Augmented reality – genius or gimmick?

augmented reality

Augmented reality – no, that’s not a typo. Augmented reality is something that has marketers all over the globe hopping up and down with excitement. Why? Because it offers a wealth of new branding, advertising and consumer engagement opportunities. This new technology is moving and growing at lightning fast speed, advancing more in the last 12 months than it has done in the last 12 years.

This week the Augmented Reality Marketing Conference landed in Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse, bringing with it the leaders in its field. We sent one of the team along to see what all of the fuss was about. And what a fuss there was. From moving dinosaurs appearing in front of delegates in the conference room, to live demonstrations of Google Glass, the conference certainly didn’t disappoint.

[su_pullquote align=”left”]“Augmented reality is something which needs to be explained to clients as ‘to grow something stronger’” – James Dearsly, Founder of the Digital Marketing Bureau[/su_pullquote]

Still unsure as to what exactly we are jabbering on about? Put simply, augmented reality is the next phase of the communication platforms that we currently engage with. Before TV we had radio, TV was the next phase in the communication platforms of that time.

So how are marketers using this new technology to benefit their brand? Global companies such as IKEA have embraced augmented reality with open arms by creating an app which allows consumers to ‘try before they buy’. The cleverly designed application allows potential consumers to view their interior space on their iPad or iPhone, transport items of furniture into that space and view it there and then.

And it’s not only furniture that consumers can try before they buy. Virtual fitting rooms are also becoming popular. No need to go through the hassle of getting changed. Just step in front of the screen and choose the clothes you want to try.

[su_pullquote align=”right”] “It is about storytelling and execution rather than technology” – Mathjis Gajentaan, Twnkls[/su_pullquote]

Another industry that has adopted this new technology is the travel industry. Guided city tours have now become interactive and a whole lot more interesting. In Paris, visitors have the ability to go back in time by downloading an app which allows them to see historical images layered onto their physical surroundings.

So, should you consider using this technology in your next marketing campaign? The jury is still out on that one. Augmented reality marketing has many benefits, a number of which were demonstrated and promoted during this week’s conference in Dublin. However, the term ‘gimmicky’ is one which was used more than once during the day’s proceedings, including during a panel discussion.

According to many experts, augmented reality technology, such as Google Glass, will be so common by the year 2020 that we will look back on 2014 and say ‘what was all the fuss about?’.

As with any new technology, it remains to be seen if it will take off or not. However, three words can sum up what our team member thought after their time at the conference – ‘watch this space’.

For information on augmented reality marketing visit