Pokemon Go. Believe it or not, it’s actually important.


Pokémon GO may yet turn out to be a short-lived craze, but its longer term impact will lie in advancing the cause of augmented reality and bring the technology within the remit of consumers who may never have heard of the term, industry figures have said, because of its capacity to “train” consumers in how to use Augmented Reality.

Augmented Reality is simply when the world around us is changed or enhanced by purely digital features imposed on the real world as we view it through digital devices like smart phones.>

Or for the full Wikipedia explanation:

Augmented reality or (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified – possibly even diminished rather than augmented – by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.

By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. Augmentation is conventionally happening in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes both interactive and digitally manipulable. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the real world. Marketers are very excited about the possibilities.

“Mass adoption occurs when we stop talking about technology as technology and instead start participating – or in this case, playing Pokémon GO,” Michael Koziol, President of digital agency Huge’s Atlanta office, as told to industry sheet Warc.

“Users have responded to the digital and physical experience, so we will likely see an increase of these experiences going forward,” he said.

“The popularity of the experience and the business demand – mostly from retailers and restaurants – will lead to interesting commercialisation models,” he added.

The impacts can appear dramatically on the bottom line. McDonald’s Japan last week claimed a 27% jump in sales for July as demand on the back of the brand’s collaboration with Pokémon GO – not only in terms of the chain’s outlets becoming “PokéStops” and “PokéGyms” to attract players, but also the offer of Pokémon toys as part of children’s meals.

Huge itself tested the idea by acquiring multiple “Lures”, which attract Pokémon to a set location, in the app to see if this boosted foot traffic to the agency’s recently opened café and increased purchases.

Sales rose by 27.4% the day after the program’s launch, Koziol reported, an upward trend that extended for the remainder of the week-long initiative – translating to a remarkable total return on investment of 400%.

He expects that many more augmented and “mixed reality” games are likely to appear in the next few years.

Rachael Lonergan, Head of Strategy at Sydney-based agency Foundation, concurred, adding that the success of Pokémon GO constituted “proof” that AR works – when the variables are lined up correctly – with the additional benefit that it has “trained” consumers to use this technology.

But she also warned that “a lot of brands are going to get this wrong” and advised them to consider whether AR fits with organic customer behaviours, where it sits in overall communication strategy and what the likely incremental effects are on business results.

“Unless it offers exceptional utility or engagement, it won’t happen,” she said.

MOPAt MOP, we have been carefully tracking the success of London-based Blippar, (now apparently a $1 billion concern) one of the leading developers in this field.

There clearly exists a real possibly to deliver people additional information at certain moments in their life. It’s well worth looking at their website, https://blippar.com/en/, to find out more about this fascinating new medium.

Imagine seeing an ad, and instantly being able to access an interactive product demonstration, a consumer review, find out where the nearest stockists are, even place an order. Instantly, right then and there.

We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.

Author: Stephen Yolland

Director of Creative Strategy and Partner @ Magnum Opus Partners.

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