- Seek, an augmented reality (AR) application that rewards mobile treasure hunters with prizes, Universal Pictures and Cinemark theaters are teaming up to promote the Tom Cruise reboot of “The Mummy” with a campaign to drive audiences to theaters, according to a press release by the company. The app will place virtual Egyptian coffins at more than 300 Cinemark theaters that can be opened via smartphones to win a real-world prize.
- The 10,000 prizes include $100 gift cards, concessions discounts, free movie tickets from Fandango and free passes to Universal Studios. The promotion will run from May 26 to June 10.
- Participation is free for Android and iOS users. Seek will also be running campaigns for Samsung, Six Flags, Sprint and other brands this summer.
As Pokémon Go became a worldwide sensation last year, brand advertisers started talking about the marketing possibilities for AR, which overlays digital images on the real world using a smartphone camera. Seek, whose official launch was on March 1, harnesses the geolocation abilities of smartphones to encourage audiences to take action in the physical world while raising awareness for brand sponsors like Universal Pictures.
AR usage is estimated to grow 30% this year to 40 million people in the U.S. and reach 54.4 million people by 2019, according to eMarketer. Snapchat and Facebook are helping to drive growth in AR adoption with the use of lenses and masks in their camera features as a low-cost way to experiment with and drive interest in emerging AR technologies. A February International Data Corporation report predicts businesses will spend nearly $14 million on AR and virtual reality in 2017, up 130.5%. Spending by the retail industry is expected to surge over the next few years, making it the largest segment by spend by 2020.
AR adoption is also expected to get a boost from Apple's iPhone 8, which is set for a September release. The smartphone is expected to have AR technology built into its operating system, making it easier for developers to expand on the technology's capabilities, according to CNBC.