To augment AR, just add print

To augment AR, just add print

For some, print has become kind of an ‘also-ran’ in the marketing mix; a medium that’s been overtaken by all things digital. Obviously, we beg to differ on that point! But nowadays it’s all about digital channels and social, right? And the future is tech like Augmented Reality (AR).

We’re first to agree that AR’s marketing potential is amazing. Yet it’s also true that any one technology is not an answer in itself. Successful brands recognise that the future is actually ‘omnichannel integration’. In other words, choose the best combination of tools to achieve each marketing goal. And with AR in particular, print has a new and crucial part to play in that mix.

Print makes the AR connection – fast

How you trigger someone’s interaction AR is clearly crucial – that start point has to be simple to access, immediate and fun to do. The fact is, print media demonstrably ticks those key boxes.

AR is rightly seen as a brilliant way to engage with customers. Want to know if a paint shade is really going to work in your lounge? See it in situ via an AR app through your phone. Hate trying on clothes instore, want to check what makeup products suit your colouring, or that a particular theatre seat’s going to give you the best view? AR is your answer, and print literally points the way.

One scan and you’re there

Take Taco Bell. By enabling their printed packaging to be AR scannable, users were instantly taken to the brand’s content on Twitter and Facebook. In doing so Taco bell opened up another way to enlarge and enhance their community, and also underlined their ‘ahead of the curve’ brand mindset in the fastfood sector.

AMC cinemas use printed posters to achieve a similarly immediate engagement with their audience. Working in conjunction with an AMC app, the posters can be scanned and a host of content related to the featured film becomes instantly available to the user – cast details, film facts, a trailer, for instance.

That old stalwart direct mail becomes a far more effective route to the consumer when you add AR functionality to the print. When a DM piece can take you aboard a cruise liner, show you the interior of a new car or project a fabulous new look into your existing kitchen space, the experience is highly personalised and all the more persuasive. The same is true of printed catalogues, instore leaflets and ads – together, print and AR do an amazing job of engagement.

Final thought

Ultimately, adding AR to print is simple and quick to action. And compared with say installing AR enabled interactive networks at multiple locations, print is infinitely cheaper and far faster to action. If you’d like to know more, email