- Marriott partnered with Pepsi's bottled water brand Lifewtr to create customized augmented reality (AR) art displays for hotel guests. Smartphone users can scan a code on a Lifewtr bottle to activate AR features in Facebook's in-app camera, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The campaign has the #UnlockingInspiration hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.
- The AR experience lets Marriott guests decorate their hotel rooms with virtual artwork overlaid against a real background seen through the smartphone's camera. The AR gallery features artwork from 18 Lifewtr artists whose work has decorated the bottled water's packaging.
- Lifewtr will be at the Miami Art Week cultural event that runs Dec. 6-9, and the Marriott Stanton South Beach will be among the first hotels to debut the AR experience for guests. Lifewtr showcased the AR experience at a pop-up event at the Westfield World Trade Center shopping plaza in New York's Oculus transportation hub on Dec. 5 and 6.
Lifewtr's AR experience is an attempt to engage Marriott guests with the bottled water brand as Pepsi renews its supplier partnership with the hotel chain. The program is also an example how Facebook's in-app camera and AR marketing offerings are attracting brands in an area once dominated by Snapchat.
Original artwork is a signature trait of Lifewtr's packaging as part of demonstrating its support of authentic cultural endeavors. Lifewtr regularly updates its bottle artwork as numbered "series." The AR experience will be available with the Series 7 bottle available early next year, according to Pepsi's announcement. Lifewtr may get a lot of marketing mileage from its AR experience as mobile users share the virtual room artwork on social media channels like Facebook.
The effort is in line with Marriott's focus on improving the in-room experience for guests with the latest technologies. The hotel chain this year was an early participant in Amazon's Alexa for Hospitality program that lets hotels, vacation rentals and other hospitality locations integrate special audio functions into their services through Echo smart speakers.
PepsiCo is also making a big push into digital to engage consumers, having announced this year that it was increasing its marketing spend and investing more in digital with its savings under the GOP tax plan. Pepsi ran a two-part campaign in the Netherlands that encouraged people to take a blind taste test comparing Coke and Pepsi and then retargeted them through programmatic digital out-of-home advertising, Digital Signage Connection reported.
Facebook in October renamed its Camera Effects Platform to Spark AR and expanded the program to Instagram, the company announced in a blog post. The platform provides software tools to help creators more easily develop augmented reality (AR) features on mobile devices. Facebook expanding the AR tests as rivals like Snap, Apple, Google and Amazon continue to create similar software tools and platforms for AR development.