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Augmented Digital Marketing- the Future of Everything


Have you seen the new Pepsi Max augmented reality bus shelter ad?   If so, are you aware of its implications for the future of well, just about everything? In the ad, the good folks at Pepsi Max replaced the see through fibreglass wall of an ordinary bus shelter with an augmented reality screen. Unsuspecting bus passengers were subjected to a baggage of dramatic, Sometimes terrifyingly realistic moving images including tigers, explosions and car chases. Whether the ad was designed to increase sales or Pepsi Max or build greater Brand Awareness is a somewhat moot point. What is clear that you would not want to have a heart condition and be waiting for a bus in a bus shelter with one of Pepsi’s secret augmented reality screens. Even if you weren’t of a nervous disposition, you might well be by the time the bus arrived.


Pepsi tiger



What is more certain is that Facebook is rapidly stepping up a campaign to forge for itself a even more prominent position within the Digital world. Not content with recent acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire has now purchased the ground-breaking, extremely hot Augmented Reality company Oculus, in a deal reputedly worth over $2b. Undoubtedly, Facebook see this acquisition as a smart piece of business, perhaps a potential world-beater as well as an innovative way of giving Facebook and its sister companies a platform with which to interact and market to users, clients, affiliates and even rival businesses. Perhaps it’s Facebook’s version of Google Glass. In acquiring Oculus, will the Facebook experience develop into a kind of real time inter-connective video game instead of the benign social media exchanges that Facebook users currently enjoy? Anyway, the end result of all this augmented reality activity is that – whether or not we like it – we all soon be entering a Brave New World of Digital Marketing featuring cutting edge high-tech innovation that will redefine and expand the concept of customer interaction. Should Augmented Reality catch on – and there is every indication that it will – then it is certain to have a profound impact upon just about everything – TV, mobile phones, laptops, tablets and social media as well as the future of Digital marketing. If tigers and helicopters can suddenly appear in the walls of bus shelters then it can’t be long before we will have virtual figures popping up from the screens of our Ipads, laptops and mobiles to engage with us about various products or marketing campaigns. Remember the famous scene in Star Wars where a hologram of Princess Leia popped up out of R2D2’s metal head? Well, that’s what our everyday lives will be like in a very short time   Such highly effective and realistic virtual advertising may make it difficult even sometimes impossible to tell the difference between augmented reality and reality itself. And it won’t just be bus shelters and social media platforms that will be affected. Most of what we currently take for granted may change dramatically. For example, what will Augmented Reality affect e-books and in particular, children’s e-books? How long will it be before eBooks enhanced by augmented reality will be reading themselves to children at night? Is it such a stretch to imagine a future where virtual reality holograms of Alice in Wonderland or Where the Wild Things Are play out from the enhanced pages of e-books in real time and in living colour? Dart and Luas journeys will never be the same again, not to mention waiting at bus stops or airports or indeed, anywhere else where commuters gather. Ferdia Mac Anna