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AR now virtually everywhere

Augmented reality is going mainstream in South Africa, leaping out of everything from shop shelves and warehouses to chocolate bars and whisky, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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Meet Cosmo. He’s blue, he’s a Martian, and he just leaped out at me from a chocolate bar. 

His sudden appearance was magical, but was not a result of a spell. Rather, he appeared in an app aimed at that chocolate bar. Cosmo is part of a new generation of characters that exist largely in a world of augmented reality (AR). 

The augmented reality version of Cosmo, appearing above a Cadbury wrapper, next to Cosmo figurine available at petrol stations.

AR is seen by many as the poor relation of Virtual Reality, since it also comprises virtual images, but without the immersive experience. It has one major advantage over VR: it doesn’t need a headset, and can be viewed on almost any smartphone. All it takes is downloading an app designed to view the relevant virtual content.

Cosmo is one of a family of Martian characters – along with Buzz, Cupido and Luna – created by chocolate brand Cadbury to launch a series of limited edition combination slabs. Each character is “inserted” on the wrapper of one of the slabs, coming to life only when the Cadbury Martians app is opened and the wrapper is viewed through the app. If two wrappers are scanned simultaneously, the Martians from each slab appear to interact with each other.

“Using product design and innovation through packaging, we have improved customer engagement, with meaningful and enticing interactions,” says Grant van Niekerk, chocolate category lead at Mondelez, manufacturers of Cadbury chocolates in South Africa. “We teamed up

The Cadbury martian augmented reality app.

with LikeDigital to turn the new limited-edition chocolate wrappers into an augmented reality storytelling device for the Martian figurines.”

Cadbury Martians represent another step in AR going mainstream in South Africa. This and other AR campaigns continue to feed off the wild popularity of the Pokemon Go mobile game that set the world alight in 2016. It’s almost forgotten today, but its impact lives on, having demonstrated how many smartphones are AR-capable. Brands have woken up to its potential, and increasingly seek out a more eye-popping way to communicate their messages.

LikeDigital is one of numerous agencies creating augmented reality apps and experiences in South Africa. And chocolate slabs are among numerous product categories embracing the technology as it goes mainstream in this country.

(Click here or below to read on: AR From whisky to insurance)

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