- Augmented reality (AR) entertainment app Mardles added characters from Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 4" to its lineup to bring to life children's party products sold at Walmart, developer AliveLab said in an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- By pointing a mobile camera at party plates, cups and hats made by Unique Industries, kids can see 3D versions of the animated characters that are overlaid on their real surroundings. Mardles also works with AliveLab's own brand of stickers, coloring books, story books and dress-up masks.
- Mardles doesn't collect data about children, ensuring parents that the app is safe for kids. The app also doesn't require a Wi-Fi or data connection to work after download, per its announcement.
By adding "Toy Story 4" characters to the Mardles app, AliveLab aims to boost the entertainment value of its AR animations for kids. The integration with party products can provide a seamless experience for children as they interact with characters from the Disney/Pixar sequel. The movie set a worldwide box-office record for an animated film in its opening weekend, although its domestic results were less than forecast.
AliveLab is also wise to publicize that Mardles doesn't collect data about children. As the data collection policies of tech giants — especially when it comes to children — is a key concern, marketers must consider parents' privacy concerns when developing kid-focused products and campaigns. The FTC filed a complaint about Google that caused the company to change its policies.
AR technology has become more central to mobile entertainment since "Pokémon Go" in 2016 demonstrated a strong consumer appetite for apps that interweave characters from popular media franchises with a smartphone user's real surroundings. Pokémon Go developer Niantic last week released "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" to wide acclaim. The game is forecast to generate $100 million in revenue during its first 30 days of availability as players make in-app purchases, according to analytics firm App Annie.
"Toy Story 4" will generate $85 million in consumer product revenues for Disney. Disney expanded its Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando with a "Toy Story Land" section inspired by the film franchise, setting the company up to sell "Toy Story" merchandise for years to come. Meanwhile, the company will forego $60 million in licensing revenue streaming services like Netflix after launching the Disney+ streaming service this fall, according to a Bank of America estimate cited by Barron's.