Universal Pictures offers first AR experience integrated across Facebook and Messenger
- Universal Pictures partnered with Facebook on an augmented reality (AR) promotion for the DVD release of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." The promotion is the first integrated AR experience for Facebook and its Messenger chat app, according to a statement.
- Participating retailers in 18 countries will have in-store displays that provide instructions on how to scan a quick-response (QR) code with a smartphone to see a virtual dinosaur come to life. The DVD packaging has a collectible insert to scan with Messenger's camera feature to see an AR version of a baby dinosaur. Fans can share screengrabs and video of the AR experience with friends on social media.
- Universal's home entertainment group will release the DVD versions of the latest "Jurassic" film on Sept. 18 in North America before a worldwide rollout. The in-store AR experience will be available in 17,000 U.S. retail and grocery stores.
Universal's promotion for the DVD release of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" is notable as the first integrated AR experience among Facebook's apps, both in Messenger and its main social networking app. As such, it is an example of how AR experiences continue to expand their reach and how major platforms are exploring ways to enhance their offerings so they can attract more brands and consumers.
Earlier this year, Universal Picture's parent company NBCUniversal embraced the latest interactive technologies, including AR, virtual reality (VR) and voice-activated smart assistants, to promote the theatrical release of "Jurassic World" and urge audiences to spend more time with its branded content.
The studio in May debuted a mobile game called "Jurassic World Alive" that used AR imagery and location-based technology to let fans chase after virtual dinosaurs in their real surroundings, similar to the hit game "Pokemon Go." Walmart and AMC Theatres promoted the game's launch by offering players more ways to unlock game content by visiting stores or theaters. Universal also rolled out a VR experience at Dave & Buster's entertainment venues for the movie, and an audio game to play on Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. Kellogg created limited-edition boxes of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Keebler Fudge Stripes that had exclusive, behind-the-scenes videos about the making of the "Jurassic" sequel. It's unclear how much the various tech activations drove viewers to the theater, but the film did make more than $1 billion in world box office sales.
For Facebook, the "Jurassic World" promotion gives fans another reason to download its apps, especially younger audiences who are more likely to use the company's Instagram app or rival Snapchat. EMarketer last month predicted the number of U.S. Facebook users will rise 0.9% this year to 169.5 million, making it the most used social network among all age groups except for teens. However, Facebook's data-sharing scandal also has led 74% of U.S. adults to delete its app, change their privacy settings or take a break from the social network, according to a survey by Pew Research.
AR has been a key part of movie promotions and videogame tie-ins this year, especially after Apple and Google created software tools to help developers create AR experiences for smartphone users. Sony this year has teased the "Ghostbusters World" game that lets players catch virtual ghosts. Other examples include AMC's "The Walking Dead: Our World" and Warner Bros. Interactive's "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite." Theater chain Regal Entertainment partnered with Moviebill, a print publication similar to the classic Playbill, that moviegoers could scan with a smartphone to activate AR tie-ins with films.