U-Haul leverages augmented reality to bring Detroit location to life
By Chantal Tode
March 4, 2013
U-Haul is bringing one of its locations to life via augmented reality to drive customer engagement.
The U-Haul Moving and Self-Storage of Midtown location in Detroit has incorporated picture recognition technology to enable consumers to access special content about the location. The goal is to enable consumers to get a better look at what is going on inside the building.
“Like never before, consumers can use a smartphone – something many already have on them at any given time - as a visual search tool to unlock hidden content from locations and objects with which they interact on a daily basis,” said Lauren Offers, global head of marketing for Aurasma.
“This campaign in particular allows Detroit locals to gain more insight into U-Haul’s revitalization strategy for their area, including renovations of the very building they’re looking at,” she said.
When users point their phone at the physical entrance to the building, they will see U-Haul International’s executive vice president Stuart Shoen suddenly appear in the doorway.
After introducing himself, Stuart highlights the company’s storage solutions and also discusses how U-Haul plans to sustainably build out the physical location and revitalize the local area.
The augmented reality experience ends with a full screen call-to-action to learn more about these efforts by visiting UHaul’s “Moving Detroit” mobile-friendly blog: www.uhaul.com/movingdetroit.
Users need to download the Brophy ViewAR app to launch the augmented reality experience. The app is available from Apple's App Store or Google Play.
Users can scan the QR code that appears on a sign in the entryway of the building to download the app.
U-Haul partnered with local business Brophy Marketing Services and augmented technology provider Aurasma on the project.
Brands embrace augmented reality
The U-Haul effort is latest example of how brands are embracing augmented reality in growing numbers to drive customer engagement.
For example, in November 2012, the official Taylor Swift mobile application was updated to include an augmented reality experience that is triggered when users interact with the singer’s new album, Red (see story).
Also last fall, Elizabeth Arden incorporated augmented reality into its direct mail campaigns, product packaging and print advertisements to help promote its new fragrance (see story).
Additionally, Buffalo Wild Wings has rolled out an online and mobile pop-a-shot game that uses augmented reality technology to enhance the game when users play it at the company’s restaurants (see story).
“By taking an existing nearby building and adding a layer of useful digital information with Aurasma, marketing companies like Brophy are adding meaningful content to otherwise static, everyday items,” Ms. Offers said.
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
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