Top augmented reality campaigns from the first half

Move over QR codes, there is a new boss in town. Over the past year, augmented reality has taken over the mobile space and has marketers thinking of new ways to incorporate the technology into their strategies to develop interactive and engaging campaigns.

Currently, a majority of augmented reality campaigns are being incorporated in print publications. However, marketers such as Starbucks are rolling out their own augmented reality applications to boost user engagement.

Here are the best augmented reality campaigns of the first half of 2012, in alphabetical order:

Heat
Bauer Media-owned British pop culture magazine Heat used augmented reality to bring its static pages to life.

Consumers were encouraged to download the Aurasma mobile application to interact with the 12 pages of mobile-enabled content.

Additionally, Heat developed a separate, publication-specific app that uses Aurasma?s technology.

The app educated users on how to properly use the mobile app to interact with the content.

To promote the initiative, Heat placed several calls-to-action on the pages to encourage more scans.

By using augmented reality, Heat was able to connect with its readers on a deeper level, as well as bring its print ads to life.

Maxim
Maxim tapped augmented reality to boast readership for its September issue.

The publication launched its own mobile app to coincide with the release of its September issue.

The company decided that it was time to give readers a more interactive way to engage with its content without plastering mobile bar codes on its print pages.

When readers hovered their mobile device over the cover, they were taken to a landing page that let them watch a video of cover model Bar Refaeli.  For example, by holding a mobile phone over the cover image, the app uses image recognition and augmented reality to deliver an on-page video featuring cover model Bar Refaeli.

Currently, many marketers are taking a different approach with their print campaigns. Instead of using QR codes like others do, augmented reality is a great new way to interact with new and existing readers.

Maybelline
L?Oreal?s Maybelline New York used augmented reality to let consumers virtually try on nail polish.

The company partnered with Blippar to help execute the initiative. Maybelinne incorporated augmented reality into its New York Color Show Nail Lacquer print campaign, which will run thorugh the end of the year.

A sidebar on the opposite-facing page walks users through the process of using their mobile device to interact with the ad.

Consumers can aim their device at the print ad to activate the digital portion. From there, the screen shows a spinning circle of all of the company?s new nail colors.

Readers can try on each of the 40 different nail colors by snapping a picture of their hand.

Marvel
To help promote its ?Avengers VS X-Men? comic book, Marvel Entertainment enlisted in an augmented reality application.

The Marvel AR app, which is powered by Aurasma, was unveiled at this year?s SXSW Interactive Festival.

Marvel fans were encouraged to participate by opening up the mobile app and scanning select products, which featured the Marvel AR logo.

Consumers were able to unlock exclusive content featuring popular superheroes such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Hulk.

By rolling out an augmented reality app, Marvel was able to interact with fans at a big event.

Additionally, but enabling the app to bring its popular characters to life, Marvel was able to engage with consumers on a more interactive level.

Tic Tac
Instead of incorporating augmented reality into a print campaign, Tic Tac took a different, much bigger, route.

Earlier this year, the company unveiled an interactive Times Square billboard in New York that incorporated augmented reality to enabled passersby to put themselves in the billboard using their smartphones and the Tic Tac Times Square application.

The billboard was part of Tic Tac?s Shake It Up campaign, which encourages millennials to explore new, unconventional ways of doing daily activities.

Tic Tac used a call-to-action to encourage consumers to view the ad through its mobile app.

After consumers scanned the ad, the imagery on the phone switched to show the user?s face on a magazine cover or on a ?Vote For? sign, with the app automatically taking a user?s Facebook picture and inserting it in various ads.

Starbucks
Starbucks Coffee is always on trend.

Last year the company unveiled its augmented reality mobile application and updated it for Valentine?s day.

Coffee lovers were invited to download the Starbucks Cup Magic app and interact with the company?s limited-edition hot cups.

When consumers scanned the cups, they were able to watch as their Valentines magically came to life.
An augmented reality campaign such as this is very effective as it lets Starbucks interact with consumers using its own products.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York