Why Augmented Reality Could Be the Future of Non-Tech Marketing

AR can turn an ordinary moment into something memorable

Key Takeaways

  • Jones Soda’s new augmented reality bottle labels are a smart fit for an established brand that could inspire other companies.
  • Augmented reality is simultaneously more and less accessible for smaller businesses, depending on how complicated the campaign is.
  • While AR marketing isn’t a new idea, it’s something we’re likely going to be seeing more of in the future.
A limited editing soda from Jones Soda Co.

Ron Wurzer / Getty Images

Adapting its marketing concepts for augmented reality (AR) seems like a good fit for Jones Soda and could herald an uptick in AR marketing for non-technological products.

Jones Soda has cultivated its "The People’s Craft Soda" image over the past 25 years by way of each bottle's unique label, which customers often submit. Recently, the beverage company merged that concept with augmented reality to create special labels that unlock videos about their depicted subjects. This enables it to impart more information than a static print label could, while also encouraging consumers to interact with the product more directly.

"We have seen [AR used] in Bulgaria—different beverage manufacturers use it mostly during the Summer season," said Nikolay Krastev, search engine optimization specialist at Agile Digital Agency, in an email interview with Lifewire, "I found it to be a very interesting and trendy approach for beverage industries to engage with their customers."

Clearing the Hurdles

While there is precedent for success in AR marketing, it’s not the sort of thing that every brand is likely to adopt just yet. One big factor is learning how to tackle AR marketing in the first place. There isn’t really a direct correlation between AR and more traditional methods like print ads or commercials, so the usual methods may not be as effective.

The new AR Label for Jones Soda's Green Apple Soda beverage.

Jones Soda Co.

"It won't be easy for other companies to adopt the same AR marketing strategy because they need a different team from their present one to make the AR event possible," said Miranda Yan, founder of VinPit, in an email interview, "For example, a short reel of 30 seconds needs to interest the audience in the first 5-10 seconds to keep their attention for subsequent durations."

The other factor for businesses to consider is the cost. The price of AR advertising can vary based on the approach, with basic functionality being relatively affordable while 3D models or animation can cost a fair bit more. It’s something that will likely become more and more tenable as time goes on, and we see it being used more often, but right now, it could still lock smaller businesses out.

"AR Marketing requires a large amount of capital to meet its expenditure,” said Peter Demings, co-founder of Tennis Shoez, in an email interview, "Developing and relatively smaller businesses will [find it] unattainable due to high expense needs."

Branching Out

Despite the potential challenges of adapting augmented reality for advertising, we’ll likely see AR campaigns for non-tech products even more often in the future. With the exponential incorporation of technology into many aspects of life, brands pushing ads that require consumer participation are inevitable.

Someone using an augmented reality app while shopping at a clothing store.

Oscar Wong / Getty Images

An uptick in AR marketing also makes a lot of sense when you consider the prevalence of smartphones. With such a high possibility of a consumer already having the means to view AR content on them, it’s no wonder. While companies have to put in the work to create and distribute their marketing, there’s practically no barrier for the average consumer.

As Yan points out, "The ongoing and widespread use of 5G technology will create a better and more efficient platform for AR implementation and usability. Gen Z is already engaged in AR through various filters and lenses on popular platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, and they will be more influenced by these AR marketing strategies."

With the near-constant improvements in technology and more companies embracing digital, it’ll be interesting to see what new attention-grabbing techniques will be explored. Jones Soda is already pushing that idea by adapting and expanding its semi-personal bottle labels with much more complex information, so what’s next?

"Augmented reality adds fun and entertainment to a product," said Krastev, "For example, Spotify partnered with Coca-Cola to transform its cans into jukeboxes. Averaging nearly three minutes of engagement, the results were fantastic. A simple drink can become an unforgettable experience."

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