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/ 24.01.2018

AR – The Saviour Of The Creative Industry?

– Tom Fenwick-Smith
Creative Director, REWIND

In 2018, augmented reality is set to be the most dynamic change, since the creation of the Gutenberg printing press, in the way we view the world.

With the launch of Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, and Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform, the world is ready to embrace AR. If only half of all Apple’s active devices download the iOS 11 operating system, 500 million iPhones and iPads will have ARKit.  In fact, according to Digi-Capital, there will be 900 million AR-enabled smartphones by the end of 2018.


Has AR Arrived Just In Time To Save The Creative Industry?

There is no doubt that Augmented reality will become a part of everyday life, whether that’s using it as part of a street overlay to find directions or an integrated story that captivates the imagination. With all of its creative possibilities, AR might just have arrived in the nick of time for the advertising industry.

Last year, a particular Trivago ad caused a stir for being “lazy” and “boring”. In a Drum article, Dave Buonaguidi, co-founder of St Luke’s and Karmarama, stated it was “a living example of ‘good enough is not enough’”. For some, this campaign illustrated the rut Adland finds itself in: creative agencies filling ad space with quick-fire creative with little care or concern.

To me, it showed that creatives are screaming out for a new medium to work with; a medium which offers new possibilities, exciting ways to engage and enhanced storytelling potential. And what better medium than augmented reality? A medium which, to date, has few rules and almost no boundaries, but does the potential freedom AR offers consumers actually pose more issues for advertisers?


A Double Edged Sword?

Now, thanks to AR I can dictate what I want to see, and where I want to see it. I can change the world around me. But what does this mean for the advertising industry? One of the principal questions will be ownership of digital spaces in the real world.   

Last October, Landsec’s update to the Piccadilly Lights went live. The Curve boasts an intelligent awareness of what and who is around it; it has 4K LED definition and an ability to change content at the drop of a hat. Although this light has become a global icon, is this application of smart tech too little too late? Perhaps consumers are already numb to this data-driven advertising? But imagine if you could look up at this British landmark and see what was really relevant to you. AR offers that possibility.


Questions Of Control

This sort of advertising hijacking might just be one of the key issues born out of the rise of AR. How can brands control it? Should they try and control it? Perhaps an open source approach to AR will instil some much needed magic into our world and reap some fantastic benefits.  

Much like the explosion of YouTube and the vlogging community showed us a few years back, individuals have the power and capability to define their own market, creating exciting content of their own. This gave us some incredible talents such as the creative powerhouse OK Go whose viral videos are known across the globe.

Perhaps 2018 will see a second generation of consumers, numb to data driven advertising, choosing to adopt a personalised approach to what they want to see. With the release of Google’s asset library, Poly, there has never been a better time for bedroom developers and potential Adjackers to build an augmented world of their own.

Could 2018 become the year of the Adjacker?

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