Augmented reality in PR – todays storytelling & media contact

Credits: Pixabay / Mimzy

The term Augmented Reality (hereafter abbreviated as AR) describes a computer-assisted extension of reality by certain elements or information. This does not create a new virtual world that can only be experienced with certain glasses, for example, but rather complements reality in a meaningful way. A fairly well-known example of this is the past Pokémon Go trend. Players can search, find and collect certain Pokémon characters and items in their environment via an app. The characters and elements are not real, but virtual and only visible through the app.

A second, very well-known example is the life-size animals displayed by Google Image Search. Anyone who owns a smartphone can view the 3D animals virtually in life size via Google Search. Prerequisite: Google is set to the region USA and language English in the settings. For example, if you are looking for an emperor penguin, a scalable, animated model of the animal will be displayed next to the images in the info box. You can view this model in 3D, so that the penguin can be placed life-size in the room using AR technology. Wow! Who hasn’t always wanted to have an emperor penguin as a guest in their living room?

But AR doesn’t only provide fun and enjoyment in your free time, it’s also very interesting on a professional level. We will show you how it can also enrich the marketing and PR industry in a meaningful way and what is possible with AR in storytelling, branding and media contact!

Use Cases of skilful AR staging in everyday life (selection)

Whether from the beauty, fashion, technology, lifestyle, interior or tourism sector – AR can be used by and for (almost) every product or offer. The eyewear retailer Mister Spex, for example, uses the extended reality in its online shop: the glasses can be “tried on” online before the customer orders them to avoid mispurchases. As early as 2018, Adidas enabled digital try-on of the then new model Ultraboost 19 running via a snapchat filter. Beauty company L’Oreal, in collaboration with Modiface, developed its own app in which new make-up trends and hairstyles can be tried out virtually to find out what you like before you buy. Modiface had previously worked for the Estée Lauder and Sephora brands, but was then taken over by L’Oreal, so the AR specialists now work in-house. The cosmetics manufacturer definitely recognized the potential of AR quickly and seized the opportunity. The furniture empire IKEA also launched the free app “IKEA Place” as early as 2017, with which pieces of furniture can be placed virtually within one’s own four walls – so to speak, we ourselves become interior stylists. This selection of successful AR company examples already shows the extremely versatile application possibilities. When it comes to application, it should be essential that the technology itself is not the main focus, but rather the customer’s experience with the product or the range of products.

AR approaches in PR

Especially in live relations AR solutions are convincing and stay in the minds of the target group. Whether it is a product launch or an event: AR brings products and brands to life, creates a special experience and lasting memories, for example through photos with specific filters and backgrounds, which are staged especially for the customer, the product or event and react interactively. Likewise, the product itself can be visualized live by AR technology and individually staged by the target group or media partners. A story is no longer told, but created together with the target group! Storytelling becomes storydoing and listeners become actors! In addition to filters, QR codes or special apps are also used in marketing. In the tourism industry, press trips could be enriched with interesting information and elements that can be visually accessed at any time and any place via QR codes, apps or even AR glasses. In this way, media partners get to know the destination in a playful and individual way, for example in the form of a rally – based on the Pokemón Go search.

The social media also offer a variety of possible applications for AR. The most obvious example would again be a photo filter for Instagram or Snapchat, tailored to specific topics, products or brands. This filter would be used especially for influencer cooperations in the Instagram story and generate emotions and attention from the followers.

But AR does not only help to address the target group emotionally. Especially for brands and products with a need for explanation or, for example, technical background, AR concepts are very helpful and a rewarding opportunity to demonstrate or let media partners experience them in a creative way.  In this sense, QR codes can be integrated into press releases. When the product in question is called up, the AR technology is used to visualise the product in question and can be applied and staged by the journalist. This is particularly interesting for a product launch, whereby the virtual product can already be made available to editors before the official launch. Ultimately, however, the interaction is also interesting for the readers of the media, so that journalism was and is also revolutionized by AR. Several German media, such as Die Welt, have already used AR solutions in the past. The article came to life while reading it on the smartphone, so that infographics suddenly appeared in 3D.

We summarize: The extension of reality and digital interaction arouse emotions, provide fun and have a lasting memory value. This effect makes AR extremely interesting in PR, marketing and journalism. We are also inspired by the unlimited possibilities of AR solutions…Be curious, we have some ideas in the petto!

This post is also available in: German