November 10, 2023
Augmented Reality

The Creative Power of AR: Innovative Examples of Augmented Reality Ads

Discover how AR enhances customer engagement and brand awareness with these innovative examples.

Ipinmi Akinkugbe
Content Writer
B2B content writer & travel blogger with experience crafting compelling and engaging content for companies in the creator economy and social media industry.
Table of contents

People want to be impressed and stopped in their tracks, which can be seen in the shift from traditional print, online and television ads to more engaging ads. Customers want deeper connections with brands and a more immersive experience of the brand itself.  

This immersive experience has been made possible through one piece of technology, Augmented Reality (AR)

As customers and organisations become more aware of the value of AR, it’s crucial to provide the best quality. In this post, we will be highlighting the benefits of introducing AR and examples of 10 successful AR marketing campaigns. 

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality, or AR, is a fairly new technology that allows digitally generated 3D objects to be superimposed in real-world scenarios using an AR device. An object is superimposed virtually on a screen onto a user's view of the real world. It encourages engagement and interaction by enhancing the senses - sound, touch, sight and sometimes taste.

How does augmented reality work?

Augmented reality works using sensing, modelling, enhancing and display technology. To combine the physical world with digital objects, the AR must have a model of the physical world through sensors. Which is then enhanced to create the immersive experience we see today.

Finally, the newly designed world is displayed through a smartphone or dedicated headset.

Benefits of introducing AR into your marketing 

With emerging technology like augmented reality, companies can create unforgettable customer experiences that keep them returning. Here are a few benefits of using AR in your marketing efforts: 

1. Interactive customer experience 

AR provides a rich experience for your customers and makes them feel like a part of the brand.

Luxury clothing designer Hanifa showed a new level of innovation in her 2020 fashion show. The interactive show featured 3D “models” with garments draped on their 3-dimensional curves. The clothing could be interacted with and viewed from all angles. This new style of displaying collections showed a new and fresh perspective in the middle of the pandemic. 

The use of AR in interactive fashion shows like Hanifa's demonstrates the potential of AR in engaging customers through innovative experiences, utilizing GC tools and UGC platforms for user interaction.

2. Brand awareness 

AR creates buzz around your brand and its product/ service. We’ve seen this happen with companies like Pokemon when Pokemon Go was first released. The world went wild. People who had no interest in the brand were downloading the game. In the first week, it had over 10 million downloads. That is the power of innovation in AR. 

The Pokemon Go example highlights the impact AR can have on brand awareness, utilizing UGC tools to create a viral sensation.

3. Creative storytelling 

With AR, there is no limit to how you present your ideas – the bigger, the better. It lets you tell your brand’s story creatively and engagingly, setting you apart from your competitors and effectively putting you on the “map”. 

4. Increased sales and revenue 

A study conducted by Deloitte revealed that 61% of consumers choose stores that use AR over those that don’t. 40% of shoppers are even ready to pay more for a product if allowed to pre-test it through AR. This technology takes a seemingly mundane activity and makes it interesting, increasing sales and revenue. 

10 examples of innovative augmented reality ads

Although the competition for a user's attention is stiff, augmented reality can be the edge you need to build a loyal and engaged customer base. Let’s explore 10 examples of innovative AR marketing ads and campaigns. 

The National Health Service’s ‘Virtual Blood Donation’ (2016)

The UK’s NHS launched a marketing campaign to encourage blood donation by demonstrating the transformative effect blood donation can have on a sick patient through VR technology. 

The campaign revolved around a massive billboard that showed actual patients looking unwell. There was an image of a blood bag beside the patient while nearby NHS workers stood, encouraging passersby to fix a small sticker on their forearms. 

How the sticker worked: A smartphone is placed above the sticker so, through augmented overlay, a virtual reality needle drawing blood is revealed. On the billboard, the blood bag would begin to fill with blood, showing the immediate effect of blood donation - the patient would gradually look healthier. 

Over the course of five days, this campaign drove 583 signups for new blood donors. 

Pepsi Max’s ‘Unbelievable Bus Shelter’ (2014)

Pepsi Max Unbelievable Bus Shelter Augmented Reality Digital OOH | Talon OOH 

Can you imagine waiting at the bus stop on your commute to work and seeing a Tiger running towards you, laser beams shooting from UFOs in the sky or tentacles emerging from sewer grates? Sounds unreal? Well, it happened - using AR. 

Pepsi Max launched a campaign to give commuters an unbelievable moment in their day by transforming a busy bus shelter display in London into a window that augmented wild scenarios into the real world. The results were staggering. 

The campaign garnered over 8 million views on YouTube, and 3 million of these views reached in just five days. 

Pepsi Max sales rose 35% during the campaign month. 

Ikea: “Place a tree on it” 

Ikea leveraged their augmented reality app “Ikea Place” and launched a Christmas campaign called #placeatreeonit. With four new tree styles, shoppers could use AR to choose which style to buy and where it will look best in their home. 

The app is quite interactive and lets users view items from different angles and perspectives. It also has options for possible decorations, creating a smooth shopping process. 

Doritos: AR product promotion 

In 2021, in collaboration with Dice ticketing platform, Doritos launched the “Make your Play” Campaign with the goal to “Unpause live music.” With the pandemic, attending live music events became impossible, so this campaign wanted to encourage people to live a more playful life. 

The challenge was to find Doritos play buttons in promotional posters scattered all over the UK for a chance to win one of the 250 free tickets or thousands of discounted prizes to live music festivals.

Users could scan the QR code on the posters and press play (the play button was a repurposed Dorito chip) for an opportunity to win. The button, when placed in their surroundings, opened an AR portal with clips from the upcoming music festival. 

The campaign ran for six weeks, and at the end, 3,280 prizes were claimed.

Pokemon Smile

UK: Brush along with Pokémon in Pokémon Smile!

Getting children to brush their teeth and do it well can be difficult. They always want to be entertained while doing the most mundane of tasks. Pokemon saw the opportunity and grabbed it! They created an AR game app called Pokemon Smile that makes brushing teeth fun and exciting. 

The app has a face-tracking feature that allows children to try on different Pokemon caps as they brush their teeth. The game also lets children rescue over 100 Pokemon from cavity-causing bacteria. 

This simple game makes brushing an activity that is looked forward to and helps develop healthy tooth-brushing habits. 

The campaign gained over 500,000 downloads and 7,500 five-star reviews. 

Pizza Hut ARcade: Newstalgia Campaign

Pizza Hut brings arcade game Pac Man to life on a pizza box

Pizza Hut launched its “Newstalgia” campaign in 2021 to bring back the feeling of nostalgia and influence the way customers view their brand. To do this, they partnered with PAC-MAN to create a limited edition box which printed an augmented reality version of the iconic game right on the packaging. 

It allowed people to scan a QR code on their smartphone and not only play the game but also stand a chance to win ​​a custom Arcade1Up PAC-MAN game cabinet by sharing their scores on Twitter. 

The campaign garnered 11,260 hours of gameplay, 741 million media impressions and sold 10.6 million Pac-Man boxes. From these results, the campaign was very successful. 

Burger King: Burn that ad

“After all, flame-grilled is always better.” Burger King’s motto sparked a campaign that allowed people to “burn” down the fast food giant’s competitors using augmented reality. The feature was available on the app where all users had to do was scan the ad of a competitor and burn it in a virtual world. Not only was this fun, but everyone who used the feature got a free Whopper. 

Estee Lauder: Snapchat AR campaign

Estee Fragrance Press

Estee Lauder did something different with this campaign. Launching a new fragrance sometimes comes with pop-ups and in-person promotions - never virtual reality campaigns. However, they pushed the envelope to meet their target audience where they were. 

Estee Lauder was targeting Gen Z & Millennials with their new luxury fragrance collection featuring four brands - Tender Light, Sensuous Stars, Dream Dusk, and Radiant Mirage. They partnered with Snapchat to create an AR filter that allowed people to scan their environment, choose one of the four brands and experience the mood and emotional highlights of the perfume. 

Dior: Virtual AR try-on

Dior & Snap AR-Kampagne

Dior created interest and excitement around the campaign of their B27 sneaker. They partnered with Snapchat to create an AR filter which allowed smartphone users to virtually try on six pairs of B27 sneakers in the real world. There was also the option to purchase the sneakers right from the filter. 

Overall, the campaign garnered over 2.4 million views worldwide. 


Portal AR - #Scotlandisnow campaign

For the campaign #Scotlandisnow, an augmented reality - Portal AR - was created to transport people into Scotland. Using the app to scan surroundings, people can create their own portals and immerse themselves in a new country - Scotland. Through videos and illustrations, people experience what it’s like to live, work, study, invest in or travel around Scotland.

Elevate your marketing with Augmented Reality

The examples above serve as a testament to the transformative potential of AR, highlighting the importance of embracing innovation in marketing. Augmented reality is more than “just another trend”, it’s an avenue to develop deep connections with your audience and build a fierce and loyal customer base. It’s a tool that can redefine the way we experience and interact with each other. 

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