Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Augmented Reality meets Social Media meets the Christmas Holidays!

Augmented Reality has been getting a fair amount of attention lately. As Business Week puts it, brands are looking for new ways to engage their customers. Dorian Benkoil, writing in Poynter Online, has more intriguing examples and visions of the future. Can you believe the USPS now has an augmented reality app that lets you identify the correct box size for your item? Even more to the point, can you believe they have an excellent video that shows how it works? Since I don’t consider the USPS a hotbed of innovation, I found it difficult! Watch the video and see for yourself.

Stella Artois, the Belgian beer brand, announced an ecard yesterday that seems to combine the best features of AR and social media. Of course it’s a Christmas card! And it hits all the right notes, especially for the social media enthusiast!

• It’s fun and engaging.
• It’s carefully thought out. To get full benefit the recipient needs a webcam or smart phone to read the digital marker. If there’s not one available, it is viewable as a Flash ecard.
• It’s cause-related marketing. Each card sent will result in a tree saved in an ecologically-important area in South America.
• A live webcam in Hyde Park shows a tree with a light for each card sent. The goal is 1 million cards, 1 million trees saved, by Christmas.

Their video shows how the card works. If you view it with a webcam, you can move the picture around and you can move the snowflakes by blowing into your pc's mic.

What’s not to like about all of that? Congratulations to Stella Artois for the strategy and Bright Spark Digital for the execution! It’s not only cool technology, the spirit fits the season!

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