SXSW concluded in Austin, Texas, today and among the content was a virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) track that offered attendees a look at how immersive technology can transform consumer engagement, health and medical technology, film production, live experiences, and storytelling, as well as bridge the offline and online retail gap.
Of the technology on display at SXSW, Snapchat AR Marker Tech attracted the most headlines, with a series of partnerships with some of the world’s biggest entertainment properties right now.
What is Snapchat AR Marker Tech?
Snapchat AR Marker Tech connects the digital world with the physical one, enabling brands to digitally enhance their physical, real-world footprint with customers—in an immersive, interactive way.
With Snapchat AR Marker Tech, brands can animate billboards, vehicles and make a poster or product packaging come to life.
Marker tracking tech works by allowing a specific Snapchat Lens to recognise an image and trigger a three-dimensional (3D)/AR experience tied to that image.
Essentially, while playing with the Lens, the tech can recognise an image and animate or augment it. Marker tracking tech provides a 3D spatial understanding of 2D markers in the camera view.
Snapchat has proven a savvy fit for AR marker tech, because the app opens to a smart camera, which serves as its home screen. Playing with the camera is a core user experience.
In February, a life-size Nike poster of LeBron James at the Foot Locker in Hollywood & Highland, Los Angeles went viral.
When users scanned a Snapcode and pointed Snapchat at the poster, it came to life in AR, showing LeBron emerging from the poster for a monster dunk.
This was a stealth Nike, Foot Locker, and Fisherman Labs collaboration with Snap—testing out its new AR Marker Tech for brands.
Any brand can use Lens Studio to build Marker Lens experiences. AR company Warm & Fuzzy used it on its New Year cards in January.
Typically, large advertisers can qualify for free, although this can vary by country and client.
How Snapchat AR Marker Tech was used at SXSW
Amazon used Snapchat AR Marker Tech to promote its new TV show, Good Omens, based on the book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Two massive murals standing almost eight-feet tall and 12-feet wide were combined with Snapchat Marker Tech Lenses for Amazon’s SXSW Garden of Earthly Delights.
One animated white wings, enabling partygoers to pose like an animated version of Aziraphale, the angel character from Good Omens played by Michael Sheen. The second mural animated black wings for Crowley, the demon played by David Tennant.
In partnership with HBO and Red Cross to promote hit TV show Game of Thrones, there were four Snapchat AR Marker Tech experiences within their Bleed for the Throne live multi-room, in-world immersive experience at SXSW.
These included banners mounted along the facade of the venue. With AR animation, the throne animated behind each of the characters. Attendees were also presented with a pin that displayed animated flames.
Snapchat AR Marker Tech was also used to bring a silhouette of Daenerys marching toward the user, flanked by Unsullied Soldiers, as well as animate a map of Westeros to replicate the merging of fire and ice from the Game of Thrones season eight teaser trailer.
Warner Bros also got in on the action to promote upcoming Pokémon movie Detective Pikachu.
Snapchat AR Marker Tech was used on pedicabs and flyers, to reveal never-before-seen clips from the movie and easter eggs.
Bringing entertainment properties such as Game of Thrones to life with AR, in combination with an app as widely used as Snapchat, marks a new milestone in the potential of immersive technology. We can’t wait to see what Snap comes up with next.