Augmented reality as the NEW marketing tool

On: September 13, 2010
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About Jorien De Wandeler
Fresh from the Bachelor New Media at the UvA, Jorien likes to specialize herself during the Master in the anatomical and physiological effects of New Media on the human brain. To gather the required knowledge to make sensible statements about this she combines New Media with the Bachelor Psychobiology. This way she hopes to develop a broad, interdisciplinary frame of knowledge to conduct fundamental research.


The back cover of this weeks Grazia magazine shows a new add campaign of United Colors of Benetton. Readers are being encouraged to interact with Benetton by signing in for the casting for the new campaign. Costumers can become new models for the print advertisement of Benneton. The company choose to apply augmented reality to this competition. Readers have to go to the website, show the advert to their webcam and the making of the campaign starts automatically. This way, Benetton has collected over 70.000 registrants on their website. Why would a clothing company like Benetton use new media to promote their brand? And what signal are they trying to carry out with the usage of augmented reality?


New Media is hot and especially the NEW in new media is. Novelties are catching on in the consumers world of trend and advertising. Different factors are responsible for the success of the new Benetton campaign. One of them is this novelty trump. The text “this page has video content through augmented reality” shines on the picture of the model and underneath that there are typical icons that you could find in an usermanual .


These new concepts could make consumers curious to investigate whether the devices work. Is it really possible that the webcam transfers the image to the website and that the software recognizes the exact page? Due to my aroused curiosity I can confirm that the answer is yes. And suddenly the brand became less remote and less fuzzy to me. The page in my hand was ‘seen’ by my computer, it felt like I made some sort of new connection with the Benetton website. The model Soraya, 22, United Kingdom, was just a normal person like me, who went to the website and registered herself to take part in the Benetton competition. Benetton’s goal was achieved; I felt more connected to the brand than ever before. I figured that should be the reason Benetton choose for augmented reality. Augmented reality can strengthen the consumers sense of connectedness with a brand, which can improve future sales. I guess we could say that this is a typical example of Marshall McLuhans quote “the medium is the message”. The medium itself changes the buyer-seller relationship. Way to go Benetton!

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