Augmented Reality and smart advertising will depress us all

Telco analysts at Juniper Research believe that augmented reality (AR) will drive 1.4 billion downloads on mobile by 2015 – on the back of brand support.

Advertising will be what really makes AR take off. In the second part of 2010, a number of brands have been busy either creating AR apps for mobile or utilising them to experience AR in advertising campaigns. 

Carlsberg, Juniper’s report author Dr Windsor Holden says, is a company that has integrated branded AR into wider campaigns. While the scientists at the brewery may not have developed permanent beer-goggles just yet, “Initiatives are indicative of a growing desire among brands to use AR as a key tool to engage with the customer,” Hoden says.

One film public relations teams are happy to highjack is Minority Report, a science fiction film where advertising can detect the mood, sex or even the persona of someone walking past.

Software specialists at 3M are touting something called “gladvertising” which will be interactive 3D, outdoor adverts which can communicate through social networks and mobile devices to adapt to certain situations, and will be on the streets as soon as 2012. While calling them “total brand experiences,” a report suggests that the campaigns will be able to tell if you’re happy or ticked off, and adapt accordingly. 

If you’re a cheesed off London commuter, will the adverts leave well alone on the morning schlep, or try and cheer you up by offering discounted Subway meal deals? We’d be guessing on the latter.

3M also reckons that “mulitsensory adverts” will be on the way to create commercials that attack every part of you that is susceptible to manipulation. Chain bakeries already do this by piping that fresh bread smell through the front of stores, but multisensory adverts will capitalise on holographic video, sound, mood lighting and even smell to make sure there’s no escape.

3M suggests adverts will be able to adapt to personal preferences thanks to the information you willingly submit to the social media cloud, for free. Basically adverts are going to get a lot smarter, and if you’re a fatso walking past Holland & Barrett, expect to be called out on it. 

Juniper’s Mobile Augmented Reality report suggests that annual revenues generated by mobile AR applications may jump all the way from 2010’s $2 million to $1.5 billion by 2015. Meanwhile, enterprise apps with AR elements could account for the third-largest proportion of revenues by 2015, sitting behind location based search and games.