Three Practical Examples of Augmented Reality Applications for Marketing

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According to Dan Sung, writing in a short piece on titled, “The History of Augmented Reality“, augmented reality (AR) really started getting traction around 1999, when Hirokazu Kato of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology released the ARToolKit to the open source community. But the concept apparently has been around since the 50’s, when Morton Helig began building a machine called a Sensorama, a device designed to take in all your senses.

Morton Helig's Sensorama
Morton Helig’s Sensorama

Augmented reality is one of those technologies that many people have a love/hate relationship with. I’ve tried to embrace it from a consumer’s point-of-view, but it’s never really become a part of my consumer toolkit.

As a marketer, however, I’m very much a believer in the power of a practical approach to building and using augmented reality apps. In this post, I’ll share three practical examples of augmented reality applications for marketing.

2014 IKEA Catalog

Get it on Google Play Available on the App Store

The 2014 IKEA catalogue gives you the ability to place virtual furniture in your own home. You can unlock the feature by scanning selected pages in the 2014 printed IKEA catalogue with the IKEA catalogue application (available for iOS and Android) or by browsing the pages in the digital 2014 IKEA catalogue on your smartphone or tablet. Then simply place the printed IKEA catalogue where you want to put the furniture in your room, choose a product from a selection of the IKEA range and see how it’ll look in your home in whatever size or color combinations are available.

Quest Visual Word Lens

Get it on Google Play Available on the App Store

Quest Visual‘s Word Lens is particularly interesting as a marketing tool, given its kick-ass ability to translate printed words from one language to another using your Android or iOS video camera, in real time, with no Internet connection needed.

Mullen Olympus PEN Augmented Reality App

Mullen developed an augmented reality app for the Olympus PEN camera that gives prospective buyers an opportunity to “try” the camera out. Using a QR marker, Mullen created an augmented reality experience in which people could see a 3D version of the PEN on their computer screen. They could also take the camera apart and play with its different settings. Social sharing features allowed the user to take pictures and video, sharing them with friends via email or Facebook.


Do you have any examples of kick-ass augmented reality applications for marketing? Please share your favorites in the comments.


  1. Meisan says

    Great, fun examples! I am also looking forward to the mass roll-out of the ultimate AR tool, Google Glass. Imagine what it will be like when we can ID products when we see them, then get real-time information and maybe make a purchase; tell Glass where we want to go and literally see directions mapped out in front of our eyes; play games with real-life figures, settings and scenarios; use facial recognition technology and identify who the person standing across the room is, where he works, etc; optimise SEO using tagged images, etc, etc. The possibilities are mind-blowing.

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