Gini Dietrich

Augmented Reality for PR and Marketing Pros

By: Gini Dietrich | September 20, 2012 | 

I spoke last night to the PRSA Central Ohio chapter.

I really love Columbus. It’s a great little town and, every time I visit, people are sooooo nice to me. I was there for all of three hours, but I still felt very welcome.

One of the things we talked about was augmented reality. I realized as we chatted, I spend a lot of time showing examples of this cool new trends when I speak, but I’ve never shared it with you.

Be prepared to be amazed!

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality, according to Wikipedia, is:

a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

In other words, a computer creates new senses for you as you read, watch, or experience publications, videos, or events. Think of it as being placed in a 3D world while you read a magazine or shop in a retail store.

It’s very, very cool. It’s one of those technologies coming that gets my nerdy side excited.

Some Examples

One of the very first examples I saw of augmented reality was Lego. I don’t have kids so I have no reason to have Legos in my house (though I buy them for my nieces and nephews), but this really makes me want to buy some.

If you scan the box of Legos before you buy them, it will show you what the construction of it looks like.

I can’t do it justice in words. Watch.

Then, a couple of months ago, I saw a new campaign by IKEA. I’m not an IKEA customer (mostly because I HATE to shop so the idea of spending anytime in a place like IKEA on a weekend in the suburbs of Chicago gives me the heebie jeebies), but this makes me want to reconsider my stance.

Their 2013 catalog will be something you’ve never experienced.

Take a look.

Implementing Yourselves

Alright, let’s be real. Unless you are a marketing or PR pro who also has amazing skills with API development, particularly around camera data, this is not a DIY project.

Which means, unless you work at a large agency with big budgets and clients like Lego or IKEA who are willing to spend some money to experiment, this is not something you’ll get to implement in the very near future.

That said, there are companies popping up now that will help you add digital content to your print media in an easy and effective way.

Layar is one of those companies and they have a free level of pricing that allows you to test some things on your own. Then, depending on how you publish and where you distribute, it charges you per page.

So if you have a catalog like Ikea, it gets pretty spendy. But if you’re testing something cool to take to a trade show and want 100 pieces, you’ll spend about $1,000.

Admittedly, I have not tried this for us yet so I don’t know how well (or if) Layar works. But it looks super, duper easy so I promise you I’ll try it and report back.

In the meantime, let’s hear from you. What experience do you have with augmented reality?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I love the Lego example. I just saw it yesterday when I saw @mitchjoel speak at Dreamforce. So many cool things for marketers to do with AR. Great things with experiential marketing too.

    •  @katskrieger  @mitchjoel So jealous that you’re at Dreamforce. 

      • @jasonkonopinski @mitchjoel It has been incredible.

        •  @katskrieger  I caught the @benioff  keynote on live-stream yesterday. Mind-blowing. 

        • @jasonkonopinski It was long, but good. Excited to see how the marketing solution could be good for us.

    •  @katskrieger  Did you love seeing my social media boyfriend speak?? Isn’t he great?

      • @ginidietrich Best speaker for the whole conference for me. And getti g to actually meet him was a thrill. Hopefully I wasnt too stalker ish. Lol

  • gstene

    @ginidietrich hi early bird 🙂 haven’t gotten any feedback on my suggestion btw;-)

    • ginidietrich

      @gstene You will! @belllindsay just started so she’s still wrapping her arms around all the content.

      • belllindsay

        @ginidietrich @gstene Weird – I just sent you an email Geir! 🙂

  • I caught an NPR report the other day talking with the developers of a new music app that was using location data and the accelerometer in your phone to provide a custom music listening experience based on activity and mood. I’ll try and find the link. It was a really interesting conversation. 

    •  @jasonkonopinski Ohhhhh. Find this for me!

      •  @ginidietrich Here you go:
        It was a rebroadcast on RadioLab

  • I set in on an economic development and education meeting and they were showing a ‘virtual’ but usable keyboard that was just an image; does that count. Don’t tell me that’s old news now…….

    •  @bdorman264 You “set” in on a meeting? Good Lord you are from the South. 
      I conducted a meeting yesterday where I used a virtual keyboard. It was VERY cool!

      •  @ginidietrich I meant ‘sat’……….but I will drop a ‘fixin to’ in there at anytime…….:)

  • Awesome. Now we can stop talking about  QR codes for a millisecond 🙂

    •  @AmyMccTobin Poor QR codes. I wonder if they’ll ever gain traction?

      • belllindsay

         @ginidietrich  @AmyMccTobin I hate QR codes. 

  • I will repeat…it’s such an exciting time to be in our field. #That.Is.All.

    •  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Is this a repeat?! 🙂

  • You’re right, that is pretty cool. I have a great idea for an augmented reality bit where I fly around the Suburbs of Chicago and save damsels in distress from getting trampled during an Ikea stampede!

    •  @SociallyGenius I think that sounds like a fabulous idea!

  • belllindsay

    Whoa. As a production/field director/shoot nerd, that Ikea video alone blew me away. So innovative, yet simple and beautifully produced. 

    •  @belllindsay Isn’t it super cool?? We’ll have to talk about ways we can use it with our clients. It’s not super sophisticated yet, but might be kind of fun for trade shows and the like.

  • Lisa Larranaga

    I love what Jayme said, and agree! It is a very excited time to be in the PR & marketing industries and although it may not be possible for all agencies to implement this, it does start stirring the creative juices to help people thing big. On a similar wavelength, Peter Himler just wrote about Condition One on The Flack, and how it was one of the most buzzworthy startups at New York Tech Meetup:
    It offers “next generation immersive video applications … that combine the power of still image, narrative of films and engagement of tactile controls to create powerful emotional experiences of ‘being there.’
    Maybe professionals who don’t have the budget for augmented reality can start with immersive experiences first?
    Great post, Gini! As always. Would love to pick your brain over lunch some day … or at least force you to drink coffee with me. It’s delicious, I swear!!! (Yvette has my back on this one!) 
    Have a great day!

    •  @Lisa Larranaga I don’t drink coffee, but I’d love to drink something else while you drink coffee. I’ll check out the Condition One link. Thanks for the heads-up!

  • cision

    @angelaksgiles Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • angelaksgiles

      @cision, your most Welcome Lisa 🙂

  • Where AR really needs to be, in order to get mass uptake, is part of the mass market app usage. Check out Nielsen’s report from last month:

    Of the Top 5, ShopKick is the only one where you’d be in a physical store and have the ability to layer AR on top of the store layout.
    Yes, Layar offers you a decent version of this approach when you’re at home, but it’s nowhere near the interactive app it needs to be when you’re not outside.
    Considering the rest of the Top 5 are all email-based or web-based companies, AR may be a tougher nut to crack unless companies really put some R&D into it, along with education to the mass market. It’s great PR and marketing folks are excited – now it’s our jobs to get mom and pop excited, too.

    •  @Danny Brown  Note to self: Don’t recommend anything for Jugnoo that uses augmented reality until it’s ready to be part of the mass market app usage. 
      Thanks for taking the wind out of my sails.

  • drewhawkins

    Blippar is a good outsourced way to achieve a one-off AR campaign. Definitely cheaper than hiring an agency. 

    •  @drewhawkins Great addition – thank you! I’ll check it out.

  • I hate shopping too! Been meaning to check out Layer, thanks for the reminder.

    •  @Tinu So many reasons to love you.

    •  @Tinu @ginidietrich Wow, I’m more girly when it comes to shopping than you guys! Take me shopping, baby — especially on those 3°F days here in the great white north! 

  • ginidietrich

    @TaylorGaspar I decided to blog about it so I could show examples!

    • TaylorGaspar

      @ginidietrich And I’m glad you did! Your explanation was spot-on, but it helps to see it visually! Thx again for great #COPRSA presentation!

      • ginidietrich

        @TaylorGaspar xoxo

  • JakeZi

    @ginidietrich liked your blog. Did you also feel like AR died, but recently resurrected and matured?

  • rustyspeidel

    I also learned that many of the interiors you see in that catalog are no longer photographed–they are 3-D computer renderings, sometimes right down to the people!! It’s cheaper and allows them to customize the photos to the cultures they are shipping catalogs to be changing colors, fabrics styles, or wall hangings. Crazy cool. 

    •  @rustyspeidel I read that same story, I think. It also looked at how models and actors are all up in arms about it because they’re no longer needed. It’s kind of how I feel about algorithms replacing writers.

  • rebeccaodell

    @TaylorGaspar @ginidietrich Jenn-Air’s app = one of my favorite AR examples!

  • I’m still waiting for a ready-to-use version of the app that got me interested in AR in the first place… the one that gives you walking directions by overlaying arrows onto the real world via smartphone screen. 

    •  @jelenawoehr Isn’t Google coming out with something like that?

    • JackBerger

       @jelenawoehr You mean like this?

  • LVisaya

    Very interesting Gini! I’ll have to try it out. @ginidietrich

    • ginidietrich

      @LVisaya It’s pretty cool!

  • StorchMurphy

    Very cool Gini! I actually experienced “augmented reality” last year when browsing a clothing mag (Patagonia maybe?). If you placed your smart phone over the model on the page who was decked out in winter clothing, you would see outfits under that. It was very cool, only I didn’t know what the technology was called until reading this. Thanks for the tip about Layar too. It might prove interesting moving forward. Rob

    •  @StorchMurphy Ohhhhh! I’m going to see if I can find that. VERY COOL!

  • GreykaMobile

    @KatieMillerMN Where are looking forward to seeing #AugmentedReality implemented?

    • KatieMillerMN

      @GreykaMobile in healthcare! Would love to see if for demos, explaining procedures, showing how the body works, etc. #augmentedreality

  • It’s interesting to think how this applies to high-powered construction engineering projects. All these companies are reduced to commodities by the RFP. But demonstrating in 3D animation, AR and other techniques can make their alternate concepts come to life. 
    And these are the types of projects where the budgets make a little investment in high-end presentation well worth it. 

    •  @barrettrossie I just spoke to an organization and one of the attendees is an architect. He said the same thing – during lunch a few weeks ago, one of his junior designers opened some new AR software and created something a CAD expert couldn’t have done in 20 hours. It’s pretty stinking cool!

  • scrappy_face

    @nottinghamtoday Thanks for passing it on! Have a fabulous Friday & weekend!! @jasminemdean @spinsucks

  • scrappy_face

    @AugmentedAdvert Thanks for the retweet! Hope you have a great weekend 🙂