The hunt is on with Conan O'Brien's scavenger hunt app in New York
To promote TBS? late-night comedy show, Conan, the network partnered with Team Coco and AT&T to release an augmented reality application that lets users interact with Conan O?Brien and the AT&T brand by finding hidden prizes around New York City.
The new mobile app makes use of AR technology to let customers search for and find hidden tokens in certain areas of New York city to earn prizes. The move is an attempt to capitalize on the growing technology behind augmented reality and use it for brand promotion.
"Mobile is central to everything that we do ? over half of TeamCoco.com?s traffic is on mobile devices, and that just scratches the surface of how our audience is consuming our content on phones and tablets, especially across social media," said Steve Beslow, head of digital at Team Coco. "Besides our own native video apps on iOS and Android, we are continually optimizing our digital content for mobile and have started making significant investments in mobile-first social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat."
The new mobile app, which is called Catch Coco, tasks users with finding hidden items around New York city, similar in a basic sense to Pokemon GO. That game?s explosive popularity was a likely influence on Catch Coco.
The app was developed and set in New York city to celebrate Mr. O?Brien taping a week of shows in the area, at the Apollo Theater.
The app takes users to 15 landmark areas around the city where they are asked to use their mobile devices and the augmented reality app to find a hidden item. Each of the 15 items are distinguished as different deli sandwiches ? a reference to New York?s famous delis.
For example, one item is ?Tuna Melt Conan.? Each sandwich is paired with a person or character involved in the show.
An interactive map hosted on the app will help users navigate the city and find the items they are looking for. Once the user is within a certain distance from the hidden sandwich, the map will change to a live camera view, where the user will search around the area for the sandwich and use their phone?s camera to collect it.
Ten winners will have a chance to come to one of the New York tapings. The first person to claim all 15 sandwiches will be invited to a show and get to meet Mr. O?Brien.
The next nine people to find the 15 sandwiches will also be invited to attend a taping.
To make things fair for users outside the New York city area, anyone with the mobile app can be taken to a live camera view of each of the 15 landmarks and find the hidden sandwich, although doing so from home will disqualify one from winning one of the 10 big prizes.
Instead, 30 users who find all 15 sandwiches from home will be entered to win a collection of swag related to Conan.
"Our goal for the app follows CONAN?s general principles: be funny and surprising," Mr. Beslow said. "We were looking for an innovative way to promote the fact that Conan is back in New York and AT&T was looking for a way to showcase the latest in mobile technology.
"What better way to let people know that Conan is in town than to let them literally 'see' him around the city?"
TBS and Team Coco are working with AT&T to develop and release this app with AT&T as the brand sponsor. As the only sponsor of the app, AT&T will have exclusive brand exposure to the app?s users and is already running ads and other branded materials both within the app and in promotional materials around it.
The app is tapping into the larger market for augmented reality apps started by the smash hit Pokemon Go earlier this summer, and, to a lesser extent, its spiritual predecessor, Ingress.
Ingress, an augmented reality similar in many ways to Pokemon Go and developed by the same company, Niantic, was the first majorly popular augmented reality app. Since its release and the Pokemon Go craze a few months ago, more and more brands have begun to see the potential of augmented reality as a way of exposing their message to willing consumers, in a similar way to how virtual reality has started to blow up as well.
"Conan and Team Coco have always been excited to take advantage of the gap between emerging tech and comedy, and the explosion of Pokemon Go earlier this year made it clear that there are tremendous possibilities for augmented reality," Mr. Beslow said. "AT&T has always been a fantastic sponsor, including at this year?s Comic Con where they supported our unprecedented 360-degree virtual reality campaign.
"So naturally they were the perfect fit for us as we took our first steps into the world of AR."