- Acura enlisted augmented reality (AR) technology and Facebook Live to promote its 2018 TLX A-Spec car, according to a press release by the company.
- Four technology influencers raced in the "What A Race" AR driving event yesterday with cameras mounted to their helmets. Viewers of the live stream played the role of virtual pit crew by using reaction emojis to reveal shortcuts and clear obstacles on the race course's landscape.
- The racers wore custom helmets with AR tech embedded in an extra-wide visor providing an 80-degree view of the race, which was produced by Current Studios. Each lap triggered a new AR course visible to the driver and to viewers on Facebook Live.
Marketers are still working on ways to integrate AR and virtual reality (VR) technology into their efforts, and Acura's race provides one example of how they can do so while providing viewers a highly engaged, interactive role. In Acura's case, viewers were not required to wear any special equipment or download an app, as it was streamed live via Facebook. This likely removed some friction in engaging viewers as the racers were outfitted with the AR gear and computing power to render the live stream.
Many applications featuring AR or especially VR require some sort of special app or hardware, which can limit appeal given that some of the more advanced offerings in the space have yet to see mass consumer adoption. However, forecasts from the International Data Corporation predict a 196.4% compound annual growth rate for AR headsets over the next five years and a 100.7% CAGR for VR headsets over the same period.
Acura is not the first car brand to enlist AR in its marketing strategy. Last month, Jaguar Land Rover used the tech to provide an in-vehicle tour of an SUV model using a smartphone camera. While AR is still early days, major companies like Facebook see opportunity in the technology's future and are building out their offerings for developers and marketers.