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May 31, 2009
Free your Dorito with augmented reality

Augmented reality is the idea of the month. Even if it has been out there for at least a year or so, in the last month the buzz around it has literally exploded. A lot of marketers are excited by the wow effect augmented reality can generate, but fortunately another good number of bloggers and marketers have a more realistic approach to the idea. Advertising Lab writes "Augmented reality is the new Second Life", SuperCollider blogs about "Augmented Reality, Second Life, and the trough of disillusionment".

I share their same feelings and concerns. It's a bit like QR codes as well. Everywhere in the world (a part from Japan and South Korea probably) there is a lot of buzz around them, advertising agencies sell them as "the coolest thing" to naive clients, but numbers are not there to support the investment. Augmented Reality could suffer of the same problems, since it strongly relies on consumers having a webcam, and be willing to spend five minutes to understand what the brand ask them to do to enjoy the experience. If you use augmented reality only to promote your product or to simply entertain consumers than you are late and already out-of-fashion. The third (or even the second) comer already cannot count on the wow-effect. But but but, augmented reality can still have a future, like any other digital gadget, if it's used in a smart, really interactive way, with the end goal of providing an added value to the end consumer.

The initiative launched in Brazil to promote Doritos Sweet Chili is a good example of a augmented reality moving in the right direction. The idea is simple: on each package of the snack consumer find and augmented reality symbol, a code that can be activated at, releasing a Doritos Lover, a 3D toy-art-inspired-monster. The Lovers should then be freed and added to their owners profiles at Orkut, the most popular social network in Brasil, as a special app. It is also possible to take pictures, create birth certificates or leave the monsters out for adoption, in case the owner is not very fond of his new "baby". Already 23.000 lovers have been released among the possible combinations of Doritos Lovers.

Although not perfect, Doritos Lovers (created by Cubocc) is good example of AR moving beyond a simple/one way 3d visualization. We should think of AR has a way of delivering useful content (for example how to use a product - as an instruction manual). We should think of AR as a tool to be integrated in a marketing action, not as "the" gimmick around which the whole campaign is based. We should think about AR as the beginning, not as the end of the consumer experience.

And if you want some more food for thought/inspiration, check out this:

Comments on this entry

I think it would be more interesting if this Dorito's AR was kind of the old Damagotchi and also collectable by one ID, as old characters cards collection albums.
Second life system takes too long time for each character and Damagotchi's charecters' lifes are quite shorter. Suitable for short term marketing action.

Do you think that the AR could become as one of the important new medias?

Posted by: Soo Jung at May 31, 2009 03:15 PM


Great concept. Consumer engagement is an excellent way to go.

Posted by: Stefanie Hartman at June 1, 2009 12:09 PM


Idea of the month..., come on Martina it lasts for more than a month, have a look to my selection of AR:

Posted by: ipub at June 3, 2009 03:05 AM


Sure it's there since longer, but it's in the last month or so that the super buzz has started.
Anyway thanks for sharing the link with all those examples

Posted by: Martina at June 3, 2009 06:41 AM


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