Tracking brands in Augmented Reality

Back in the day (well, 2007), we used to track brands entering Second Life (and a few other worlds) on a timeline basis vs the SL registered user base. You can see some few, for the Retail, Technology, Media, Automobile and Tourism sectors.

Since those ‘heady days’ we’ve seen companies shift over to a wide range of other virtual worlds and we now track VW brand marketing in this presentation. Continuing this theme, we’ve just released a similar chart, this time monitoring brands dipping their toes into augmented reality. Efforts to date are obviously all marker-based.

And, whilst those in the know are all waiting for markerless AR, it’s interesting to see how brands (and their agencies) attempt to place their products and services into this new platform. Comparing these efforts to the largely ineffective campaigns in Second Life highlights a key creative difference. The vast majority of brand efforts in SL made the key mistake of attempting to think spatially (because it’s inside a virtual w0rld) rather than concentrate on values (both brand and product). This resulted in over 150 brands thinking they had to have a company HQ – a building built.

Even given the limitations of marker-based AR, it’s encouraging to see a little more creativity being used in these early marketing attempts. The graph below shows when brands first launched their campaigns, compared against a Google Trends line for the search term ‘Augmented Reality‘.

ar brand tracking.001

Automobile brands once again (as they did with SL marketing) appear to be leading the pack in terms of adopting AR into their marketing arsenals, followed by media/entertainment companies and then food and drink.

This last category always struggled with virtual world marketing – not surprisingly because they are two things avatars do not need, in a basic sense.

As we move into 2010, expect the buzz around AR (and the search volumes) to grow rapidly, with brands not far behind. We’ll be breaking this chart out by sector in the new year.

KZero services:


Business Planning


Product Development