The AR Effect: Five Brands Putting Tech to the Test

As the technology we carry with us every day becomes more advanced, so does the demand for interactive and immersive digital experiences. Augmented reality – or AR – is just one of the ways brands are rising to this challenge.

Using digital data to place the customer in an artificial, but convincing life-like scenario, AR can generate astonishing results. Some of the world’s biggest brands have already begun using AR effectively; here are a few of our favourites from recent years.

  1. Snapchat

The obvious brand when it comes to social AR. With face filters, games and 3D Bitmoji, there’s plenty to keep Snapchat’s 188 million daily active users busy! Snapchat has recently introduced ‘shoppable AR lenses’ which allow brands to engage with potential customers through Snapchat. As well as branded over lays and ‘Shoppable offer’ click-throughs which allow the user to shop now, watch a promotional video or install an app. Earlier this year Snapchat also introduced the Lens Studio, allowing anyone to download the software and create their own AR experience via a unique Snapchat lens.

  1. Topshop

Topshop started its AR journey back in 2011 when it partnered with a Russian agency on AR-driven dressing rooms in its Moscow flagship store. A built-in camera recognized the body and superimposed the clothing onto the shopper, creating a unique experience and reducing the time and effort of trying clothes on. In 2018, Topshop and Topman continued to experiment with in-store augmented reality, via a campaign called #TSTMIntoTheWild which ran in Malaysia and featured a virtual wild garden shop window!

  1. IKEA

If you’re hot on homeware and you haven’t heard of IKEA Place, what have you been doing for the last year? The free app was released in 2017 to help customers visualize what furniture will look like in their home before buying. A simple upgrade on the IKEA Catalogue app, it’s safe to say it was a hit! Gone are the days of rummaging for a tape measure to see if your dream sofa will fit, the new app has 98% accuracy, and furniture is correctly sized down to the millimetre.

  1. McDonald’s

Last year, the popular fast food chain used Snapchat in its recruitment process with 10-second snaplications. McDonald’s designed an AR lens on Snapchat which allowed people to put on a virtual hat and name tag, so they could record a clip explaining why they wanted to apply. The recruitment campaign received thousands of applications in the first day alone, proving that it’s not hard to engage a young demographic if you know where to find them. It’s safe to say – we’re lovin’ it!

  1. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola started its AR journey back in 2013, when it partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to create an engaging experience which demonstrated the effects of global warming on Arctic wildlife. Set up in the Science Museum in London, visitors were virtually submerged in sections of ice and able to interact with a polar bear family until the ice broke, highlighting the reality of global warming. More recently, Coca-Cola kicked off the 2018 FIFA World Cup celebrations with a fully immersive AR experience that allowed passersby at Zurich Central to play football alongside Swiss Footballer, Xherdan Shaqiri. Over the two days, over 1000 people interacted with the installation!

Whether it’s targeting a new audience, driving footfall, tapping into consumer emotions or decreasing the number of product returns, these brands have recognized AR is an innovative way to help them reach their goals!

We’re looking forward to seeing what immersive experiences are next…

Laura Jones


 Laura Jones