consumer play! the ultimate brand engagement – connecting physical and virtual product experiences

Consumer Play! The ultimate in brand engagement?
Let consumers use their hands to play with a product, at least virtually with a mobile device 

Blending old school and modern media to engage digitally-savvy consumers has been done in several marketing campaigns, but often the execution is a gimmick that few consumers try, even though the overall experience may be powerful.  Several car manufacturers, including Volvo and their X-Ray iPad App, have done impressive augmented reality trials which allow prospects using a mobile device to explore car features. How cool is that!

Along comes a more practical application, and perhaps more broadly appealing use of tying digital media to the physical.  Recently the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun in conjunction with Dentsu advertising agency, introduced an app that enables children to use smartphones to reveal more kid-friendly versions of articles.

Parents can encourage kid to use the AR app by placing their smartphones over those articles, revealing animated characters and graphics, pop-up headlines and explanations about the topics being discussed. Additionally, articles written with Kanji characters are replaced with the simplified Hiragana alphabet, making the stories easier to understand for those still learning to read. The campaign aims to increase readership by enabling parents to enjoy reading the news with their children, as well as helping to educate young people and engage them in current affairs. [Excerpt from Springwise].

The challenge for brands?  Creating broad target appeal, not a niche buzz.  This is possible if one consciously crafts the experience around the consumers’  beliefs, not just product benefits.  The power of the Tokyo Shimbun example is that it connects with the emotional experience of a parent-child relationship and while creating content appealing to children.

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