Augmented reality a boon for print, Web

A diverse range of marketers, including Calvin Klein and Valpak, have recently used augmented reality ads to add interactive digital elements to their campaigns.

Calvin Klein Underwear began running augmented reality ads in editions of GQ on March 23 to promote its Calvin Klein X line. The campaign allows consumers, when they hold the ads up to webcams, to view videos of campaign models. Digital agency Syrup created the microsite and digital components.

Last month, Valpak teamed with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia on a consumer-facing campaign to distribute specially marked Valpak envelopes as part of a sweepstakes. Consumers were encouraged to hold the envelopes up to a webcam to see if they won one of Stewart’s cookbooks. Valpak used the contest to build its mobile database.

“It adds a level of interactivity with a print product that was impossible before,” said Jim Buckley, director of new media at Valpak.

Although some brands are just using the technology because it is one of marketing’s hot trends, others are giving consumers useful information with augmented reality, says David Berkowitz, senior director of emerging media and innovation at digital agency 360i.

“Augmented reality is one of the bright, shiny objects right now in marketing, and so there is a bandwagon mentality going on for some of its use,” he said. “Some marketers who are using it are able to find ways where it makes sense to layer digital information over the real world. It can be entertaining or it can be for utility.”

Other brands, such as Kia and General Electric, have lunched augmented reality-based campaigns in the past year. Verizon and Nokia collaborated on a 3-D trailer promoting the recent film Star Trek.

Berkowitz praised the US Postal Service’s Virtual Box Simulator, created last summer by AKQA. The tool allows consumers to determine whether items will fit inside USPS boxes by using a webcam.

“I think that the marketers who are smart are using it for utility, and the ones who are having some success are reusing it,” said Nicola Smith, director of emerging trends and media at Moxie Interactive. “If there is a way that it will help consumers in their everyday lives, they’ll use it.”

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