app. iMessage Apps will be great for casual games and collaboration and particularly appealing to entertainment brands.

The new “Limit Ad Tracking” setting will make ad tracking and targeting for brand advertisers more difficult as it anonymizes the user’s IDFA. This presents a good reason for brands to shift towards a social-heavy media mix for mobile campaigns, as most ads on social networks are targeted by user profile and are therefore immune to this update. For more brand implications brought by iOS 10, check out our analysis on this year’s WWDC event.

Explore AR Possibilities
The dual-lens camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is an exciting addition because it opens the door for developing improved depth sensing and therefore new AR and 3D-scanning capabilities that brands will be able to create. For example, a CPG brand could develop an app that allows users to 3D scan their products and packaging and launch interactive digital experiences based on that.

For home improvement brands, the improved depth sensing would transform iPhones into a powerful preview tool for augmented reality-based customization, with more automation and less fiddling than what IKEA has in its AR preview app to allow customers to check if furniture they want would fit in their room. As dual-lens cameras become more widely available on mobile devices, brands will have more opportunities for leveraging AR technologies to create engaging experiences for mobile users. FF iPhone 7 - dual-lens camera

Consider Branded Tech Products
Apple’s partnership with Nike to create the Apple Watch Nike+ that specifically targets running enthusiasts signals Apple’s willingness to team up with select brands to develop branded products and features. In addition, Apple also has a standing partnership with luxury brand Hermès for the Apple Watch Hermès that comes with leather band and custom watch faces.

Besides Apple, we have seen examples of brands creating branded consumer tech products as part of their brand marketing efforts. Last year, Pepsi worked with Chinese phone manufacturer Koobee to create limited edition Pepsi-branded smartphones. In India, KFC created a meal box that doubles as a phone charger. The bottom line is a branded tech gadget is an underutilized way for brands to get the attention of today’s consumers, and more brands should consider exploring such partnerships.Apple Watch Nike+

How We Can Help

Please contact Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) at the IPG Media Lab if you would like more detail or want to schedule a visit to the Lab to discuss how your brand may benefit from integrating with Apple’s ecosystem, particularly in messaging and in the living room with Apple TV.

For previous editions of Fast Forward, please visit Please reply with any constructive criticism or feedback. We want these to be as useful as possible for you and your clients, and your input will help us immensely.