- PepsiCo teamed with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings to create a commemorative cup that activates an augmented reality (AR) game when scanned with a smartphone camera, Front Office Sports reported. To play the game, fans need to download the Minnesota Vikings app and scan a code on specially marked cups distributed at home games.
- Fans spent a combined 13.5 hours on the app, and an average of a minute and a half for each session, during two home games when the cup was distributed. The cups helped to prolong engagement with the team's brand after fans continued to play the AR game after they left the stadium, said Dawnette Snyder, Pepsi's field marketing manager.
- The team had expected the AR-equipped cups to last through the 10 home games at U.S. Bank Stadium, but the continued fan interest has led the Vikings to sell the cups as a retail product, Front Office Sports reported.
By providing a gamified AR experience on mobile devices, the Minnesota Vikings are engaging their fans with entertainment content that aims to appeal to tech-savvy younger fans who bring their smartphones to stadiums, and are more likely to play video games. The popularity of such content is giving sports teams another way to help brands activate their sponsorships and engage sports fans. AR has become a popular features on social media apps like Snapchat, which claims that 70% of its users play with its AR Lenses every day.
The Vikings have incorporated AR technology into their marketing in a variety of ways to engage fans. The team for the past three seasons has published interactive playbooks that are distributed at home games. The books can be scanned with a smartphone to see AR content, including more information about players. For example, the AR tab in its app features stories, including one about receiver Adam Thielen's childhood. That kind of in-depth content gives the Vikings a chance to deepen the connection between players and fans.
Mobile tie-in's with the Vikings this year include the Minnesota Lottery's campaign featuring an AR lens on Snapchat that brings billboards to life when scanned with a smartphone. The campaign for the lottery's latest Minnesota Vikings-themed scratch-off ticket also had video highlighting a team superfan who showed off her collection of Vikings memorabilia purchased with her lottery winnings.