Augmented Reality is one of the hot new technologies in mobile marketing and it’s starting to appear on the sports fan landscape. AR is often poorly deployed, largely misunderstood and consequently under-utilised as a powerful fan engagement platform.
So what’s the truth about AR and why is the sports fan experience the perfect play ground for this nifty little next-layer platform?
In the UK, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton football clubs were the early adopters of ‘AR’, with Aurasma going as far as shirt sponsor status with Tottenham. Southampton took things a step further by Blippar-enabling their Boxing Day match programme to deliver a ‘Join The Huddle’ augmented experience. They used the same app to link lamp post banner ads to the club’s mobile website, ticket office and shop. With 5,000 fans taking immediate advantage of Southampton’s new mobile entertainment and transactional capabilities, it’s fair to say AR looks like it’s got legs with fans.
So how does AR work its magic? The camera in your smartphone recognises a pre-programmed image (say, a club crest) which triggers a response hosted on the internet. In the case of Tottenham the club logo delivered video highlights of a previous match. All you have to do is get the relevant AR reader from an app store, aim it at the image, and let the app do the rest. This is quick, seamless stuff that ‘bridges’ media channels with a natural continuity.
The sports fan experience is perfect territory for AR success.
1. AR LOVES A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: It’s easier to scan and consume when you’re still and settled.
2. AR LOVES RITUALS: It’s more natural to scan when it’s part of a routine, like looking at the team line-up page of your programme, or buying a beer at halftime (scan that cup!)
3. AR LOVES A CONTENT-HUNGRY, SMARTPHONE-SAVVY CROWD: At the end of the day, you’ve got to want what the AR is offering you! Sports fans are always after more.
AR-enabled activity adds an extra layer of fun and value to otherwise ‘dead end media’ moments. Rights holders should think of AR as a cheap and easy way to carry fan traffic from flat media to dynamic content and sales hubs. Brands should think of AR as a great way to literally ‘layer’ their brand message over the live event and physically draw consumers into their world.