Creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town introduced the application of augmented reality (AR), as part of an experiential activation in selected malls, for literature retail outlet Wordsworth Books last week. Anton Crone, executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town, says the campaign marks the debut of AR in consumer marketing in South Africa, and the African continent.
Visitor's displayed a leaflet in front of a Mac Powerbook's webcam to activate a 3D animation aerial combat scene that was superimposed on the live webcam feed.
Wordsworth Books tasked the agency to engage consumers in the atmospheric setting of its stores - "a book lover's universe where the written word comes to life," which remains a salient feature differentiating the brand from its competitors. Saatchi & Saatchi brokered a participation deal with Apple Macintosh stores for Wordsworth, and then turned to AR, which has remained fairly unexploited in a commercial marketing context until now.
Saatchi & Saatchi placed an Apple Mac Powerbook and webcam inside a Wordsworth Books store. Store visitors received a page extract from a World War II novel, which described an aerial dog fight between two pilots, and were prompted to display it before the live streaming webcam.
"The webcam scanned and recognised a special marker on the leaflet. This triggered a virtual 3D animation aerial combat scene that was superimposed on the live webcam feed, the person standing in front of the Mac. Computer graphical objects were blended into live footage, and visitors had a composite view of virtual reality and real-life reality or augmented reality," says Crone.
Saatchi & Saatchi's Alan Cronje visible in a screen grab taken from the Mac Powerbook, shows how computer graphical objects were blended into live footage, generating a composite image of virtual reality and real-life reality for the viewer.
"Based on movement of the leaflet, scenes and angles of the fighter pilot animation sequence changed, and through this, audiences were shown how the written word comes to life at Wordsworth Books."
Allan Kent, head of Saatchi & Saatchi's digital division AtPlay, believes it is important for creative agencies to explore ways of applying new technologies in mainstream consumer marketing communication fields.
"The constantly evolving technology landscape is churning out an infinite amount of new and original marketing tools for advertisers to play with. There has to be an element of creative risk-taking. On the other side of the fence, consumers are awestruck by the novelty of advertising and marketing innovations, which offers interest and intrigue compared to the standard items in their everyday advertising consumption diets."
Kent further says that companies are beginning to embrace the notion of digital and social media as dominant force in the marketing industry, and believes 2009 marks an era that will completely transform the advertising and communication landscape.
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Just take someone else's invention, slap it on one Mac in one store window, repeat your agency's name no less than 5 times in the press release and voila! You are creative!