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SeaWorld Orlando taps augmented reality for interactive South Pole experience

To help drive awareness for a new penguin-themed attraction opening this spring, SeaWorld Orlando has introduced an augmented reality app that offers users a sneak peek of the experience.

The new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction opens this spring and offers a penguin?s eye view of the South Pole. It is SeaWorld Orlando?s largest-ever attraction and to support the opening, the theme park has launched a marketing campaign that includes the mobile app as well as a seven city tour.

?Mobile plays a great role in that it allows guests to engage with SeaWorld and its newest attraction in ways never done before,? said Toni Caracciolo, vice president of marketing and sales at SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando. ?Every component of the campaign has a digital interactive element, whether through the app or in our actual travel show and mall appearance experience.

?Many guests carry with them a smartphone throughout their day,? she said. ?By leveraging this technology, we can introduce a small part of what Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin will be like for guests once the attraction opens. Plus, it?s a lot of fun for both kids and adults alike.?

A penguin?s eye view
SeaWorld?s Antarctica app features behind-the-scenes teaser videos and tour details, penguin fun facts and trivia. Additionally, users can immerse themselves virtually into Antarctica through augmented reality and enter the Family Voyage Sweepstakes for a chance to win trip to SeaWorld Orlando.

Users can use the app to video a friend or family members for 10 to 15 seconds using visual cues. The video is then processed with the augmented reality content overlay to create a final file which can be saved to the phone, sent via email, or posted on the guest?s Facebook or YouTube account.

Users can record videos leveraging five different augmented reality scenes.

The SeaWorld?s Antarctica app is available for download on iPhone and iPad. It will be coming to Android devices soon.

?Our all-new mobile app allows fans from around the world to preview and experience Antarctica: Empire of The Penguin,? Ms. Caracciolo said.

?From behind-the-scenes teaser videos and tour details to penguin fun facts and trivia, consumers can immerse themselves virtually into Antarctica through augmented reality and also enter the Family Voyage Sweepstakes,? she said.

?Users can take the plunge and go beneath the surface to swim with penguins, do a penguin dance among a colony of penguins, explore the vast open land of Antarctica and trudge through the harshest conditions on the earth.?

Mobile experiences
The Epic Voyage tour will take over malls and other locations with an ice dome, interactive virtual reality, shareable photo opportunities, chances to win prizes and live penguins. The first stop was in New York City and seven other cities will be visited in the coming months.

Additionally, SeaWorld street teams will roam the cities in wrapped, Antarctic-themed cars and test consumers with trivia, hand out prizes and help them create augmented reality videos that can be shared with family and friends.

SeaWorld Orlando introduced a SeaWorld park App in 2011 for guests using iPhones when they visit the park. It features park hours and show schedules, as well as attraction details and a map of the park.

?The greatest lesson that we?ve learned is that guests are continuing to embrace mobile technology and that their expectations of new, informative, and innovative experiences will only continue to grow,? Ms. Caracciolo said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York