Back in summer 2008 I wrote a whitepaper for some of our clients about Cloud and Crowd based creativity and the need to break digital out into the real world away from screens and desks. Back then I included an image by the excellent Petit Invention as a concept vision for the future of mobile search.
Technology moves quickly and a couple of months later there was already a working prototype in the form of Wikitude AR Travel Guide. Using the Android OS on the G1 phone…
“users may hold the phone’s camera against a spectacular mountain range and see the names and heights displayed as overlay mapped with the mountains in the camera. Users may look out of an airplane window to see what is down there. Users may walk through a city like Seville, Spain, holding the phone’s camera against a building and Wikitude tells what it is.”
The application shows that augmented reality can go beyond the initial wow factor (and the peering around the back of an A4 print-out pointed at your webcam while trying to see something on your screen) and the Second Life comparisons.
IBM’s Seer Android Beta produced to support it sponsorship of the Wimbledon tennis tournament also shows a commercial application going beyond “marketing fluff”. Using it, visitors can find facilities on ground (locating the nearest restrooms), but more impressively, they can “point the phone at a tennis court, find out the court number and also who’s playing and more crucially, who’s winning”.
Once AR comes to the iPhone properly in an easily accessible form then I think we’ll see a whole new level of usage. The 3G S’s compass combined with Google Latitude and Wikipedia overlays would definitely add up to a powerful and socially changing experience.
Priority Mail’s AR Box Simulator also points at a future for an entertaining application usage but in the meantime here is a collection of 10 augmented reality campaigns that are much more in the fun and novelty area.
Sc-Fi has inspired some great technology in the past and now the people at EON Reality have trumped some of the augmented reality experiments out there with their iCube. Their other experiments are great inspiration for those of us on a “screens are boring” kick on a grey Thursday afternoon…
I can’t wait for my jet pack.
Orange Drum Machine
I’m pleased to say that our recent Drum Machine campaign for Orange has won us our second Eyeblaster Campaign of the month.
The challenge was to bring engagement and playfulness to direct response digital advertising making it more entertaining and memorable. The Orange Drum Machine campaign was based on the insight that Orange is offering a fantastic package for digital music fans. What can you do while waiting for your new Sony Ericsson W595 with free speakers AND a free USB drum kit to arrive? Why not start practicing your drumming?
The creative, which targeted consumers on music and games related sites, challenged people to play an in-advertising drumming game and – because the Wii has transformed gaming from simply pushing ever-increasing numbers of buttons – we even offered people the chance to play using their webcam. The result is less a piece of advertising, more an engaging, entertaining application people get to star in. So get waving those arms.
Congratulations to Jim & Jacob for nursing the creative idea through to fruition, Matt and Andre for their great flash work (and Andre’s great demo that got me thinking) and Shirin, Amy, Priya and the Orange team for their production and trafficking skills. And some CD/Planner/whatever who had an idea was spotted nattering on the Eyeblaster Blog again about “Less advertising, more entertaining applications“.
Oh, and if you didn’t see our previous winner Emirates Miles Better it is here…
Lego's Augmented Reality Point of Sale units
Augmented Reality – the manifesting of virtual 3d objects into the real world via cameras or projectors – is probably one of the biggest buzzwords among digital creatives at the moment with the examples of Boffswana and GE’s Smart Grid site definitely inspiring the imagination and offering up a new tool with which to play.
However, if Augmented Reality is going to be more than “the next PaperVision” and liberally applied in inappropriate places then it is worth considering as one element in an overall movement – the move away from screens.
Big Shadow campaign in Tokyo
As Russell Davies as pointed out – screens are boring. People are used to screens and digital creative is definitely not “new media” anymore. It has to compete with the production values and impact of film and PS3 graphics. Creating a great website these days is the norm, it is the raised bar we need to all sail over. But when we land on the other side we can often face audience indifference. It is still a site on a screen – be it desktop or mobile – it is still in an expected context.
Digital experiential, or real world digital, or digital installations, or whatever you want to call it, is a great leap forward in our approach to brand experiences. Whether it involves playing Snake on the side of a building, a virtual skateboarder in the streets or giant shadows in Tokyo, interactive experiences in a shared, real world context offer the potential for digital creative to equal and surpass the “watercooler effect” and shared experience of TV.
- Changing from Graphical User Interface to Tangible User Interface transformed gaming and opened up a new, inclusive audience. New ways of interacting means new people interacting. Even 3D gaming now offers a more solid and imersive experience.
- We can break out from behind the screens to create shared experiences in unexpected places. It has the watercooler effect that mass TV once had.
- Live experiences have immediacy and a sense of unrestricted/unfiltered connection and control, they don’t feel as fake or manipulated as traditional marketing. Even in the case of the Saturn installation at Wired NextFest in 2006, a product demo – what would normally be a carbooth at a trade show – becomes an immediate and imaginative experience.
- As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – we need to bring back the wonder of the early days (70/80s) where things felt new, not old and jaded.
McLeod Mirror by Barbarian Group
Digital experiential work embodies what is best about interactive creative – its ability to bridge the gap between engagement, entertainment, demonstration and learning, its need to create new experiences and ways of doing things, its ability to draw together skillsets from art and product design to create objects of value and beauty that can be fun like the McLeod mirror.
- We need to offer a shared, perception changing experience; offer an experience that people can participate in, use and break out into the real world.
Update – Seminar and workshop on Augmented Reality, RFID and Mobile
Back to…2009 Interactive Trends