Imprinting Augmented Reality (Video)
In yesterday's edition of Promo Marketing Headlines, we linked to a CNNMoney story about augmented reality (AR). The video looked at how major companies like Starbucks and Macy's are using AR to enhance their brands and drive holiday traffic. Games, videos, product demos and discounts are all proving to be popular ways to interact with customers via cell phone or laptop. If you haven't, check out the video linked above. It has some fun, entertaining examples of the merging of technology and marketing.
As interesting as it is, it doesn't have anything to do with promotional products. And that got me thinking: why not?
While the technology is still young, it's developing rapidly and becoming more seamless in its integration and uses. In the video above, the phone is pointed at a Starbucks cup and then starts to overlay a video. The speaker says the cup itself is a QR code, but that's a bit inaccurate. What the phone is using is a newer technology called "logo detection."
Check it out:
How cool is that? Think of the applications. As that technology becomes more reliable and affordable, every item you sell becomes that much more valuable. Not only does that imprinted calendar reinforce the brand and keep the logo visible, though AR, it becomes a commercial. For free. How much more value does that add to what promotional products can do?
Another possibility, and I haven't seen this one yet, would be virtual imprinting. Imagine a phone app that would allow you to upload your client's logo, and would display it on the phone's camera viewfinder. With touch-screens the logo could be moved to different places or adjusted in size, and could be superimposed over whatever the lens sees. Point the camera at a blank mug, center the logo, and take a photo: instant product preview.
That kind of technology is available now, and could also be used to create branded photos. Stick a logo in a corner as a watermark, or subtly include it in the background, and you've got product placement everywhere. It's an augmented reality imprint. An ARprint.
There's today's million dollar idea. Someone make it happen. (And send me a royalty check.)