First up: Augmented reality.
2013 found marketers taking to AR in all-new ways. Here are some of the most outstanding initiatives this year (so far - there's still time to knock our socks off).
Our Top 10 countdown includes:
What JJ Abrams did for "Star Trek" and "Mission Impossible" with the ActionFX app, Disney's doing with its treasure trove of characters via its new Infinity Action! app. Kids of every age rejoice.
Microsoft is pitching a whole different kind of windows. In a series of new YouTube videos, the software giant is showing retailers how its Kinect gaming technology could be used to create highly interactive window displays. It’s actually quite cool.
Technically not a branded experience, this proof of concept promises way cool opportunities – especially for game brands like Sim City or Minecraft. I want one. I really, really want one.
Okay, you might find yourself wanting to punch some of the people in this video - but you have to love the idea. The new 2014 IKEA catalog lets you place furniture in your home through the power of augmented reality.
A famed breakfast brand uses AR to live up to its magical moniker. Lucky Charms' augmented reality campaign centered on a new "Chase the Charms" mobile app that lets you scan specially marked boxes in search of 8 lucky charms that lead to a very real pot of gold. I don't know how many grade schoolers had a smart phone to do this. But munchie-crazed teens, twentysomethings and indeterminate 30s-40s digital marketer-bloggers found this is worth its weight in well, you get the picture.
Wow this video is tough to watch - but the innovation behind it is fun. In March, Domino's Japan launched an iPhone app featuring Hatsune Miku, a hugely popular, yet completely make-believe, virtual music star. Via the app, users can place their pizza orders directly from Miku, check order status in real time, review Miku-inspired uniform designs created by the Domino's staff, shoot their own photo opps with Miku, and much more. But the best feature comes once your pizza is delivered: Point your phone at the box and enjoy a special augmented reality performance from Miku, right on the box itself.
It might be the ultimate ice cream topping: This augmented reality concerto lasts just long enough for the ice cream to soften up just right. A very nice branding moment for connecting with certain customer segments.
Lexus is pushes the limits again - this time keying into QR codes - the scanning of which reveals models kinda-sorta hidden in SI print ads for the new IS.
It may just be the most eco-friendly toilet papering you ever committed. In a very fun promo, Cheetos teams up with Google Street View to enable you to (digitally) toilet paper anyone's house or place of business. Just enter the address and drop the payload - without killing a single tree. Perfect for Cheetos' playfully mischievous brand. And a cathartic experience - complete with the sound of "Ride of the Valkyries" from Wagner – for users. Hard not to love this one.
Our favorite AR of the year is also the newest: A New Zealand-based pizza chain called Hell Pizza has developed a very cool augmented reality game that pits pizza fans against (what else) zombies in a battle on the box top to protect their favorite pizzeria. Sorry, Domino's, zombies trump Hatsune Miku when you're hungry. (See video above.)
So: How does our list of Top 10 Augmented Reality initiatives square with yours this year? Share your faves here.
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