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developed tools that allow them to do this without any direct involvement from us.” Immediate future plans include upgrading the technology into a visual search engine that combines AR with artificial intelligence and content. “It means all search results will be visual because there are many things that people are curious about but for which they don’t have the written language to explain,” he adds. “And one way for brands to get involved is to sponsor the related content.”

Blippar is using AR to create “visual discovery” experiences

example of how consumers will interact with products in the future. A voiceactivated wireless device invented by e-commerce pioneer Amazon, the multi-tasking Echo lets users do anything from playing music, streaming podcasts to accessing weather information and controlling appliances in the home, via one smart object. “There needs to be a tectonic shift in how we approach marketing. Marketers still relying on interruptive ads run the risk of being ignored at best, and becoming extinct, at worst,” he says. The increasingly ubiquitous VR and AR use digital technology to immerse consumers in synthetic worlds for entertainment, information and stimulation. Both formats take audio-visual media to a new level and Swedish vodka brand Absolut plans to apply them to attention-grabbing innovative projects that complement its award-winning campaigns. “We create digital products and experiences that help people have a great night out,” says Afdhel Aziz, brand director at US-based Absolut Labs, an ideas and innovation incubator launched last year. One of those experiences involved Bob Moses, the popular Canadian

Stefan Bardega


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electronic dance music act, who was filmed in VR playing live on a rooftop in Brooklyn. About 5,000 units of Google Cardboard VR headsets were sent to fans, who attached their smartphones to watch the exclusive event as if from the front row. “Absolut Labs complements our traditional (ad) campaigns by looking at how we can include innovations like VR, AR, internet of things and wearable tech in our commercial strategies.” Chris Johns, managing partner at UK/ US creative and innovation specialist Forever Beta, which includes Absolut Labs among its clients, adds: “Labs give you permission to experiment and fail, something large organisations, especially pre-digital legacy brands, cannot do during normal activities in their commercial calendar.” That Blippar, the London-based AR developer, was able to raise a phenomenal $54m in new investment from the Malaysian government’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad in March says much about the technology’s promise. Blippar is using AR to create “visual discovery” experiences. Point a smartphone embedded with the Blippar app at any physical object, and you retrieve a host of information about the object in the form of life-like images on your device’s screen. Omaid Hiwaizi, Blippar’s president of global marketing, says: “We usually have to help creative agencies using our technology. But we’ve now

Two companies bringing magic into innovative marketing are start-ups LISNR and APD International. US-based LISNR’s CEO/co-founder Rodney Williams says clients, including sports and other live-event venue owners, broadcasters, music companies and retailers, use its inaudible smarttone frequencies to offer more engaging communications experiences to consumers. “Thanks to geo-fencing, conventional WiFi and Bluetooth signals need hardware transmitters and are limited to specific locations and boundaries,” says Williams, who is presenting the Lions session called Making Magic – Inspiring The Impossible. “LISNR is sound-based; you can’t hear, touch or feel it. It is like magic. As it is installed in a song, a TV broadcast and advertising campaigns, this allows more connections for brands to send messages to wherever the consumers are accessing the content on whatever devices they are using.” Intel Capital, part of the computer chips giant, led a funding round that invested $10m in the award-winning company last November. Former child prodigy Josh Valman invented his first robot at the age of 10. Today, he is a young entrepreneur and CEO/founder of RPD International, a virtual innovation lab that outsources the research-and-development needs of 96 international companies to 120 manufacturers and suppliers globally. RPD provides the magic by ensuring big-corporation clients do not worry about keeping up-to-date with consumers’ rapidly evolving expectations about their brands. “Brand owners have the ideas, but it is difficult for them to move nimbly,” Valman says. “If you rely on standard customer surveys, by the time you’ve launched the product, society has moved on. We’re able to analyse their digital data live and develop the new products and experiences they want to offer in weeks.”

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Lions Daily News 2016 Issue 4 Tuesday June 21  
Lions Daily News 2016 Issue 4 Tuesday June 21