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High Five: The Childlike Wonders of Augmented Reality



Justin Cone, director of communications strategy at BUCK, picks out five AR experiences that have recently helped to keep his creative spark alive

High Five: The Childlike Wonders of Augmented Reality

Thanks to the supercomputers we carry around in our pockets and purses, augmented reality has finally gone mainstream. It’s taken a while, but we’ve (mostly) worked out the bugs and gotten past the awkward experimental phase. Now it’s time to have some fun. While AR has loads of uses both practical and poetic, I’m drawn to experiences that put a smile on my face. With so much tension and division in the world, I like to be reminded of the childlike wonder that got me into tech in the first place...

Ally - 'Adventures with Zeee Bucks'

Agency: R/GA
Production & Post: BUCK
Sound: Antfood

Based on a book from Ally, 'Adventures with Zeee Bucks' is an AR app and physical piggy bank that teaches kids about financial literacy through interactive storytelling in augmented reality. Sure it’s educational, but it’s also loads of fun. The richness of the 3D scenes that 'pop out' of the physical piggy bank are full of tactile details and whimsical animation. You can’t help but feel an urge to shrink down and join Emma, the protagonist, on her journey through savings.

Pokémon - 'Smile'

Agency & Production: Unknown

Gotta catch ‘em all...cavities, that is! While this isn’t the first time the worlds of dental hygiene and AR have collided, it’s probably the cutest. The Pokémon 'Smile' app mimics other Pokémon games in that it allows you to capture and collect adorable Pokémon, and with over 200 critters in the 'pokédex', kids won’t tire of the activity quickly. The app also adds AR-powered hats and the ability to decorate snapshots of you polishing your chompers. The attention to detail and commitment to populating the app with loads of collectibles make this project a clear winner. 

Verizon - 'H1DD3N'

Agency: R/GA
Production: Tool x FriendsWithYou

Speaking of collecting things, Verizon’s 'H1DD3N' experience was an AR-powered scavenger hunt that took place both online and at five site-specific locations around the world. While the experience was ostensibly about promoting the iPhone 13 launch and Verizon’s 5G network, the real draw was romping around a city with cuddly creatures designed by pop-art collective, FriendsWithYou. One particularly impressive technological feat: For at-home users, the experience transitioned from AR to VR in order to mimic the feeling of being at Bryant Park in NYC and hanging out with other 'friendsies', user-customised avatars inspired by the FriendsWithYou universe. Going from AR to VR (and back) is no easy task. Props to the team at Tool for pulling it off.

SingeCut Beers - 'Notes IPA'

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Production: Zulubot x Table of Content

Like many middle-aged white males in America, I like beer. I like it a lot. This project unites ABV with AR for a simple but seductive concept: turn your beer can into a playable guitar. Kind of. The genius of this project is that it captures people doing what they would normally do - staring at the label of a delicious IPA - and invites them to fart around a little bit. It’s well-crafted fun that echoes SingleCut beer’s irreverent approach to brewing and branding.

Eternals - 'AR Story Experience'

Agency: Walt Disney Studios

With production quality you’d expect from Disney, this narrative AR experience features top-notch graphics and a compelling approach to spatial storytelling. The journey begins with Sprite, one of the titular Eternals, who enters your space and sets the stage. Your physical surroundings are transformed into fully immersive narrative scenes during which you can (literally) step off of the main timeline to learn more about characters and explore secret story moments.  

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BUCK USA, Wed, 14 Sep 2022 11:30:02 GMT